This telephone scam is new to me.

alisandeFebruary 7, 2013

A friend of mine got a call from a guy claiming to be from Microsoft, offering to help speed up her computer. He said they had a report that she was having computer problems. They must target the elderly with this. She's over 80. She has been having a problem with her computer, and so he sounded perfectly legit to her. She fell for it, and attempted to use her credit card number on their website to wire several hundred dollars to him for a repair contract. My friend is as sharp as they come, but not on very firm ground with computers, I'm afraid.

Thank goodness for Western Union, who refused to wire the money and told her it was a scam. She immediately contacted her bank and credit card, so she's okay--no money lost. But she said she spent 1.5 hours on the phone with him while he walked her through all sorts of stupid stuff, I guess to prove he was legit, and an hour after that making sure he wouldn't get any money from her.

Ironically, while she was on the phone with him I called her to see if she wanted me to come over and take a look at her computer. I know she needs to empty the cache, for starters. But she didn't take my call because she was so involved in talking to "Microsoft." I wish I'd just dropped in on her instead. I would have said, "Hang up!"

I don't know how these scammers can sleep at night.

PS: I didn't realize Western Union was still around. I haven't heard them mentioned in ages.

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My sister got this call and didn't fall for it.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 9:55PM
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ravencajun Zone 8b TX

That's exactly what they are hoping for. It's been around a while but people do fall for it.
Thank God she was saved.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:11PM
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The key words for any scam is... "wire money through the bank". Those words should be enough to immediately hanging up the phone or deleting the message.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:12PM
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I've had that call a number of times--when they call, I just tell them I don't own a computer. That's the easiest way to get rid of them. Your friend was very lucky.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:21PM
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I got that call too. Wish I could have kept him on the line longer but it was just before Thanksgiving and I was cooking. Computer is upstairs and I asked him to call back but they never did.

I did know it was a scam. I would never think Microsoft gave a darn how my computer was.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:46PM
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I never answer the phone, we always screen. The kids know to just yell at us and we pick up ;)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Oh, and Alisande, glad she was stopped. How cruel to take money from the elderly--who are having a hard enough time making their funds stretch.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:50PM
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We got a call like this just a few days ago, my husband said "yeah I'm so sure" and hung up on him!

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:03PM
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We get a call like that claiming we have a virus at least once a week. They hope you will open your computer to them so they can get passwords, cc information and banking info. Your friend will need to change passwords and credit card info, bank info as well if anything was on it. They could have added a key logging/tracking program.

They say they are from Microsoft and even program in a phone number from a California area code. Sometimes I lead them on for the fun of it, sometimes I tell them that I have a Commodore Vic 20 computer and yes it runs very slow and yes I realize it has the stoned virus on it. Sometimes I get impatient and call them a scammer before I hang up on them.

If you look up the number they called from, and then google it, you will see tons of complaints about the phone number they are using.

This post was edited by heather_on on Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 2:13

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:20PM
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"PS: I didn't realize Western Union was still around. I haven't heard them mentioned in ages. "

About 3 yrs ago, my daughter had a job at Western Union. It was a behind-the-scenes job. Western Union was monitoring credit card activity and holding back transactions that were suspicious. I'm not privy to what cards they monitored, but I think it was more than their own.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:50PM
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This warning has been in several magazines and in AARP. Glad she did not loose any money.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 11:57PM
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Its' been going on up here too now for more than a year-the best ones around so far are from the folks that do NOT even have computers...

