Micro PC Help Scam and Microsoft Windows Support Scam

A couple days ago, I received a phone call from an individual from Micro PC Help (MicroPChelp.com which no longer exists as a website) who claimed that they had received a Microsoft Windows error log from my computer stating that I had an imminent virus threat. They claimed that they were a third-party vendor that works with Microsoft and instructed me to view their website at http://micropchelp.com to validate that they were a legitimate company. They instructed me to enter a specific web url address so that they could be granted access to my computer and rid the virus. The website for http://micropchelp.com, looks legitimate but as a website developer I knew that it would be relatively easy for anyone to establish a similar looking website and so I was still sceptical. The individual had my name, address and telephone number but when I asked them to provide me additional information about my account, such as my email and date of registry, the caller hung up.

I followed up with a call to Microsoft to inquire about the legitimacy of MicroPC Help and they confirmed my suspicion that the call from MicroPC Help was in fact a scam. The reason why I didn’t come to this conclusion earlier is because when I tried to find information on Google to confirm that the call from MicroPC Help was someone trying to scam me, I couldn’t quickly find conclusive evidence. This is largely because it is easy for these scam artists to change their name, get a new phone number and create a new website to change their identity.

I was sent some information from Microsoft about the issue and instructed to call my local police department. When I spoke with my local Police department, they said that they would document the issue and that I should report the issue to phonebusters.com which is a division of the RCMP. I have since made a call to the RCMP to report the issue which they have documented. On the homepage of the phonebusters.com website is an article titled “Computer Scam Goes Viral in Canada” and apparently 70 – 80% of frauds being reported to the Canadian Anti Fraud Centre are currently of this variety. Here’s a relevant article from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/english/Bulletin%202013-11_AntiVirus%20Scams.html

Through additional research, I read several posts in forums from individuals who have been convinced by similar companies (sometimes claiming to be Microsoft or a variety of other well-respected companies) into entering the url address from similar scam artists. Once these scam artists gain access to your computer, they can discretely install a virus and will charge you anywhere from $50 – $400 to remove the “imminent threat”. There is also reason to be concerned that these scam artists may be able to access private information such as your banking information.

Fortunately, I didn’t provide any personal information and I didn’t go to the web address that the caller insisted I enter. Unfortunately, this type of cyber-crime is very difficult to trace, it is easily replicable and it is occurring relatively often. The best weapon to combat it is knowledge. That is why I decided to create this Blog post. If you or any of your friends or family are aware of this scam or similar ones, report it to phonebusters.com and write a quick post in a major anti-scam forum so that we collectively have more documented information about this criminal activity.

Here is a warning from Microsoft in which they state that they do not make unsolicited phone calls:

http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx

Here’s a writeup of this scams on Snopes.com which is a reputable website for online scams and other hoaxes:

http://www.snopes.com/fraud/telephone/microsoft.asp

4 Comments

  1. I just hung up with a guy named Albert from micropc help. I did not give any information. Be very wary of these people!!!

  2. I got a call from Indian dude saying my computer was sending them error logs and I was freaked out so I followed what he said until he asked me to type in all my personal information and my credit card so don’t trust theses scamers

  3. Alan Byron

    I received two calls on successive days from an Indian. they knew my name and address and said they were from Microsoft solutions and asked me to open a management file on my computer where they said there were hidden viruses. I said if they were hidden how did they know. He said information was sent to Microsoft. But they were not Microsoft. He was very persistent but would not give me identification or arrange for an email from Microsoft. I kept him talking as long as possible,told him I knew he was a scammer and trying to swindle me and hung up.

  4. They got me hook line and sincker, this is the current web http://www.micropchelp.com/ Think it is still hot, very alaberate and convinsing, very technically nolagable

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