Showing posts with label scam. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scam. Show all posts

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Windows Service Centre scam calls – man gets suspended jail sentence and a fine


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If you’re following tech news you have surely heard about the infamous Windows Service Centre scam calls. Or if you were “lucky” enough, you may even have received the call, which started like this: “I am calling from Microsoft’s Windows Service Centre. We’ve had a report from you service provider of virus problems on your computer.”

However, if this is the first time you hear about this scam, read our previous article, reciting the story of a scam call, received by Firebrand’s Senior Microsoft Instructor, Mike Brown. 

Following the events of the past few days, the frequency of these calls is likely to dramatically decrease, because the man behind the scam has been sentenced, in a landmark case. 

Successful prosecution of man hiring scammers

The convicted man, from Luton, hired operators at an Indian call centre to impersonate Microsoft employees and convince their victims that their computers had viruses. He has received a four-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, as well as a fine of £5,000.
On top of the fine, he must also pay almost £14,000 in prosecution costs and over £5,000 compensation.

New precedent established?

Lord Toby Harris, chairman of the National Trading Standards Board said: "We believe it may be the first ever successful prosecution of someone involved in the Microsoft scam in the UK”.

“Now that one of the many individuals who've been operating this scam has been brought to justice, it's a stark warning to anyone else still doing it that they can be caught and will be prosecuted."

How to avoid tech support phone scams

Don’t fall victim to scam callers, read the guide in Microsoft’s Safety & Security Centre and avoid tech support phone scams.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas scams - four tips to keep your personal information safe


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With the festive period approaching, many people are eagerly browsing the web to find some last minute deals on gadgets. Word of advice: if a deal is "too good to be true", it probably isn't.

Kaspersky Lab issued the following warning this week: "As we get ready for the latest round of Christmas-themed status updates, we should also prepare for a barrage of scams on social networks in the coming weeks too".

In the lead to Christmas, more and more gullible Facebook users are becoming targets and victims of scammers. There are hundreds of pages offering free gadgets such as PlayStation 4s, and insanely good deals on new Apple products, in exchange for your personal information.

Despite the fact that the majority of these scam posts rarely look legitimate, many people are falling for them. The below give-away received 646 entries. 



Kaspersky’s four tips to keep your social profile and personal data safe:
  • Don’t give away too much. Sharing is caring, especially at Christmas, but it doesn’t mean you have to share your personal information. Try keeping it safe by not sharing too much. If you lose control of your social media account to a hacker, it could mean more than just having your privacy infringed upon. They can also use your information to potentially breach other accounts, such as online banking services or e-commerce accounts, like Amazon.
  • Don’t click on untrusted links. Scammers use various techniques to get people to give away their Facebook login details. Clicking on an email link entitled "Facebook X-mas Specials", for example, could lead to a fake Facebook portal which invites users to enter their credentials. Since the interface seems identical to the real entry page, users don’t realise what’s happening until it’s too late. Once the victims have entered their details, the hacker has their passwords. You should, therefore, never click links that don’t come from trusted sources. But even if a link has been posted from a friend, still watch out - they may have been hacked.
  • Use two-factor authentication. Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter are becoming more and more security-conscious. They both have introduced two-factor authentication, which means the user can give another credential, such as a unique number sent to them via text or an application, when logging in. So even if someone gets hold of your details, they won’t be able to login as they won’t have that extra credential.
  • Get the right security. Different types of malware are circulating the web trying to steal social media passwords, such as the innocent-sounding Pony virus. Others, like Kelihos, are spread across Facebook and attempt to steal other personal data. Outside of taking precautionary measures, such as thinking before clicking on links, users need to invest in a decent anti-virus solution that can deal with the latest and most prevalent threats. A properly configured firewall is also essential. 

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Windows Service Centre scammers still active


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Scammers have been around for a long time. Although they might change their methods from time to time, their goal stays the same: getting money out of your pocket.

The scenario of the scam is the following: Your phone rings and the caller asks for the householder, quoting their full name and address prior to saying “I am calling from Microsoft’s Windows Service Centre. We’ve had a report from you service provider of virus problems on your computer.” 

After a couple minutes of research you can see that the following scam has been ‘in practice’ for quite some time now. What’s so special about it then? It’s the fact that this time the scammers phoned Firebrand’s Senior Microsoft Instructor, Mike Brown.

The caller introduced himself as Richard Williams from the USA. He claimed to have a report detailing an extensive list of viruses that Mike’s computer had. In fact, he was willing to prove it through the phone. He instructed Mike (ironic, isn’t it?) to open Event Viewer and filter the application log to see all warning and error messages that were created by the so-called malicious programs on the computer. “Richard” told Mike that he had nothing to worry about, the tech department could easily sort this out for him and if the problem persisted, it would be free. On the other hand, if the solution was successful and Mike was happy, he could pay a yearly fee of just £112 to stay protected. Then Mike was given a URL address to access and download a file required to use the service.



Once the scammer completed his instructions, Mike revealed himself. As a response he was transferred to a so-called senior manager, who began to question his expertise and rapidly disconnected the call.

For more information on these calls read the Guardian’s articles - #1 and #2 - or listen to a real conversation in the following video:



Please be aware, share this information and don’t fall victim of this despicable trick.

About the Author:       
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry.