Attempted hack or genuine call?

1 Dec 2006
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United Kingdom
Can anyone tell me if Microsoft have a policy of giving or selling your personal details to other companies. The reason I ask is that I have just had an unsolicited telephone call from someone purporting to be from Microsoft asking about "error messages". I am no computer expert & he was obviously a foreign national calling, judging by the line quality, from outside the country with his telephone number withheld so I was immediately suspicious. He asked me if I had been getting error messages & reporting them to Microsoft & directed me to the Event Viewer file on my PC which had some events highlighted in yellow & others in red. He then asked me to log on to a website "" & to download a free programme. I'm afraid my suspicions just got higher with this & I refused to co-operate with him any further & hung up. But now I am not sure if it was a genuine attempt to help me with a problem I was unaware of or an attempt to hack into my computer. Could anyone advise please. Many thanks PS I have tried to find some way of contacting Microsoft directly without success.
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It was an attempt to hijack your computer and gain personal info,no doubt if you had carried on some credit card details would have been needed.Don't know what teamviewer is,but its nothing to do with microsoft.
This is a common scam. The caller claims to be from Microsoft (who don't contact end users offering technical support!). They try to convince you that your PC has a problem of some kind. They will then take control of your PC (this is where team viewer comes in, they need your co-operation at this point). Typically they will then install Microsoft Security Essentials on your computer for you for a massively inflated fee (of course, this software is a free download from Microsoft and is genuine)

I have heard this story many, many times in the last year or so. I've even known some people to fall for it.
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I got one of those calls too.
It's a scam.
Kept him on the phone for ten minutes though, :evil:
Eventually told him that I couldn't operate the computer from the phone's location.
Asked him to phone me back the next day when I would have moved the phone closer.
Never did phone me back. :cry:

But, the jist of it was to go to start menu and "run" a program.
Can't remember what it was exactly but would be computer identification then probably some sort of remote access authorisation, probably.

Must have been about a 6 weeks ago now.
Thanks to all, it seems that my suspicions were justified, but how did he know that I had reported error messages to Microsoft ( or was it just a lucky guess because everyone does it at some time) & are the yellow & red highlighted items in the event viewer he led me to anything that I need to be concerned about?
All part of the scam. Have you ever submitted your personal details to MS?

The event viewer will almost always show up some kind of warning or error in the System and Application logs. Unless you are having a problem, I shouldn't worry too much. You could use google to get more information about them. (or post them).
they obtained your name, number and address from a secret file called a "phone directory"
I've had loads of those calls and I know they're scams because Microsoft don't have my phone number. They don't even know I've got a computer!

jj4091 said:
or was it just a lucky guess because everyone does it at some time

Got it in one! The scammers exploit the fact that some people will click on "Send" and will not then be surprized if Microsoft get back to them - which they won't.

I used to just tell them in no uncertain terms to get off the line but the calls kept on coming. Then I replied with "What computer? What makes you think I've got a computer? :eek: :eek: :eek: " but these days I just say "OK, I'll just go and switch it on." before putting the phone down and walking away. They've always hung up ten minutes later. :LOL: :LOL: :LOL:
Many thanks all. It's a relief to know I have no problems ( not with my PC anyway :D )
My mate got a call from one of these guys, he's pretty computer savvy.

He was just bored at the time and though it was a laugh to wind them up.

Basicly being helpful and unhelpful at the same time :D

He took ages to do anything, said he didn't understand what he was being told, then saying in the end that he didn't want to do it..!

The person on the end of the phone got very upset and threatened to block his computer if he didn't do what he said.

He just laughed!
I get these calls all the time but being a systems anaylst I tend to ask some questions first

How do they know my computer has errors?
Why were they monitoring my PC and where did they get the phone number from?
Why do they need remote access, just tell me what button to press?
etc etc.

Until I get bored and then I just tell them I'm only running linux and not windows. They instantly loose interest then.

Don't give anyone remote access to your computer, even if they are not going to scam you there and then it will be a ploy to buy their software. 'Bang, you have a virus....but if you buy our software we can get rid of it for you!'
Teamviewer is a very useful free bit of software, use it all the time to access my computer remotely and keep an eye on what the kids are surfing.
There is a current scam purporting to be from paypal asking you to confirm a payment, if you click on their link you download a trojan or virus.So just delete email.
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