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It can be frustrating to have problems with your computer, especially now that so many people are working from home. But if you get a call from someone claiming to be a Microsoft technician, saying there are viruses on your system, hang up the phone. It’s a scam.

Tech support scammers want you to pay for services you don’t need to fix problems that don’t exist. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Never give control of your computer or your credit card to anyone who calls you out of the blue.
  • Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number. If your pop-up insists that you call, it’s a scam.
  • If you think there may be a problem with your computer, update your computer’s security software and run a scan.
  • If you need help fixing a problem, go to so someone you know and trust. Many software companies offer support online or by phone. Stores that sell computer equipment also offer technical support in person.

Check out this video to see how two people handled this issue.

And if you get a tech support scam call, block the caller, tell your friends and neighbors about it, then report it to the FTC.

(This post is part of the FTC's imposter scam series.)

17 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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terianne
April 10, 2020
Thank you for the info. I've had an issue with scams of that sort in the past couple of yrs.
Morgus
April 10, 2020
Maybe notice regarding tech calls should be packed with every tech device sold.
Froglet
April 10, 2020
Thank you for posting this. I've been scammed twice by a company, that contacted me during a vulnerable time in my life. I think many people are vulnerable now, so this article is timed perfectly!
comment
April 10, 2020
Very timely. Phone 'pick pockets' are all bluff and deception. Simply hang up. Anything you say, can and will be used against you. Yes, they record your voice. So, stay safe.
ticat
April 10, 2020
I had received in the past those calls from Microsoft technicians and did pay them twice (still have printed paper receipts) to resolve it. Never got money back from FTC
Robert d Tompkins
July 01, 2020

In reply to by ticat

Yeah two years ago my computer was flashing red and alarting me that my identity was being hacked and funds being stolen out of my bank account over 35,000.00 dollars was being taking while it was flashing red and then someone from Microsoft I guess was saying they was hacking my bank and stealing funds from it telling us we had to pay about 980.00 dollars for our security framework was needed and they kept on charging us over 4,000 dollars trying to fix it
Cocobb
April 10, 2020
Wife emailed there is a problem with her Amazon PRIME account and asked to return a completed form with her social security account number to clear it up. She has no Prime account, but she could have!......
Mommary
April 10, 2020
How are we supposed to go to someone we know and trust or someone at a store tat sells that computer when we are supposed to stay in the house until the virus is contained?
louise
April 10, 2020
Every time I went into MS Office, I got a pop up showing it expired & needed to re-purchase the program. It was a very old program. Then I got calls saying the same thing. I ignored it for a while, they kept calling and I kept getting popup. I called the number b/c it was acting up-changing documents, etc. NEVER CALL- I got scammed and feel like an idiot now. That's when I found this site. Wished I had found it earlier. I reported it, hope they catch the scammers, but it's a moving target-better off being aware in the first place. Wish the FTC would publish public announcements instead of consumers having to search. Many people don't know what to even look for until we get taken.
Rock
April 10, 2020
I get one of their calls at least once each week !!
Princess, Chlo…
April 10, 2020
I did not receive a phone call telling me I needed service for my computer. I clicked on the Microsoft Help and Support site and it gave me a phone number to call. Unfortunately, that number, which had been posted on the Microsoft site, was the number of a very skilled scam artist. He had me twisted around his finger and he stole $2000 from me. I reported to my bank who closed my bank account and cancelled my debit cards. They are currently investigating the case. Almost two weeks later, after I blocked all numbers on which he had left voicemails, I am still getting phone calls from new numbers (again, I do NOT answer any call that has a number unknown to me). The latest phone call was last night at 2AM!
rbe
April 10, 2020
This happened to me, I was dealing with my husband’s health issues and not totally focused on what I was doing. I was so vulnerable and fell for the spiel right away. I believed the man, who sounded so convincing I bought the computer protection from him. I put the charge on my Discover card, called Discover and told them what I had done. How blessed I was that this young man saw I had been scammed and froze the card. They worked with me and got the issue resolved, monitored my account for six moths., closed that account. What a valuable lesson I learned. Please beware, they look for people like me. Follow FTC, the education they provide is invaluable.
dispatchdr1
April 14, 2020
I have had a few of those calls and they almost talked me into it, but I wouldn't give them my card info. Glad I didn't
taptap
April 11, 2020
thank you! I was one that got scam on this very thing.i reported them to the FTC.
Dave W
April 12, 2020
I wish I knew about this scam sooner. I had this happen to me a couple of years ago. I should have known better when my credit card company asked me to approve their fee for the service was going through a foreign bank. I have also received this type of scam calls since. They stopped after reporting their phone number to the FTC.
Kathy
April 12, 2020
Thank you for warning people about this. I had this scam saying I had 30 viruses on my computer and they were from Microsoft they said. They got into my computer and I ended up losing $2,000 in gift cards in the long run!!
Cab.
May 26, 2021
Thank you so much for the information, maybe with some of the Good Tips I obtained, can @ least lower the rate that I been receiving.