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“I am calling you from Windows…”

We’ve all had the calls, but what can we really do about the Windows Tech Support scam? Should you hang up, or lead the callers on? Is there anyone you can report them to, and if so, should you even bother? Let’s find out.

The Windows Tech Support Scam: A Recurring Nightmare

Anyone claiming to be from “Windows” could be expected to know if there was a virus on your PC, right? And when they guide you into checking the Windows Event Viewer (where harmless errors are logged) and reading out a string of numbers, they usually manage to snare you into their swindle. After all, you don’t want to lose your hard work, or be without your computer due a virus, right?

muo-security-techsupportscam-eventviewer

The aim of the scammers is to talk you into installing remote software on your computer, so that they might then take control. Once done, this will either allow them to steal data, introduce a Trojan horse How To Simply and Effectively Deal With Remote Access Trojans How To Simply and Effectively Deal With Remote Access Trojans Smell a RAT? If you think you've been infected with a Remote Access Trojan, you can get easily get rid of it by following these simple steps. Read More or other malware (the remote software itself may be a malicious tool) or just perform a bit of “tech support theater” to make it seem as though they know what they’re doing.

Once the “virus” is discovered, of course, the scammers will demand money for their services of “removing” it. This can go a number of ways, but if you refuse, there is the possibility that the scammers have remotely changed your password or encrypted your files, transforming this into a one-on-one ransomware scam Ransomware Keeps Growing - How Can You Protect Yourself? Ransomware Keeps Growing - How Can You Protect Yourself? Read More .

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Perhaps you’ve just received one of these calls, or you know someone who has. What should you do next time?

Handling a Scam Call

So, how should you deal with a scam call?

Well, the answer is simple: hang up.

Now, a lot of people – mostly those wise to the scam – think that the best way to deal with Windows tech support scammers is to keep them talking. By diverting the caller, leading them on by pretending you’re looking for the “error code” or installing their remote software, the thinking is that you’re stopping them (for a short time at least) from finding a less savvy victim. A common method (one I’ve used myself) is to omit to mention that you’re using Linux or Mac OS X, which naturally are not targeted by the scammers (between them, they account for just 11% of the computers currently online).

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While this approach makes sense, it isn’t without its dangers. The scammers are aggressive and pushy by nature, and have been known to be sleazy as well (a fact revealed by one of our readers Readers' Windows Tech Support Scam Stories Readers' Windows Tech Support Scam Stories The Windows Tech Support scam prevails. Little can be done to counter it, except to hang up. We have collected stories from our readers who engaged the scammers and their tales are obnoxious. Read More ). Throw in some threats by the scammers Just Hang Up: Why You Shouldn't Taunt Fake Tech Support Scammers Just Hang Up: Why You Shouldn't Taunt Fake Tech Support Scammers There are thousands of examples on YouTube where people have wound up "Windows support" conmen asking for remote access to your PC. But trolling these tech support scammers can turn dark, really quickly. Read More and unsubstantiated reports of violence and doxing against victims who called them out, and you see that it really isn’t worth stringing the scammers along.

Should you find yourself still talking, avoid sharing any personal information. And don’t go to the webpage that the scammer directs you to; certainly don’t install any software.

Hanging up, then, is the best option. If everybody simply ended the call as soon as the scammer’s voice reveals he or she is from Microsoft (the company probably doesn’t have your phone number, unless you’re an employee), then this would help push the scammers out of business far quicker.

Finally, make sure you tell people. Anyone and everyone – the more people who know about the scam, the greater the chance of it being abandoned by its perpetrators.

What If You Already Gave the Scammer Access to Your Computer?

Something that concerns a lot of people is the condition of their PC after the scam. Many find themselves partially taken in before installing the software, or worse, after installing it. Perhaps you saw the mouse pointer moving around and felt something was wrong. Perhaps you ended the call and switched off your PC. Perhaps… perhaps you gave access to the scammer, believed their lie, and paid up.

If any of these scenarios sound familiar, this is what you should do.

Did you give remote access before having second thoughts and ending the call? If so, you’re probably safe, but make sure you run a scan with your anti-virus software and Malwarebytes’s Antimalware tool. You should also restart your PC to force-end the remote session; if for some reason this isn’t possible (due to remote access) hold the power button on your computer down until it shuts down.

muo-security-techsupportscam-scammer

Did the scammer install any software, or go looking around your personal files and folders? In this case, there is a strong chance that they copied (or attempted to) data from you. If this data features personally identifiable information, this could be used to determine one or more passwords. If you use Facebook, for instance, and your password can be guessed, then a whole load of information can be harvested about you. This is how identity thieves get their claws in.

Have you paid a Windows tech support scammer to “remove” a “virus”? Call your credit card company right away, tell them you have been scammed, and they should cancel the transaction. You should also change the password for your credit card account… and every other password you use, too.

By giving your credit card details to the scammers to pay for their “service”, you’re also likely to give them the information they need to use your card. By sharing the 16-digit number, the valid until date and the three-digit number on the reverse, you’ve essentially given them everything they need to steal from you. Remember, they called you: this is not a safe way to conduct business!

Our dedicated guide looking at the aftermath of a tech support scam call What Should You Do After Falling For A Fake IT Support Scam? What Should You Do After Falling For A Fake IT Support Scam? Search for "fake tech support scam" and you will understand how common it is across the world. Some simple precautions after the event could help you feel less of a victim. Read More explains futher.

