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Please install this dodgy software – NOT!

28 May

Just got  call from a company, claiming it was calling on behalf of Microsoft. Apparently Microsoft noticed that I was getting a number of viruses and asked them to call me to resolve.

They wanted me to go to a link and download some software so they could fix it remotely.

Now, as it happens, I have an old laptop, that has got a crappy screen and a bust case, so its going to go to the tip.. so I thought I’d play along for a while.

I fire the laptop up and they directed me to a URL [I’m not going to publish it here, in case crawlers try and link to it!], but it basically opened a picture that looked like this (Its poor quality as the only way I had of capturing it quickly was to use my phones camera)

Blue screen of death? Inside a browser, as a bitmap? I guess a lot of people must fall for this though.

They explained to me this was an example of what they had been passed from Microsoft, and could I click on a link below the picture to install some software so they could fix it.

The link looks very Microsofty (microsoft.com was a parameter in the querystring). IE8 complains that the link and the text aren’t the same though.

I didn’t follow the link, I’m not that daft, but did proceed to ask questions about who they were.

They said they were a company called ONLINE PC, calling fro INDIA, and the the guys name was ALEX. I’m sure those details change regularly though.

I asked them for a contact number, and at that point, they hung up.

I’ve heard of this a few times recently, which is why I played along a little. My next door neighbour had a similar call last week, and just hung up on them.  My Brother-in-law also received a call and followed the instructions, but got suspicious part way through the download of the software and turned the pc off. (I’ve checked out his pc as best I can and all seems ok).

I don’t believe for 1 second that Microsoft would call a customer like this, and certainly not without you calling them and obtaining a reference number first.

I’ll pass what details I have to Microsoft, but watch out.

UPDATE: 2nd June 2010

Microsoft say they have received 200+ calls regarding this or similar issues. Make sure you protect yourself from people using the Microsoft name fraudulently, by reading about Microsoft Online Safety at http://www.microsoft.com/protect/fraud/phishing/Msname.aspx

 
2 Comments

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