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Watch out for scams that use Microsoft’s name

19th August 2010

From bogus ‘Microsoft Tech Support’ phone calls to fraudsters asking for credit card information to ‘validate your copy of Windows’, there are a number of Microsoft scams you need to look out for.

Fraudsters often use the names of well-known companies to commit their crime, as it makes their communication with you seem more legitimate. This is why it’s important to think twice before giving out any personal information.

Common scams that use the Microsoft name include:

  • being told you have won the ‘Microsoft Lottery’
  • being asked for your credit card information to ‘validate your copy of Windows’
  • receiving unsolicited emails with attached security updates
  • receiving a phone call from ‘Microsoft Tech Support’ to fix your computer.

Microsoft is warning that they do not send unsolicited emails or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information, or to fix your computer. Microsoft advises anyone who receives such communication to delete the email or hang up the phone.

Anyone who has lost money to a scam like this should report it to Action Fraud.

Advice to avoid Microsoft scams

  • The ‘Microsoft Lottery’ does not exist –so it’s not true if you’re told you’ve won.
  • Microsoft does not request credit card information to validate copies of Windows. Microsoft does validate requests to download software from its website via its ‘Genuine Advantage Program’, but never asks for any personally identifying information, including credit card details.
  • Microsoft does not send out unsolicited communication about security updates, although they do send security software updates to subscribers of the security communications program. If in doubt, don’t open the email.
  • Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer. Fraudsters make these phone calls to try to steal from you and damage your computer with malware. Treat all unsolicited phone calls with scepticism and don’t give out any personal information.

Read more about scams using Microsoft’s name on the Microsoft website.

Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.

To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

See also:
'Microsoft Lottery' is a scam
Don't fall for BT scams
Phishing remains a threat