Can You Report the Scammers?

Whether you can report the scammers for their criminal behavior depends on where in the world you live. But as a general rule, the police can’t do anything about this, unless provided with location-based information (they will, however, act if given sufficient information by an industry regulator or government department).

So who can you get in touch with?

muo-security-techsupportscam-worried

In the USA, the target of your complaints should be the Federal Trade Commission. Calls to the FTC on this scam are treated seriously, but you need to have kept a note of the name of the person calling (it’s fake, but still important) and the number they’re calling from. You should be able to get the number from your handset, or by dialing your regional “last incoming call” number.

If you’re in the UK, contact Action Fraud and log a report.

Scammers preying on unsuspecting computer users cannot be allowed to win this battle. We suggest that in addition to hanging up and reporting the callers that you also consider abandoning your landline, if practical. Should mobile numbers then be targeted, whitelisting and blacklisting call management apps can be used to block them,

Have you fallen victim to the Windows tech support scam? Did you report the scammers, or simply hang up? Tell us in the comments.

Image Credit: Robber making phone gesture by Luis Molinero via Shutterstock, SpeedKingz via Shutterstock.com, lolostock via Shutterstock.com, Alexandru Logel via Shutterstock.com

  1. richard neeman
    December 6, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    i think i was scammed yesterday from a man named David at # 209-676-4546 that said he was from windows tools oct.2016 and that they were going out of business in usa and had to give me a rebate for money i had payed them. Last year i had a company that i called and they cleaned it once a month and charged me 199.00 for the year, that just happened to be the money they were going to refund me so i thought it was a legit call. so i let him have control of my computer. He set me up w/ western union to get me my check. Western union set up the account and i still thought that it was not a scam. But then my wife piped in and convinced me that this wasn't right. they had my address and telephone # but nothing else. I hug up and proceeded to run windows defender full scan. , and malware bites scan and it wound a registry error and i deleted it. Just thought that this might help. PS i also uninstalled the software that they downloaded also but have not shut down my computer. Is there anything else to do w/ computer or do you need anything else Thank you Rick

  2. Georgia
    December 6, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    I was hacked. I was on my computer and started watching a movie online and normally I'm good with the ads and I'm careful of not let any of them stay on, but when i started watching the movie a critical alert from windows came up on my screen, it wouldn't let me do anything and told me to ring windows tech support (the number on the screen) and that if i shut it down or don't call then my hard drive would be erased within 10 minutes. In a panic and not thinking I rang them and there was this lovely lady answer the phone and start to help me. She told her employee address and so on so i did think it was genuine i was in such a panic that i didn't think to think it was a scam. After her calming me down she told me these instructions and eventually lead to me allowing her to remotely use my computer. She had showed me what went wrong and how they were going to fix it. It legitimately felt real. It was when she was in my computer and told me that the technician fee to fix my computer right now as this is the only option would need to be paid asap ($99.99). This is when I called my mum in a panic since i didn't have any money and she told me to hang up its a scam and to shutdown my computer. Since she was on loud speaker the lady heard her and told me that I'm just going to have to put up with a broken laptop. This is when I panicked. It was to late she was controlling my computer. She suddenly went rude and telling me to put up with my broken laptop and then she restarted it without my permission and then told me on the phone that she is not responsible for what happened and what will happen afterwards and hung up. I literally felt humiliated, stupid, naive and frustrated. I lost everything and have had to reset my whole computer. I was blown away because I am not a stupid person and I let them in. Since then I have completely changed all my passwords and installed more then one virus and ad protector for my computer and I wont be watching any movies anymore unless I buy them or netflix. Just hope in this bad circumstance that this will help others in the future.

  3. Helen
    November 30, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I had a call today from (Windows Texas) I live in Australia to say my computer was compromised by hackers. He gave me a code which he said was my computer ID number. I refused to engage with him and told him I didn't believe he was genuine. I asked to speak to his supervisor who was called John Lee, but he told me he was in the toilet..., he kept telling me windows would revoke my license and my computer would be rendered useless. I hung up on him 4 times and he still kept calling back. Persistent and really quite plausible at times (apart from the manager is in the toilet comment) and although I was adamant that he was a crook, a tiny part of me was afraid that I could be wrong...., beware everyone!

    • Christian Cawley
      November 30, 2016 at 10:12 pm

      Thanks for sharing your account!

  4. Kathren dufresne
    November 28, 2016 at 8:58 pm

    Iwas contacted by vape sucure #1 888-577-4003 or 845-363 6555 he told me my com. Was infected his name was larry paige could not speak a lick of inglish,I dont lnow how far he go but he did change my password,or gave me one,im not com,swave,and dont know alot about how they work,ben away for 20yrs,when I called back for an address all he said was michigen,N,E,W,Street???I told him I am reporting him to the ftc,he hung up on me,

  5. Danyelle
    November 28, 2016 at 3:09 am

    These people are persistent...The first time they called I played with the guy. He ended up calling me about every name in the book and threatening me that he knew all my personal info and was going to come kill me and my family. I laughed and said now that I have kept you on the phone long enough to trace the call the police should be showing up at your door about any time. He hung up. =) The next 10 calls I just hung up. Then I decided to play along again. I pretended to do as they said and when she asked what do I see, I said I see that I am not falling for your scam!! Haha!! I have had about 20 calls over the last month. The only thing that bothers me is that they did know my email address.

    • Christian Cawley
      November 30, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      Take care not to push them too far, Danyelle.

