Ledger Inquirer

Inquirer: Don't fall for fake Microsoft scam

I've gotten three calls recently from Concerned Readers about some obviously nefarious hucksters calling to entice them over the phone to give up some personal information.

And now I have gotten three calls from these same nefarious folks, not here at Inquirer Central, but at the Inquirer Homestead. That won't do.

"This guy sounded pretty convincing, but I didn't give him any information," one Concerned Reader said. "He sounded like a foreigner."

The callers I have dealt with have all sounded like they were not from around here. They have had distinctive accents that made me suspect they hail from southern Asia. I hope that offends no one, but I'll survive if it does.

Sometimes they don't know your name, sometimes they do. But they always have all-American boy names like Bob or Jack or Tom.

Anyway, one named Bob (which he pronounced somewhere between bob and bobe) introduced himself.

So I said, "Hey Bob," in my best drawl, "I'm Sanjay. How's it (going)?"

He went into his spiel about how he worked for Microsoft Security in Utah.

"Utah?" I said. "You don't sound Mormon."

Again, he ignored the commentary and plowed ahead about how out there at Microsoft Security headquarters they'd detected someone trying to access my PC and if I would just do what he said, he could protect me from these bad guys.

That offer sounded just about as promising and profitable as my first marriage, so I declined.

He stressed the importance that I take his warning seriously.

"Trust me, there are people trying to gain access to your PC and your personal data," he urged.

"I know that Bob, because you're one of the (not nice word) who is trying to do it," I said.

He dog-cussed me for a second or two and then hung up. In addition to his accent, Bob(e) needs to work on his people skills.

How could I be so sure that Bob wasn't really from Microsoft? One, because I don't have a PC at the house, only Mac stuff. And two, I'd already gotten two calls from Concerned Readers about the scam.

I went to the real Microsoft Safety and Security Center website and they have a couple of pages of advice for avoiding getting scammed by people like Bob(e). They give good advice on what not to do (pretty much anything except hanging up).

And they also state flatly: "Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes."

So play it safe and just hang up on Bob(e). But first, tell him Sanjay says hey.


The boat's still there.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen @ledger-enquirer.com.