updated about 5 years ago
If you haven't received a scam phone call yet, you will before long. Phishing phone scams (phone 'fishing' for info or victims) are rising dramatically- we even get them here at the store!
What they do:
Someone will call you and tell you that they are from Windows (or Microsoft, or the IRS, or some other agency) and tell you to go online immediately to a website they give you. The caller will give you some reason related to who they claim to be - your computer is infected, or there is a problem with your return, or any of a hundred other reasons, any of which sound urgent and official. There are many variations, but the common thread is to get you to go download something. If you sound uncertain they will get insistent and if you refuse or demand to talk to a supervisor they will just hang up and move on to the next victim.
What can happen:
If you follow their instructions, they will have you go to a webpage and install software that is either a virus or a remote access app that gives them access to your computer- which they then can use to install viruses and/or steal information. They may try to talk you into a 'service contract' for several hundred dollars- but service is the last thing you'll actually get.
What should you do:
Don't do it, no matter how convincing they sound! NONE of these businesses or agencies will EVER CALL YOU and ask you to go online. Microsoft does not know if your computer is infected. Tell the caller you know it's a scam so they remove you from the list- they won't waste time with you. Be safe online!