      And think about where they might have got your address. I suspect certain retailers (or their employees) are providing this, with the purchase of a new PC, phone or tablet.

  6. Vanessa Barnes
    November 21, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    I can tell when i get one of these calls because they never answer your first hello they answer the 2nd time you say hello and that is when i know its one of these kinda calls coming in. I have no tolerance for these money sucking scumbags i dont give them a chance to talk i yell as loud as i can i cuss i call them names but i dont talk long just a couple choice words then i hang up. Then i start my redial revenge and redial the number as many times as i can tit for tat. I rarely hear from these lowlifes anymore and know this if your a woman and you are a stay at home type older over 50 your their prime target so yes watch over your mothers please don't become their victem get a rape whistle and use it for every call that doesnt answer on your first hello goodbye and dont let the scummers get you

    • Christian Cawley
      November 30, 2016 at 10:14 pm

      A good tactic is to not speak when you answer the phone. After a second you should be able to gauge whether it is a friend or family member, or a scammer/telemarketer of some sort.

  7. Mairi Stewart
    November 16, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    I have received calls from "Windows support" saying they would help me with the problem on my computer. The first few times I told them I don't have a computer and they hung up but I did think it was weired as the accent was Indian. Then when they called I started asking how they got my phone number as I am ex directory they hung up. I have just received another call which I hung up. Surely there must be something that can be done as it is very annoying.

  8. liz
    November 10, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Today I received 2 calls. The first one woke me up , it was about 08.15. It sounded like a african lady. Hello I am from microsoft ringing up about your PC.
    I hung up
    10 minutes later another phone call this time a man. Saying the same sentance as the women . I hung up.

    Over 3-4 yrs ago the same thing happened to me. Someone rang same message as above, I was on the PC at the time and it was running slow so everything they said made sense.
    They quickly took hold of my PC and said thiss or that is slowing your system. I then began to smell a rat after I disconnect the PC.
    The PC was not good. i had a lot of stress getting it back to health.
    From that experience where I felt violated.
    It made me wiser today.
    This time I knew exactly what to do.Hang Up and dont entertain them.
    It is easy to see how guillabile people can be.

  9. Dave
    November 9, 2016 at 7:30 pm

    Male caller, Indian accent, identified himself as Peter Parker from Windows.

    phone number he called from as per my cell is (475) 487-455 ( not a complete number, seems to be missing a digit).

    Explained that error messages had been sent to my computer.

    He did know my name, did not seem to be aware of any personal info.

    After hanging up he called back, I did not answer. Seems he got the message.

  10. J
    November 5, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Well, someone called my disabled mother at 10:40 PM. All I hear from her room is "hello. Hello? Oh, hi there. Oh my, that doesn't sound good" I ran in and asked who the heck she was talking to so late. She smirks and said "Gerald, the man from windows. He says I have a virus". Thankfully she knew something was up considering we don't use Windows. It sucks knowing that they scam so late. I just wish I could do something more than just complain.

    I also got a call about a month ago, it was quite memorable, I told the guy he was full of s###. He responded with "no I'm not, you don't know me, I'm legit"(<who the hell says that? His indian accent put the icing on that cake). I say "stop being a lousy fraud and get a real job", he proceeds with "f### you, b####"... that's when I hung up. Good times

    • Christian Cawley
      November 5, 2016 at 6:35 pm

      Shocking. Thanks for sharing this, J.

  11. Chad Johnson
    November 4, 2016 at 3:05 pm

    I got scammed didn't give credit card but my computer won't turn on. It was a company out of St. Peterberg Florida, 727-498-0505, Thomas, ext. 311.

  12. Dana
    November 3, 2016 at 10:47 pm

    They call me everday and i tell them to stop calling and remove my number. Then tonight someone calls, i get angry and say stop harrassing me i dont need your help, stop calling and hang up, the same guy called me right back and said he will keep calling. He called me 15 more times before i could figure out how to block him, to include leaving vocie mails with hold music playing.

  13. Doro
    November 2, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    While the scammer was on the phone, I quickly checked with Google to determine if it was a scam. At the top of the list was this site, stating clearly it was a scam and they'd want to make a download to my computer. I insisted the scammer tell me what he was going to do to fix the problem before I would hit the keys he was instructing me to hit...and HE hung up!

    Many thanks for your help with this. I'm grateful.

  14. B Thompson
    November 1, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    Was getting these calls very often and then none for several months. In the last week I have answered at least 3 or 4 of them. The last call was from a new number - 253-244-6152 - It's identified as KENOSISTMSI. There is a lot of noise in the background - maybe someone sitting in a cafe on the other side of the world - or perhaps a roomful of folks hired to steal money from unsuspecting Windows users. I usually disconnect the call after saying "you are not from Windows, you're a thief."

  15. Jon Hykes
    October 27, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    I got nailed for 800 dollars. I reported it to Western Union Security, the FTC and the local police. He had already frozen my computer before he called. After nailing me he called again wanting an additional 500 to send a password. I formatted my hard drive already and told the asshole to pound sand. I got it from not watching sources on downloaded apps, I.E. Adobe Flash Player. He called from Pakistan. He gloated about it when I told him he would have to come in person to fix my computer. The money went to China to a Ming Lu Allegedly at Microsoft headquarters. I need to learn to be less compliant. I was bullied in school so I learned at an early age to play along to survive. It's a hard habit to break.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 29, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      Sorry to read about that, Jon. Please tell as many people as you can what happened.

