A new telephone scam is beginning to impact computer users nationwide.

“The Microsoft Tech Support Scam” involves an unwarranted solicitation from a caller identifying themselves as a tech support person with Microsoft.

The caller then details several problem areas that need to be corrected immediately on your computer.

The tech person instructs you to open your computer program and bring up the events page which reveals a number of “error messages” that are “infecting” your device and hindering performance.

The caller then asks you to wait as they bring on a higher-level tech expert to deal with your problem. The higher level technician then jumps in asking you to share your computer operation remotely with them.

Once accepted, the technician will try to identify those problem areas and sell you on an antivirus program guaranteed to rid yourself of any future problems.

The cost of this program is several hundred dollars and the caller requests payment through your Paypal account.

Though some error messages are common on any events page, many unsuspecting computer users are purchasing this software. What they don’t know is that the source of the call has nothing to do with Microsoft.

The caller is a criminal attempting to extort money. In addition, by sharing your computer, the caller can install malware on your machine and greatly damage the computer operation.  They can also setup applications that steal financial and banking information, passwords, and other key personal documents.
Finally they can install an application that will allow them to reenter your computer at a later date.

ThrottleNet’s own Chris Montgomery was the attempted subject of such an attack. Fortunately he knew that Microsoft never reaches out for tech support without some sort of request from the computer user. Suspecting foul play, Chris quickly hung up the phone. Others have not been so lucky.

Chris recommends that you follow these procedures from Microsoft should be contacted by someone claiming to be a Microsoft tech support person.

- Do not purchase any software or services.
- Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the "service." If there is, hang up.
- Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
- Take the caller's information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
- Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support

For additional information visit http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx