Help Protect Your Friends And Family From Phone Scams

A few weeks ago, I was surprised to get a call from Microsoft offering to help “fix my window”.  This was surprising because:

  1. My window wasn’t broken and having worked at Microsoft for a while, I’m pretty sure we don’t do home repairs.

  2. Microsoft doesn’t call people out of the blue to offer technical support (I knew what he was really talking about).

When I replied that I didn’t realize that Microsoft had anything to do with the windows on my house and there wasn’t anything wrong with them, the caller quickly set me straight.  This was about my computer and he was going to help me, all I had to do was give him some information and then install a program on my PC.

While I was mildly amused by the exchange, I ended the call there without handing out any of my information or installing any programs. I knew this was a scam and that it’s been making the rounds since the late summer of last year.  The company changes, but the theme is always the same. All of you reading this know it’s a scam too. 

We’re fortunate to work in technology and know that this doesn’t pass the sniff test and something stinks about it.  Our friends and family aren’t quite as lucky.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that can attest to someone I know falling for this scam.  And when they do, they’re embarrassed, they don’t want to talk about it, but they do want help to fix it.  After all, if you work in IT, you’ve become the default tech support for your friends and family.

The best way to help those friends and family members that rely on you for tech support is to arm them with information.  Not only are you helping them, you’re helping yourself, if they avoid the scam, you avoid having to clean it up.

There’s a great infographic that some of the folks here at Microsoft Canada have put together  about how to avoid phone scams that you can use to educate yourself, so you can educate others.  I’ve included it below.

Do you have any other helpful tips for others to avoid these types of scams?