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Sweden hit by Microsoft phone hacking scam

David Landes · 29 Jul 2011, 16:12

Published: 29 Jul 2011 16:12 GMT+02:00

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"Instead of stealing information from computers by exploiting technical weaknesses, they are instead exploiting the human users," Per-Ragnar Johansson, an advocacy specialist with Microsoft in Sweden, told The Local.

Reports about the scam, which has been perpetrated in other countries for several years, first came to Microsoft's offices in Sweden in late May and early June.

Victims of the scam receive a phone call from someone speaking English, often with an Indian accent, who claims to have some important information about a virus problem on their computer.

According to Johansson, the fake tech support callers then employ a number of different tactics to obtain access to their victims' computers or credit card details, including selling phony virus protection services, or getting them to install malicious code on their computers.

Several reports of the scam have also shown up on several web forums where victims have shared their stories, often citing calls coming from the number 001000181.

"A female person called and claimed that I had a serious problem with my computer," reported a victim using the pseudonym MammaRebb on the forum WhoCallsMe.

"Trusting as I am, I went along with it in the beginning, which resulted in my computer being hacked and it being taken over."

While refusing to give out any specific figures regarding complaints received so far, Johansson said the number of cases so far was "fewer than in other countries".

"With every scam like this, they are trying to make as much money as possible," he said.

"It's quite natural that they would expand to other countries."

Johansson added that knowledge is often the best defence against falling victim to the phone hacking and other scams.

Story continues below…

"The most successful way to combat these scams is by making people aware of them," he said, adding that IT-savvy Swedes are generally good about contacting Microsoft after receiving suspicious calls.

He added that potential victims should be suspicious of unsolicited callers who ask for bank details or a credit card number adding that Microsoft would never call someone and ask for money to fix a computer problem.

"If you haven't called us, we aren't going to call you out of the blue."

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

23:42 July 29, 2011 by JulieLou40
The thick-s***s who fall for this deserve all they get.
15:05 July 30, 2011 by booka
Haha. They called and At first they said they were from microsoft and asking to check something on my computer using run.Then they were trying to explain to me that they wanted to sell me an anti virus at some website and pay for it with my bank card.

I hung up on them and they tried to call back a few times.....

Annoying waste of time.

There is always a new scam around and the scammers are always planning new ways on how to get your money. Dont be silly and think carefully.
02:53 July 31, 2011 by Nicklouse
I just told them to F*** off as it was so obviously a scam. Not heard back from them.
15:33 August 7, 2012 by JoshArnold
I received a call from one such caller a couple of weeks back ... me being a Software Engineer my self understood in a few seconds that it is a scammer.... Since I am originally from Pakistan there fore it was quite easy for me to hear the indian accent of that "Jack(as he told me his name)" in his "haalooo My naam is Jack ..."

after talking to him for a couple of minutes i started speaking hindi and told him to knock it off!
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