Does Microsoft call about my computer virus infections?
No. Computer Hope, Microsoft, Dell, HP (Hewlett-Packard), Norton, Facebook, or any other computer company will not call you regarding your computer being infected with a virus or having errors. Cold calling is a common tactic (social engineering) used by scammers to con you out of money for false fixes or security programs your computer does not need.
Often the scammer cold calls you with a speech about your computer having a virus, being slow, having errors, claim you've been hacked, or deliver another message that causes fear. After creating fear, the scammer offers a solution for a price and to connect remotely to your computer to fix the problem.
What to watch out for when dealing with any support
- Always be very suspicious of anyone asking for money, credit card, or your PayPal account details to pay for a fix, service, subscription, or security program.
- No support company has the time to call in and check in with each of its customers. If someone is calling you, but you haven't recently called them, they are most likely not whom they say they are. Even if you have called support before, be very cautious of anyone calling you without expecting the call.
- Never let someone remotely connect to your computer unless you know the person or are sure they represent the technical support company. When giving someone the ability to connect remotely to your computer, that person can easily cause and show false error messages. These errors can scare people into thinking there is a serious problem that can only be resolved by paying someone to fix the errors. Some scammers may also lock your computer, delete files, encrypt files, or cause other problems that hold your computer hostage until you pay a ransom.
- Be cautious of any URL (uniform resource locator) given to you over the phone. Opening a URL can redirect you to download a file, grab credit card information, steal cookies, change browser settings, or install spyware on your computer. Realize that a URL can be entered into the Windows run box, which means you don't have to open a browser.
- Don't install or download any software from an unknown technical support representative. Programs can log your keystrokes to get banking information, spy on you, or open backdoors that allow a person to connect to your computer at any time.
Report scams to the National Do Not Call Registry
If you have received one of these calls and live in the United States, make sure you are part of the National Do Not Call Registry.
If you have installed any software or allowed remote access
If you've already received one of these calls and installed software or allowed an unknown person to remotely connect to your computer, spyware or other backdoors could be opened. You can take the computer to any local repair shop for a diagnostic or create a post on the Computer Hope forum.
If any software was installed, running a tool like Malwarebytes helps detect known malware.