For the last half hour or so I've had 'David', his supervisor 'Charlie' and a third senior supervisor (whose name I didn't even bother to remember) all with very strong Indian acents trying to tell me that my computer was seriously infected with malware and files that hamper my internet and all sorts of horrible things!
I was dubious to say the least (hey, my Norton antivirus is bang up to date on its definitions) but went through the process with them just to see what they would do.
I asked repeatedly what the error message consisted of, they couldn't tell me - Clue 1.
I asked what the name of the malicious file was. Apparently a really serious W52 malware that I couldn't find on any search - Clue 2.
They got me to hold down the windows key and hit R - which brings up the run window and then got me to start up my event viewer (this is a little program that lets you see all the litle messages that go in the background of your computer). They talked me through (about five times really slowly) how to filter the list so that I could see lots of scary looking red exclamation marks and yellow warning triangles.
I gasped as they showed me my error logs on event viewer!
I shuddered at how my antivirus wasn't protecting me!
I shrieked when told that I was told that online shopping sites actually aren't secure and they download malicious files to my computer!
He then, very politely, directed me to a site www.windowspccure.com and asked me to login so that he could help me deal with all the horrible internet nasties that had made it onto my computer - and there was Clue 3.
I asked him to wait as the web page was loading (yet more evidence that my computer is being eaten at by nasty little gremlins!) and I did a quick google search.
Guess what, there have been a few scams done in exactly this way over the last couple of years.
All of them originated from India, all of them asked you to login to a website so they could take control of your pc and help you with your problems - presumably one of which is that you have too much money and they'd like to relieve you of that burden.
I didn't login to their site, told them I knew it was a scam and hung up.
Things to remember:
Don't for goodness sake login to that Windows PC Cure website on the link above.
If you allow someone to have remote access to your computer they will be able to get hold of all your records, bank data and any other little juicy bits and pieces you have on there.
Microsoft does not do cold calling regarding anything, much less any error reports that come through to them.
Your computer will have a whole list of little things going on if you look at Event Viewer, the majority of which are no big deal.
Make sure your computer is virus protected (yes even you Mac users given the discovery of the first Mac OSX virus - details and removal tool here ).
Please pass this on and lets put these scammers out of business.