  16. Usee Tizzone
    October 25, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    I have had a few of these calls and twice have told them that I am driving straight home to turn on my computer and for them to stay on the line. That flusters them and they say they'll call back. You can then be as creative as you like. This is entertaining but probably the best advice is to just hang up.

  17. anti-scammer guy
    October 22, 2016 at 10:16 pm

    If you get a call from these guys, don't just hang up on them. Waste as much of their time as you possibly can. Be creative. Play along. Whatever their end game is... they will get less of what they want if you take their time. They count on people who are wise to the scam to "just hang up".

  18. Cathy
    October 22, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    I was on a different end of this. They had my phone number show up on the caller IDs of the people they were calling. Could not have possibly been me as we were in the air at the time flying home. Got home to literally hundreds of phone calls, my voice mail was full, some of them angry people threatening us. Some, though called to let us know the Windows Support scam was using our phone number on their caller ID. Had to change the phone number we have had for the past 10 years. The number that shows up on your caller ID when they call is probably not the number they are calling from. Nothing that anyone said could be done about it even though it is a crime to use another number to show up as the caller ID. The calls went from 1PM until 8AM when the number finally changed. Turned off the ringer on our phones to keep our sanity.

  19. Nancy Zemke
    October 22, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    I received a message across my computer screen telling me my computer had been "locked" and to called this number immediately.Did so......after that everything some the same.....Went away before receiving conformation, they say they will be calling this am. Can anything be done now to gain back my privacy.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 22, 2016 at 9:38 pm

      This would seem to be a ransomware attack. Please use our search tool to find out more about ransomware. We also have a new ransomware article landing on Monday, which features some ransomware removal tools.

  20. Christie
    October 21, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    I just got this call today. I've had it at least twice in the past, but today I turned the tables! I played along (not touching my computer) - I played dumb and told the guy, "No, I don't see what you're talking about," over and over and I could feel his frustration. :) Then I finally pretended that "Ah, OK, now I see what you're talking about." He started talking again, then I said, "Oh NO! Wait, what is this blue screen I'm getting? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY COMPUTER???" Click!! I hope he has a lousy day. These jerks are the worst kind of predators, in my opinion!!

  21. RW
    October 21, 2016 at 1:52 pm

    Just got this call yesterday Oct. 20, 2016. Messed with her a bit then she hung up on me.

  22. Mary Gunn
    October 21, 2016 at 10:48 am

    I hadn't heard of this particular scam before but was instantly suspicious. Did the worst thing though and asked her to email me to confirm where she was calling from!!! Silly me, I gave them my email address. They have called twice since but now I'm hanging straight up. The lady I spoke to was very aggressive in her manner towards me

  23. T. Marsal
    October 20, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    They said they were coming to my house to fix my computer even though I told them they better not or my dogs would get them. They said they were still coming and told me my correct address.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 22, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Hi T - if they could tell you your address, that would indicate that they may have got your details from either the phone book, or a recent purchase or form you completed.

      That in itself may not help you, but it is worth being wary of submitting information online or offline unless it is absolutely needed.

  24. Laurie Cameron
    October 18, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    I have consistent success with simply saying "I don't have a computer." The scammer always hangs up on me.

  25. J De Vries
    October 4, 2016 at 3:32 pm

    Just received one of these calls. Although I've never heard of this one, I recognized it as a scam immediately. Told the caller if they used half the brain power they use in scams for legitimate purposes they could probably be rich. Then I hung up. As I was putting the phone down, I could hear him still insisting that I listen. VERY aggressive.

  26. bbydl
    September 30, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    I just received this phone call and asked them the simplest question I could think of... What model of computer is my Windows registered to? They couldn't answer and I hung up. I think this is the easiest way for older or not so savy ppl to check.

  27. Gillian
    September 30, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I've had 3 of these calls tonight and at least 5 in the last week. One was from "the technical department" and the others said they were from Microsoft. Usually I hang up as soon as there's that few seconds of silence before they speak. If I do decide to see who it is I usually tell them Microsoft don't ring people and they hang up. I now feel like avoiding answering the landline which is ridiculous.

  28. Kim
    September 29, 2016 at 1:20 pm

    Received one of these call and knowing it's a scam said we don't use Windows in our house. We are all on macs and iPads. Three minutes later I got a call from the "Apple Technical Department" explaining there is a virus. I laughed so hard.

  29. alan
    September 26, 2016 at 11:20 am

    I have had three of these calls in the last week.Because i know how their scam works due to watching youtube videos,i lead them on as long as i can,just to the point where they want me to download the software that will give them remote control over my computer.
    That is when i call them out for what they are "scammers".I enjoy wasting their time and their angry reactions.I am going to install a virtual machine and target them by installing software on their computers.
    There is another scam doing the rounds offering a reduction on tv insurance so be on your guard and do not give a stranger remote access to your computer.They could put syskey on your computer and lock you out of it.

    • Christian Cawley
      September 27, 2016 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks for sharing that, Alan. Vigilance is the watchword!

  30. Connie
    September 23, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    My call came in with no ID I repeatedly asked for a number in case we got disconnected but the caller Eric at the computer service center with Microsoft windows would not provide me with one and when I wouldn't help him he hung up telling me I would have a virus

  31. Jennifer
    September 21, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    I got one of these calls today. I hung up on the guy and he called right back so I hung up on him again. If they ever call back my response will be:
    "I'm sorry but this is a very bad time. If you could call back in 20 minutes and please use [insert local PD phone #] as its my private line."