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:01AM
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My hubby fell for something like that, he had trouble on our computer. Clicked around for a solution, called "Microsoft" but got a man with a Russian-type (mid-East?) accent, gave his credit card numbers and got charged $50. He (hubby) realized quickly he'd been scammed, called the Russian back, who promised a refund within 24 hours. Next I went to our bank, they cancelled our credit cards but refused to reverse the $50 because hubby had voluntarily given out the numbers. We ended up getting Best Buy Geek Squad to fix the computer problem.Cost us about $120 so in reality it was a $170 expense.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:20AM
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Western Union is around and thriving. The scammers use it all the time.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:45AM
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This scam has been around for quite some time now - I am in Canada. I have had 7 phone calls - first one they messed up - wanted to speak with my husband - definitely not me - but the computer is in my name. Next time they asked for me. The people calling always say they are from "Windows" and usually call after I have gone into "not-responding" mode. I always hit the "do not send" on the error report - and then they call. Personally, I know that if you call Windows yourself they won't help you so they sure aren't about to call and offer to help me. I did call Windows after the first call and they told me that many, many people had fallen for this scam - and not just the elderly. Does my computer have "issues"? Absolutely. I was very clear that my computer is taken to a computer repair shop when needed and that I was not about to deal with them on the phone. During one of the calls the person asked me to turn on my computer - well, it was already on - I didn't tell him that. The next call was about my e-mail.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:18AM
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My hubby got the same call... He just replied that he'd turn off his computer and then hung up.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 12:37PM
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Boy, I guess this is my cue to leave my telephone number unpublished. I never get these kinds of calls.

I did, however, received a call from a telemarketer who really needs to find another kind of work. He was calling about supplying my electricity, and asked me to go get my bill so he could tell me how much I could save. He was on the level--I've used his company in the past--but I didn't have time to deal with it right then. So I asked him to send me something in the mail. He said, sharp and loud, "WE'VE ALREADY MAILED YOU SOMETHING THREE TIMES!! IF YOU CAN'T BE BOTHERED TO READ IT, WHY SHOULD WE KEEP SENDING IT??" Good point, I guess, but he'll never make any sales that way. Guess he wasn't having a good day. :-)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Thanks for the heads-up about the scam. I'll let my mom know too (she is savvy, but will share the info with folks at the retirement home who are not).

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 2:55PM
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Jannie--I thought you could disbute a charge on a bank account when you find out it is a scan or anything else. Did he use the card as a debit or credit card? You can disbut any cc charge, and even though he gave out the number unless he gave them a pin # he should still be able to disbute. Sometimes you have to be quite firm with the bank.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 5:48PM
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Marie, sorry I don't recall all the details. It was about 5 years ago. I just remember the bank employee said they wouldn't reimburse the $50. I should have asked for a supervisor or a written decision on it, then I would have something solid to protest. Sounds like it was just a local bank policy.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 7:19PM
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We've had that scam going on here for years. A variation is where they talk you through the process of downloading and installing software which they tell you will sort out your computer but in reality sends all your banking info to them so they can raid your accounts. DH and I love to pull their chain, it can fill in a slow afternoon :-)

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 10:43PM
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Glad you shared this. I feel obligated to post because I've received calls like that, too, from different phone numbers.

Although the scam may be easily recognizable to some, it's apparent that some people can still become unsuspecting victims to this trick so it's beneficial that we continue sharing the latest scam news so everybody is updated.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 11:15PM
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Why does anyone bother to waste the time talking to ANYONE who calls you that you do not know? Hang up ASAP. Period.

These days, anyone who calls is a scammer, unless it is someone you know.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 12:47AM
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I was getting those calls for months and they finally stopped when I did not fall for it. Microsoft is not going to call anyone!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 4:44AM
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When the guy told me that they'd found that there was some trouble in my computer for the past week or so, I asked him how he'd got into it, and how found out, and received a rather inconsequential reply.

Then told him that I was not connected to the internet.

Yes - Western Union's around ... a number of guest workers from the Caribbean, Philippines, etc. use it to send money home, and some complain that they charge so much.

A local tobacco farmer has been using them every summer for several months, some have been coming for nine years or so.

I want to check with them about banks in the area, and whether they could transfer, as I'm sure that it would be cheaper.

Especially if they could pool their money at this time and send it in one bundle, then distribute it on arrival, with anothr recipient getting the next bundle, etc.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 3:51PM
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i don't trust anything on the phone or puter even a legit bank one, after i've made a payment, lol...

