Attorney General Madigan warns Illinois
residents of "Microsoft" Tech Support phone scam
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[August 18, 2014]
- Attorney General Lisa Madigan today reported Illinois residents
are being targeted by phone scammers who pose as representatives of
Microsoft or related technology support service providers, claiming
to have detected viruses or malware on targets’ computers to trick
them into providing remote computer access or convincing targets to
pay for unnecessary software fixes. Madigan's office has received
several complaints from Central Illinois residents who have received
As part of this scam, cybercriminals use publicly available phone
directories to ascertain computer users’ names and other personal
information when they call, according to Microsoft. The scammers
might even guess what operating system users have on their
computers. Once the scammers gain the target's trust, they typically
ask for a user name and password or ask the target to install
software that will let them access the target computer to “fix” the
supposed problem. But instead of providing any service, they trick
the target into installing malware that could steal sensitive data.
“If you receive a call like this, hang up the phone immediately,”
Attorney General Madigan said. “Legitimate companies will not
initiate a call to you and ask you for personal information. This is
an outright scam.”
Madigan also offered the following tips to avoid falling victim to
- Never give your password out on the phone, and never provide
your credit card or financial information to someone who calls
and claims to be from a technical support service.
- Do not expect caller ID will verify a legitimate caller.
Scammers “spoof” phone numbers, meaning they use technology
to appear to be calling from a legitimate source.
- If a caller pressures you to buy software or requests
any other upfront payment, immediately hang up. If you’re
worried about your computer’s security, call your security
software company directly for more information.
Put your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry,
and report illegal calls made to your phone number.
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If you think you might have been a victim of this scam,
Attorney General Madigan suggested Illinois residents:
Update or download legitimate security software applications to
scan your computer. Delete anything identified as a problem.
Change your passwords.
If you paid for bogus services with a credit card, call your
credit card provider using the toll-free number on the back of
your card and report the unauthorized charges. Review your
banking statements for other unauthorized charges.
- Call Attorney General Madigan’s Identity Theft Hotline
(1-866-999-5630), which is staffed by a team of experts who
provide one-on-one assistance to help consumers report identity
thefts to law enforcement and financial institutions, repair
their credit, and prevent future problems.
[Text received; OFFICE OF THE
ILLINOIS ATTORNEY GENERAL LISA MADIGAN]