  32. Jake
    September 18, 2016 at 3:54 am

    The scammers made the mistake calling a guy in our IT department yesterday. Everyone crowded around when they heard that "Jake" had the phony Indian guys from "Windows" on the phone. It was the most comical 30 minutes of my professional life. After numerous tangents which kept pissing them off, including demanding they let him speak to Bill Gates himself, "Jake" dealt his coup de grace - claimed he was actually using a Mac.

    "But sir, you said you had a windows key on your keyboard?"

    "Yeah, somebody drew that on with a crayon."

    The Indian guy flipped out, swearing and suggesting that perhaps Jake didn't know what type of genitalia he had either, and hung up. The entire IT department laughed so hard, and I had tears in my eyes the entire time.

    The scammers are novices and it's not hard to piss them off. Go ahead and waste their time. Only wish we could've setup a honeypot with our own malicious payload for those suckers.

    • Christian Cawley
      September 27, 2016 at 8:19 pm

      Sounds like a classic. But don't forget the dark side of these scammers. Things can (and have) get nasty.

  33. Michelle
    September 16, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    The scammers call me about once per week. As soon as I tell them I know it is a scam, and start talking about karma they hang up on me.

  34. steve
    September 16, 2016 at 8:38 am

    They normally tell you it has been detected over the internet or something like that - I rarely listen. Once they have finished talking I tell them I have several computers on line, which is true, then ask them which one has the problem. Once you ask them for a mac address their patter seems to go down hill and they eventually hang up.

    Next time I think I will say I am a visitor and thew owner of the computer is in the shower, or something, and see where we progress from there.

  35. Maureen Watson
    September 12, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    These scammers call me almost daily even though I hang up immediately after they
    say they r calling from windows. I did challenge them a few days ago and was given a phone # to call and check there validity. The # was answered by someone simply
    saying hello. I asked whom I was speaking to and was told windows tech support
    Mississauga. I hung up immediately and they still persist in calling me. How can I stop these annoying calls?

  36. laura
    August 29, 2016 at 10:17 pm

    Well I got scammed yesterday. I gave them access (interrupted by turning off machine) and gave them a credit card payment of $199.99. I told them when they called to cancel the transaction and give me my money back. They said they would (mmm hmm). I canceled the card. I ran a scan. But I am sure something is wrong with my computer. It is much slower than before. I don't know what to do next. This page wasn't a big help.

    • Ron
      September 20, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      Yikes, sorry to hear you fell for the scam. If a virus check and malware check did not find anything, you are probably fine. That being said, for ultimate peace of mind, you can always do a clean boot of your machine...this is essentially a "factory reset". If things continue to persist after that, then your slowness is either hardware related (not connected to the scam) or simply in your mind.

    • Christian Cawley
      September 27, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      We can't really second guess what might be wrong with your PC I'm afraid Laura.

      But we'll help in any way we can if you still think your PC is slow.

  37. Mark Boabaca
    August 29, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    If they tell me there is a problem with my computer sending out viruses I tell them to give me the origin IP of the offending machine. They hang up pretty quickly.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Great tactic :)

    • Rasmus
      September 6, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      I tried that one once. The scammer in the other end played dumb, or pretended he had misunderstood the question, asked me to download their software and he'd be able to tell me the ID of my machine :-(

  38. jojohanna
    August 23, 2016 at 9:57 pm

    Here in Norway, this is happening too. I just pretended that there is no battery on my laptop and no electricity on my area and I don't know when it will be back (the caller sounded sorry, though), or I am having hearing problems and don't understand english. To the author of this article, can I post this on Facebook so my friends will know?

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2016 at 3:51 pm

      Hi Jojohanna, please share as much as you like. We need people to know about this scam.

  39. Wilber
    August 23, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Why does the FTC not stop this harassment that I receive almost tow time a week plus all the other scammers that call ten time a day. It has rendered my telephone unless.

  40. Robert
    August 20, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    I've been getting calls from the "Windows Technical Department" at least 4 times a week since 2010.My phone numbers are registered with Do Not Call but that doesn't help because the caller ID shows a different area code every time. I usually just hang up, or tell them to hold on a minute and put the phone down and see how long they wait. Or if I'm in a talkative mood, I'll ask them which one of my computers is sending them error messages. Just got a call 15 minutes ago and told "Bob Smith" that I have a Mac, to which he accused me of lying. Click.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      The fact that he accused you of lying does raise a few questions as to where these people farm our phone numbers from.

      Thanks for sharing, Robert!

  41. Finlay
    August 16, 2016 at 2:29 pm

    They called my mother about 20 minutes ago. The number said "Out Of Area" and he tried to get my mother to download something. Now, she knew it was a scam and told them she knows it's a scam and they hung up. Three minutes later they call back saying "I f**k you in your mouth, I f**k you in your mouth" until my mother hung up. They called 3 more times but as we didn't answer they stopped calling. Disgusting.

    • Vishnu
      August 19, 2016 at 5:19 pm

      What I wouldn't give for the address of this call center...

      There's not a jury in this country that would convict a person for spraying up this place with a few hundred .223 rounds.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Sickening. Thanks for sharing, hope your mother has forgotten about it.

  42. Kelly
    August 14, 2016 at 12:19 am

    keep getting these calls keep hanging up but they are hard on my 81 year old mother if I am not home. Have told her if it is not a number you know just don't answer if it someone who needs us they will either leave a message or call back!!

