SCAM ALERT: Attorney General Chris Carr Warns of New Twist on Microsoft Tech Support Scam

December 6, 2016

ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr is warning consumers about a new twist on a technical support scam in which people pose as representatives from Microsoft. The scammers are taking the scheme a step further this time. See below for a detailed outline of their process:

  1. The scammer calls the consumer, posing as a Microsoft representative, to tell them something is wrong with their computer but fixable through a payment of a few hundred dollars. 
  2. The scammer obtains personal account information to charge the victim’s credit card (sometimes repeatedly) for its “computer repair.”
  3. The scammer then calls back a few weeks later saying, “Unfortunately, the attempted repair was unsuccessful.” 
  4. As a courtesy, the scammer offers to refund the amount the consumer paid, and he/she asks the consumer to provide bank information to deposit the money directly into their account.
  5. The scammer then “mistakenly” sends $3,000 instead of $300 to the account and asks the consumer to wire back the $2,700 overpayment.
  6. Because the money was transferred right into the consumer’s account, the scheme creates a false sense of safety, and the consumer wires the excess funds right back. 
  7. It isn’t until later that the consumer, now victim, finds out where the $3,000 payment came from in the first place—their own credit card from the original phone call which was used to get a $3,000 cash advance.

To avoid scams like these, remember these tips:

  • Microsoft will never call you for this reason.  So if you get such a phone call, hang up immediately.
  • If you get a call or message and you’re still in doubt, you should contact Microsoft’s Answer Desk directly at 1-800-426-9400.
  • Never give out your financial or personal information to a caller, regardless of who they claim to be. 
  • Don’t click on pop-up windows; they may download malware onto your computer.
  • Do not call toll-free numbers that appear on pop-up windows.