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 6:21PM
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A telemarketer is a telemarketer is a telemarketer. They prey on people to get money.

These scams have adapted over the years from car warranties to phone service (remember "slamming"?) to other assorted BS. They bank on people wanting to believe that Bill Gates will pay you to spam people, and they use powerful motivators. They appeal to peoples' greed and/or peoples' fears. A Nigerian General wants to share millions with you. I'll send you a check for $5,000.00, you send me your car and a money order for $3,000.00, your grandson will go to jail for 20 years in a foreign country, you'll lose your house, be burglarized and so on.

Here's a pretty good recording of this scam. It's over 1/2 hour long but you can skip through it for the entertainment, but it also has some good info in it to educate people on how they work.

Once they get you to download one of the programs, they can get into your computer and you will have problems. They use essentially illusions to look credible and the non-skeptical will often swallow it hook, line and sinker.

I always told my clients that if it comes to you in an email, assume it's false until proven true. And when they call you on the phone, it's not much different. The sad part is people WANT to believe scams. And they want to be the first to share this secret with people so they send it on to everyone they know.

Anyone can challenge/dispute any charge, just like anyone can sue anyone for anything, however it takes proof to prevail. The banks have no liability to reimburse someone for being a sucker. The easy dispute process was tightened up on many years ago because people would buy something, then have buyer's remorse and dispute the charge. There are rules with a rescission period requirement on large purchases but on smaller purchases when you authorize a charge, you're basically on the hook for it. And to get a refund, you have to go through the proper procedures. People think a credit card protects them because if they drop the TV down a flight of steps, or leave the cake out in the rain, and they can just dispute it and get the money back. You can't challenge a charge because another store put the jacket on sale two weeks after you purchased it. Doesn't work that way. It's similar to people thinking they can buy something with a check and stop payment on the check with no ramifications or even to put them in a better bargaining position. Not always so. You can have issues with criminal charges against you for defrauding an innkeeper for one thing. Attempting to evade payment of a debt is a criminal charge in many places. For instance, writing a check on a closed account. Sadly there are some cards who will sometimes indemnify suckers and that costs everyone money. They'll do it for "customer service" I suppose but again, ever since the changes in the credit laws a number of years ago they aren't as friendly about it.

Most of these telemarketers are educated, at least more than a lot of the people they call. I'd suspect the caller did not say they were with Microsoft. They probably said "tech support" or something and babble something about Microsoft certification or something and people who don't know better or don't pay attention assume something different. One of the collection agencies out of Canada operate under a name similar to a law office to gain credibility and scare people into paying up, even on debts they don't owe. People need to be educated and at least learn more than the telemarketers to protect themselves or they're destined to lose.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 12:09AM
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I got the call too and it sounds totally legit. I am naturally suspicious of anyone who phones or shows up at my door for "a benefit for my own good". Yeah right. I can't think of any company that seeks me out where I actually get the benefit over them. Anyway, I said we don't have windows and they said "Oh, I see you use Mac" and hung up. We do have Microsoft but just wanted to test because I was caught off guard and did believe them for a split second.
OT, kind of, I have to resubmit my name to the "do not call" list as yesterday alone, I had four unknown number from different countries call.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 8:22AM
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Cynic, the scammers do identify themselves as Microsoft. I have had them call many least a dozen times a year.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 9:09AM
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This thread got spammed by"josephraymund" just registered today from Saudi Arabia. I'm sure he has your best interests at heart --- NOT!

I see that the spam was zapped quickly!

This post was edited by sushipup on Tue, Apr 23, 13 at 10:37

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 10:04AM
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I use Comcast for my computer and had an "message" from Comcast stating they were having trouble with my account and I might lose service unless I got in touch with them...Just click on whatever and supply give them my Visa numbers etc. (NOT)....My Comcast account isn't paid by my charge, it comes out of my checking....After getting in touch with the "real" Comcast, they did give me an address to send all spam mail.......I often wonder how many would just go along with this, thinking it was ligit........

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 11:52AM
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