  43. Donna Wanty
    August 8, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    I received three of those calls today from Windows Tech Support, I hung up on the first one, yelled at the 2nd one and told the third one "Officer this is the number I want traced" he hung on that one. Hopefully he won't call back.
    Donna

    • Karen
      September 1, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      I love the third response. I'll share it with my husband, who received a call from a William Halbert who claimed to be working with Windows Tech Support Team. He wanted to be given out home number so he could call someone at home, when my husband told him he he wasn't at home. Love that...he's supposed to call back on Saturday, when my husband said he would be available. I'll make sure to give my husband your third response. That's the best! :)

  44. Carl
    August 5, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    They claim to be from Windows and somehow put a virus on my pc but I ran a virus block and stopped it ( they call the virus ZEUS) and wanted $200.00 to remove it I told him to go F^%K himself and hung up he told me DO NOT SHUT DOWN YOUR PC that's what they want you to do is stay online and play their game JUST SHUT YOUR PC DOWN and restart it that's all you have to do you may need to do it a few times but they will know you have found out their game Anyway the number they put on my PC screen is 1-844-307-6883 and the code# is B 2957E if you can GIVE THEM HELL & PUT THEM IN HELL

    • Adrian
      September 25, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      I had the exact same thing happen to me with the Zeus virus and same number. I fell for it but had a weird feeling while talking to them but ended up paying after I hung up and they were "fixing" it I watch what they did and they started downloading "temp" stuff so I immediately closed apps they were doing and they started typing and calling me but after I asked for a refund hung up. I called my card company canceled the card and got a new one. Had to restart to factory settings but so far my computer is fine. Never falling for this again

  45. Ian Waring
    August 1, 2016 at 4:03 pm

    Handled one case here in the UK when the vulnerable father of one of my friends fell for this (twice - has memory problems) and paid them.

    They used an anonymised .co.uk don't domain name (got this exposed as they are a commercial company), traced the director back to UK company house (2 directors registered 12 different companies out of a service address in Coventry) and worked with Hertfordshire Trading Standards to get their local bank accounts shut down. The company claims to have 600 telephone staff working out of Kolkata, India.

    I have the guys LinkedIn profile.

    There are still problems here. Main one being that the Police "ActionFraud" reporting process just counts incidents, doesn't actually do anything on individual cases at all (they only "trend surf"). The other is that continuous authority debit card payments do not get invalidated when the victim changes bank accounts; they just follow the change transitions unchallenged.

    The day when these folks go out of business is still a day too soon.

  46. neil
    July 26, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Happening in UK too. Said that they were from BT this time. Said it wasn't a virus. Threatened that my internet would be cut off for 6 months if I didn't do what they wanted.
    Just hang up. They don't even give up gracefully when you call them out!!

    • Christian Cawley
      July 26, 2016 at 3:43 pm

      Thanks for sharing that, Neil, useful to know the scammers are using different tactics

  47. Mark
    July 24, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    When I wasn't home my son received a call from someone saying they are from Windows and he followed the instructions and downloaded AnyDesk ran the program and read off a number to them from the program that gave the scammer remote access to my computer. I think they then downloaded and installed Supremo. The scammer gave my son a phone number 888-704-9658 and name to give me to call the scammer. He can't tell me if the caller did anything else or copied files. He called me after the call. I had him shut down the computer went home and started my computer up disconnected from the internet. I checked the download manager found the two programs and deleted them. I have also run Norton antivirus program which found nothing. So far no problems with my computer. I contacted one of the credit reporting agencies and put a lock on my credit report. So far no one has tried to take out a loan.

  48. AbdulKarim
    July 23, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    I need the number for the scammers so i can download a virus into they computer system my just retired from working with IBM and Hess global network he wrote programs and now viruses for those that deserve then, please reply with the most resent numbers used.

    • AbdulKarim
      July 23, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      *into THEIR computer system
      *My FATHER just retired
      typing too fast lol:)

    • Lisa
      September 8, 2016 at 12:55 am

      720-535-1250

    • dean jones
      September 16, 2016 at 10:48 pm

      408-809-9867

    • Jayjay
      October 13, 2016 at 1:59 am

      Only number that showed was:
      78833653

      I hope you nail them.

    • Cheryl Brindisi
      November 3, 2016 at 1:31 am

      701-633-5556 North Dakota

    • Cheryl Brindisi
      November 3, 2016 at 1:32 am

      701-633-5556

  49. Sue
    July 22, 2016 at 4:18 am

    I'm getting these calls several times a week. Now they pretend they are from Telstra. I have tried ending the call and they just call me back and ask me why I hung up on them! What the....someone make it stop.

    • AbdulKarim
      July 23, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      do you have the number for the scammers I would like to send them a virus and crash their scam.

      • JP
        July 26, 2016 at 8:50 pm

        +1(515)474-6195 just called me 5 seconds ago?

      • Jayjay
        October 13, 2016 at 2:01 am

        78833653

        Strange. That was all that showed on caller id.

      • John
        November 22, 2016 at 5:52 pm

        They are spoofing phone numbers. Those numbers are not actually their phone numbers. Calling them will not get you in touch with them.

  50. Rob2
    July 14, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    There are two things you can do with these scumbags. First, get yourself a referee's whistle or an air horn. When they call you, blow it in their ear.

