Look out for this phone scam

There’s a new version of the same old scam going around. I’m familiar with this one because they’ve called my home phone three times and my cell twice. I felt that the least I could do was call them back.

Here’s the message you receive:   “This is Microsoft support. We’ve noticed unusual traffic from your computer. Things like your personal information, passwords, identity, and financial information like credit cards and banking details are at risk of getting compromised you’re advised to call 1-866-925 9112 at your earliest to stop your information getting stolen. Call the number or otherwise, we have to suspend your account and lock your computer to prevent any further damage to others.”

This is the kind of message that generates a fear response in some folks and can end up costing someone a lot of money. Feeling cranky, I called the number and played along. A soft-spoken man explained that there had been a massive cyber attack and asked if I’d received any spam or junk emails. (Of course, the answer to that is usually ‘yes’ because everyone gets them)  Just to be troublesome, I said “no.” This fellow then goes on to say that they’ve had reports that pornography and spam emails were being sent from my computer and that people were complaining.

This guy claimed that they were going to have to suspend my account to prevent me from infecting other computers. Then he asked me if I was near my PC. Then he talked me through pressing the Windows key + R to open the run window and then input CMD.  He gave a number and then had me assoc  in the CMD window.  Then I was asked to read the longest line. What do you know… they matched.


This guy said it was the unique identifier for my PC. Except it’s not. It will come up the same on every Windows PC. It just refers to how file extensions are displayed.

Then he walked me through opening up Windows event viewer and filtering the events by critical. Man, it looked like my PC was about to blow up. While all of this appears to add credence to the claim there’s a problem with the PC. These are all basically normal events, filtered to make them look scary.


At this point, I’d had enough and let him know who I was and that I was on to his little scam. He stayed completely polite and sounded so offended. “But ma’am, this just isn’t the case. Let me explain.”  Whatever criminal.  I gave him a large, angry piece of my mind.

Had I not been onto his lies,  he would have likely wanted permission to remote into my PC. Once in, he could very easily mess up my PC. Then he would either want a credit card number to fix the non-existent remote viewer problems, or charge to fix the damage he caused to the PC once he had remote access. Then he would have my credit card number and access to my PC and all of its information.

There are two sure ways to know it’s a scam.

1: They call you. Tech support companies don’t just randomly call people. Microsoft doesn’t just call people. NOBODY just calls people about their PC problems. Do mechanics randomly call you up and tell you there’s something going on with your car? If they called you (and you did not previously call tech support for a device or service and schedule an appointment for someone to call back), IT IS A SCAM!

2: They claimed to know that something is wrong with your PC. These people have no way of knowing what’s going on with your PC. They have no magic connection and no way to see what’s going on inside. The only way someone can take a look at what’s happening in your PC is if you allow that person to remote in. But you have to grant that access from your PC. If someone calls up and says they can see what’s going on with your device, that person is lying.

To reiterate: If they call you: SCAM! If they say they can see that something is wrong with your PC: SCAM! If you happen to have a whistle handy, blow it into the phone before hanging up.

Even if you aren’t likely to fall for this scam, it’s a good idea to warn folks you think might go for it.


14 thoughts on “Look out for this phone scam

  1. I fell for this scam in June and it cost me $1300, but they did not want a credit card number, they wanted ITune cards(these can not be traced). To this day, they still call me and I have tried blowing the horn into the phone, threating with legal action for harassment. None of this works. I have been told to just hang up.

    1. These people have been harassing me for months, just got off the phone with them. I pushed the number to talk with an assocate and then I yelled at him that it was a scam and asked for his supervisor, no response but I could hear lots of voices in the back ground and they all sounded like Asian ascents I thought oh my gosh they may be trying to get information from my cell phone so I hung up very fast. This was th second call that I have had this morning. Actually got an email last week saying this same thing, asking me to log into a site that they gave in the mail. My son is a computer “geek” so I just forwarded the message to him and he reported it to someone and told me to delete the original message and to never open this type of mail again as it is just a scam and that they can do real damage to my computer and all my records.

  2. Cynthia,

    It just doesn’t happen in America. We live in Sydney Australia and my husband received a similar phone call last night. My husband was asked to turn on his computer because there was a problem:
    Without leaving the chair in which he was sitting, he asked.
    ‘Which one?’
    Caller – ‘The one you use the most.’
    My husband – ‘OK. I have turned it on.’
    Caller – ‘Now press the Windows Key + R to run Windows.’
    After a couple of seconds my husband started yelling into the phone and sounded very agitated and said
    ‘My screen has gone black. What have you done? What have you done to my computer?

    Caller – You b………. b………… and hung up.

    We had a laugh as we ate our meal.

  3. This article has calmed my nerves a bit, as I was caught by a potential scammer an hour ago.. like you did, I was pretty sure he was a fake, so let him talk his talk, I too pressed windows key + R, and waited for him to start asking me to type in some stuff (which no doubt would have compromised my security)…at this point he rang off, I thought initially as he suspected I wasn’t being taken in, then I panicked thinking, what if my merely pressing windows key + R has let him in to my computer… by reading your piece, I think I’m OK 🙂

  4. Just got off the phone with one of these. Interestingly, rather than say they were from Microsoft they tried to make it sound like they were from some sort of official (government) agency who were going to close down my computer because of all the messages sent (presumably from hackers). Kept mentioning the Data Protection Act, (this was in the UK). They rang from a mobile number 07215 245246, and I could hear other calls in the background. When I said one of their instructions wasn’t working they asked was I happy to be hacked and to have my computer switched off. I said that’s ok, I will be able to handle it.

  5. Got this same message on my answering machine and figured it was a scam but am glad to have it and the details verified Thanks

  6. No kidding they’re Still at it!! I’ve just been checking messages from earlier today and I’ll be jiggered this 866-925-9112 # is listed to call for EXACTLY the same word for word BS. The # they called from is: 470-333-0096. Thanks so much for the validation…SCAM was my first thought!!

  7. I received a voicemail telling me I needed to call telephone number (866-925-9112). They used the same tactic but instead of saying it was Microsoft they said it was Facebook and my account was hacked and now my account was sending out porn and threatening message content, etc. I just ignored the call.

  8. This is old news, but still good advice. The one piece of information I did get from reading this article was to get a whistle! That is such a great idea! if everyone they called would literally blow a whistle in their ear, just imagine how apprehensive the scammers would be when talking. Now I know that’s not going to stop them, but imagine them going home at night after having a thousand people blasting their ear with 120dB referee whistle. “Hi Hon, did you have a rough day of Scamming” – ‘WHAT?’ – “did you have a rough day S-C-A-M-M-I-N-G?”

  9. Cynthia,
    Thanks for the article post.
    I always check out unknown numbers/phone messages on-line just to hear what other folks experienced.
    I resurface counter-tops and tubs so I expect potential customer calls.
    This one sounded good, I knew it was a scam, but it sounded soooo… good. I did not call the number but with the whistle suggestion, I just might now. Just to get the tinnitus going!!

  10. I was on to their scam as well. I told the asshat he had the right one today because I had nothing but time to harass them. I called the number back over a course of an hour. They got sick of me, so the last few times I called the number was busy. It was fun while it lasted.

  11. I’ve gotten these calls and one person told me they could see what was going on in my computer. I said, “That’s very strange, because I don’t have a computer”. He hung up real fast.

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