An important scam alert from the Better Business Bureau:
Microsoft announced that they are no longer providing technical assistance, software updates, or bug fixes for Windows 7. It’s big news for users of the popular operating system. The announcement is giving scammers an opportunity to confuse Windows users into paying to update their “expiring Windows license” – whether they need to or not, according to recent BBB Scam Tracker reports.
How the Scam Works
You receive a call from someone who claims to be a concerned Microsoft employee. They explain that you need to upgrade your operating system if you want your computer to keep working. The caller may say that you need to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10, or simply that your Windows license is expiring.
The caller may seem friendly and helpful, but they are far from it. They may convince you to pay yearly fees (that don’t exist) or request remote access to your computer under the guise of installing software. If you pay the fees, you could lose hundreds of dollars. But if you allow the scammer access to your computer, your secure personal information, such as banking details and login credentials, can be compromised. This puts you at risk for identity theft.
How to Protect Yourself from Tech Scams
For More Information
We checked with Microsoft, and they confirm that the company never reaches out to offer support by phone or pop-up on your computer screen. All support requests are initiated by customers. Microsoft won’t reimburse scam victims for money or gift cards given to scammers, but they are happy to check over your computer to make sure any viruses or malware have been removed. Report tech support scams to Microsoft here, and get information about upgrading from Windows 7 here.
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, whether you’ve lost money, report it at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Your report can help others stay alert and informed and avoid similar scams.