    (This doesn't always work, though. Listen closely as they talk to you. If the background voices seem louder, it means they are using a speaker phone, and a whistle or air horn isn't going to work with them.)

    The other thing you can do is give them a spiel. Say, "Well, my computer isn't on right now. Hang on a minute, and I'll turn it on." Then you lay the phone down, and leave it. If they call again, do the same thing.

    As for their death threats, don't worry about it. They're in India. They can't touch you.

    If you want to get really nasty, call them some Indian insults, like "untouchable dalit," "chandal," and "motherbrod."

  51. Diana
    July 10, 2016 at 12:25 am

    Unfortunately, my Grandpa had fallen victim to this. When I overheard the conversation about paying $425 to remove the "hackers" and "malware" I got on the phone and asked what they're trying to sell. The man on the line (Indian accent) was calling from a large call center as I heard other voices in the background; very rudely said "this is not a sales call, we are trying to help and we have access to your computer, how else would we be getting into your computer if we were not from Windows?" I knew then it was a scam, but unfortunately, he was already remotely controlling the computer. I tried to use my mouse, but it was being "pulled" on the other end. I immediately hung up the phone and In the text document that was on the screen, the caller typed in "Call 315-407-0207" (I don't remember the exact number). I then immediately turned the computer off and upon restarting, the login screen now read "Call 315-407-0207" instead of my Grandpa's name and password failed each time.

  52. Leigh
    July 7, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    I just got one of those calls and I hung up and they keep calling. First call a number shows up on caller ID then the next call shows unknown then third call showed up Private caller. I did not let them have access to my computer. Hope they don't have access to anything. I have put in a call to Microsoft.

  53. Soham Roy Chowdhury
    July 1, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    Hello
    I am from India and sadly here its a big industry of scams. I know many guys who is scaming innocent people mainly in uk us australia nz nd canada. They call this leads the name and number of the people and scam them as described in d article. Nowadays they also say they r from talktalk they transfer money from western union moneygram paypal and apparently theres a guy called the account provider who has accounts in barclays llyods nd so on who charges 30% of the total scam money nd pay the rest to the scammers.

    • Christian Cawley
      July 2, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Thanks for sharing that, Soham.

  54. ncmoud
    June 30, 2016 at 6:21 am

    When I get a call from one of those tech support scammers, I will just tell them the truth about it, I will tell them that Microsoft would never call without me specifically asking before that. I would also refuse to let them connect to my PC, I would likely just redirect them to my Windows 98 VM.

    • AG
      August 3, 2016 at 6:49 pm

      THESE GUYS JUST CALLED ME, THIS WOULD BE THE SECOND TIME. FOR BOTH CALLERS, I SIMPLY TOLD THEM TO BACK UP, THERE IS NOT A VIRUS ON MY COMPUTER..I AM WAY TOO SAVVY FOR THIS BULL CRAP..I WILL NOT BE A VICTIM YOU HACKER YOU! THEY HUNG UP HAHAHAHAHA..THAT WAS FUNNY..IF THEY DECIDE TO CALL BACK I WILL TELL THEM NOT TO CALL AGAIN OR I WILL REPORT THEM I HAVE ALL THE NUMBERS THAT THEY CALL FROM STILL ON MY CALLER ID..THAT'S WHAT I'LL DO

  55. Tom McGowan
    June 27, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    I have been getting calls from Windows Tech Support scammers for a long time now. More recently I've gotten 2-3 calls in one day. I don't know how they know my name and number. I've hung up immediately, not answered the phone and would let them do a lengthy presentation before telling the caller I'm not interest. I tell them one of the reasons they are full of it is because I haven't used a MS computer in some time, so therefore how could they be getting error messages. Tom

  56. Dave
    June 24, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    I have strung them along several times... they know my name (how) and phone number...but call from either a local number that is untraceable and you can't call them back. Each time I try to get info about how they know my name and how they got my number... The guy gets IRATE when he realizes I am stringing him along and usually ends in a string of "F" words as well as telling me what he is going to do to my wife and mother... Although I find it humorous I would like to be face to face with him when he says these things...

  57. Arturo
    June 22, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    I have never had any of these calls, I cannot wait to get one.

  58. Gigi
    June 21, 2016 at 7:29 pm

    This morning a woman claiming to be from Windows called my mother and told her that her computer was infected. She hung up on her and she called back within a minute. My mother then put me on the phone and I totally fell for it. The scammer gained remote access to the computer and asked for either $250 for a 3 year plan or $350 for a lifetime plan. We did not give any banking information and my mother only uses the computer to play games so at least there is no risk of them stealing bank or credit card information. However, she kept getting thrown out of her game and they continued to call her many times and threatened they will disconnect her computer if she does not pay. A friend advised that if she unplugs the computer they will not be able to access it and then she needs delete all her files and restore. If anyone has any other advice on what to do now it would be greatly appreciated!!

  59. Tom Ford
    June 17, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    Yesterday afternoon, I got one of these calls on my cell phone. After hearing that it was "Windows Tech Support," I simply setr down the phone and continued watching TV (I've had many of these before). That woman (with an Indian accent) called 7 times! After the second call, I didn't bother saying hello, just put down the phone. All from a restricted number. But today I got a couple more calls from a number that wasn't restricted, and since I'm on the Do Not Call List, I reported the number - hope that gets at least one of those maggots stopped.

    • Christian Cawley
      June 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Tom. Persistence by these criminals is a particular bugbear.

