Scam

Escaped the WindowsCare Scam

I put up with a lot to keep my land line to send/receive faxes (and to dial 911 in case of emergency, of course) — jokes from friends about being a dinosaur, robocalls from political candidates, solicitations offering to extend my credit or change my phone plan. But today I got my first scam call — that I know of .

The line was really bad. A man with a heavy Indian accent tells me that my PC was sending him Windows error messages and proceeded to ask me to go to the Start button. He says, “It’s on the lower left corner”, as if he was reading from a script.

He wanted me to go to the Event Viewer to look thru the Application Log Viewer for errors. And of course there were. 

“That is very serious. If you do not address them, your PC could stop working without warning.”

I told him I had anti-virus software installed (I use Malwarebytes Anti-Malware PRO ) and it had not detected anything recently.

“Oh, you have a problem in your registry and no anti-virus software will help you fix this.”

Then he asks me to go to a URL, which I went along with. The line was so crackly and his accent was so thick that he had to spell out the URL three times before I understood that he meant ’www.thewindowscare.com’. But each time he had to repeat himself, he got increasingly more annoyed and impatient.

Which got me increasingly more annoyed and suspicious.

So I started asking questions.

I asked why we were going to the website. He said to download software so he could remote to my PC and fix the problem.

I asked if he from Microsoft. He said he was not with Microsoft, but was a Microsoft Certified Provider.

I asked how much this going to cost, because he had not yet mentioned any fee. He said it would cost $80.

Then I asked him what was he doing that I or a local technician could not do ourselves. He started “If you think you are so smart, (something something I did not understand)… ” and then hung up.

Immediately, I searched the internet and uncovered numerous articles from Microsoft and others warning about this company The Windows Care – and other PC tech support phone scammers — claiming to be affiliated with Microsoft, selling fake Windows security tools, remoting in to computers make them more vulnerable, and gaining access to personal banking or credit card data.

Whew, so a close call for me. If the scammer had been less agitated, a little more polished, maybe I would have fallen victim. I would like to think that my radar would have gone off anyway, but you never know. I am strangely trusting. (I can tell you some stories.) And I am a sucker for any well-executed TV infommercials eg. Meaningful Beauty, Sheer Cover, Proactiv, damn Guthy-Renker, etc. and heart-tugging appeals and pledge drives eg. WNET Thirteen, Save the Children.  So could I believe that Microsoft follows up on the error reports they receive? Yes, I could. In fact, I am actually a little disappointed in Microsoft now that I know that they don’t.

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