  60. Patty
    June 2, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    They just called us 3 times. We got as much information as we could, location, names, etc. On the last call we told them our phone number was being recorded by the United States FBI because we had been receiving many calls. They had the audacity to tell us that 1-they were recording on their end as well, AND that WE would be in trouble with the FBI because we were running a computer with viruses, and they are going to shut our computer down, and we would be kicked off the internet. LOL. I then told them we had Macs and that anyone who knew how to Google could find in 10 seconds that they are a scam.. that there were hundreds of thousands of articles about it. Our Tech Support "Raymond Samuels" then proceeded to tell us when they shut down our computer we could not afford to fix it (now that I"m thinking about it... alluding to the randsomware scam). The funniest part was when the Tech called me "a Big Idiot Woman". I was dying I was laughing so hard. I told him he was a comedian and he laughed and said he knew that. He kept repeating the Big Idiot Woman comment. It was hilarious!!!! I then asked if he knew American swear words and if he could say the F-word. At this point it was clear his gig was up and shortly there after he hung up on me. Literally 15 minutes later the phone rang and it was the Windows Call Center - Again.

  61. Jill
    June 1, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    I have had about 3 of these. I just tell them I don't know what they are talking about, as I don't have a computer. After them insisting that I have to, because they are showing that there are viruses on my computer ,I just keep telling them I don't have a computer. But you must they insist. I just keep saying I don't. They finally hang up on me.

  62. Jean Rothert
    June 1, 2016 at 7:22 pm

    I was just called by "Window's refund Department" and told that they needed me to go to my computer for them to issue a refund for the $250 5 year plan I have with them because their system has been compromised. They wanted me to log on to my home screen so they could cancell my service and issue a refund. They told me that I paid for the service in 2014. The man was from India and hard to understand. I told him I didn't see any online transactions on my computer in 2014 for their service. They asked if anyone else would have signed me up. I said no, and that I didn't feel comfortable about their accessing my computer. Told them I would talk to other family members and they should call back later. I am sure it is a scam.

  63. Barbara Sherman
    May 22, 2016 at 4:07 am

    I fell for it. But Realized it and cancelled credit card and the transaction. THEIR phone number is 760. 933 1530 they answer with Securely. I guess my computer is messed up

  64. Graham
    May 5, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    My Mum got duped by this type of scam just yesterday. I've asked my brother to wipe her machine and start fresh. I also suggested that she call the bank and credit card company to make them aware of the possibility of fraudulent transactions, so that if something does happen it has been noted on her file. In the event that something does happen, hopefully this will make it easier to get things corrected.

    • Barbara Sherman
      June 21, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      I cancelled the transaction and changed my password on my computer. Fortunately I don't have any information in my computer. Just pictures. They have called me 6 times today

  65. Fred
    April 27, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    These calls continued to happen to me until I wasted their time by repeating, "I'm sorry, I don't understand," until the caller got frustrated. I went through this routine with them twice and then they finally stopped calling.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 27, 2016 at 1:09 pm

      Nice tip Fred, thanks for sharing it.

  66. Mike
    April 26, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    This is why call display is invaluable. If I don't recognize the number,I just don't pick up. They never leave messages! If they keep calling,I block the number.

  67. rob
    April 26, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    My advice is to make sure all your friends and family especially those most likely to be fooled are aware of not just this specific issue but of the wider problem of anyone asking for passwords or remote access to your computer. And that includes the possibility of approach by email using a friends stolen email account. And the fact that an unexpected caller appears to know something about your bank account doesn't mean they have legitimate access to that data.

    Yes put down the handset is best advice for these calls but people still proudly persist in boasting "I wasted 20 minutes of the scammers time". Just consider how much 20 minutes of your time is worth - at least USD3 - that's how much some of those callers earn in a day. They do it because they (or more likely their employer) can make USD thousands from a single success.

    The fee for "fixing the problem"

    Selling you some software to prevent it happening again.

    They've now got your credit card details - how much will they take?

    They've got unfettered access to confidential data on your PC so expect identity theft.

    There's then money to be made from selling your PC to people running botnets.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 27, 2016 at 6:51 am

      Great post rob, with some superb points made.

  68. likefun butnot
    April 26, 2016 at 12:00 am

    Something I've heard about is the scammers, once given access, will set up a boot password in Windows. These are really hard to get rid of without some techie skills (you have to manually restore the registry from a backup), but setting one is a completely legitimate tool that almost no one will have configured and most definitely isn't a virus or malware. That's perfect for their bad-guy purposes.

    If you've given them remote access on your machine, there's no telling what they did. You really are or should be in a wipe and reload scenario.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 27, 2016 at 6:51 am

      I've heard this too. I don't believe it happens in every case, but it's certainly a risk.

  69. fcd76218
    April 25, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    You can thank the caller for bringing the virus to your attention and tell him/her that you will perform a scan as soon as you get off the phone.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 27, 2016 at 6:52 am

      Nice :) Make it short and sweet!

  70. m-p {3}
    April 25, 2016 at 9:21 pm

    Already did make them lose a lot of time with an old XP VM running on virtualbox with some outdated antivirus, with some toolbars on IE8. I also throttled the VM speed and bandwidth to make the process of installing and downloading these apps as painful as poss

    • m-p {3}
      April 25, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      *possible. That was fun!

    • m-p {3}
      April 25, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      *possible. That was fun!

      EDIT: Not being able to edit after submitting isn't nice :/

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