Microsoft Phone Scam: Coming to a landline near you


LISTEN up Australians. (excuse the pun!)

If your number is in the White Pages – you are due to be the next victim of the Microsoft Phone Scam. That is of course, if you haven’t been contacted already.

The scam itself has been making the rounds for years now, however with short breaks in between each batch of phone calls across Australia, there are also several modifications of this scam so you do need to be aware of every version.

Here are the most common Microsoft phone scams occurring across Australia:

1.  You receive a call from a Microsoft technician advising you have a virus on a computer.

Who they target: The elderly and stay at home parents.

What they lead you to believe: Your computer has downloaded a virus and in order to fix this they direct you to an online site.  Alternatively they request your credit card details to pay for the anti-virus software.

The Truth: The site they direct you to either contains the virus (which can record your keystrokes) or alternatively they will engage in steps with you to allow them full access to your computer (and your personal information).  Once they have obtained your personal details or banking information it allows them to conduct identity theft or charge unsolicited fees on your card.

2. You receive an email or phone call from Microsoft advising you have won the Microsoft Lottery.

Quite simply – there is no Microsoft Lottery! Any message or individual claiming otherwise is nothing but a scammer.

This scam is so widespread, it has forced Microsoft directly to provide the following statement on their website:

The Microsoft lottery scam is a fraud that usually starts with an email messages that claim the recipient has won “The Microsoft Lottery.”

There is no Microsoft lottery and if you receive this kind of email it has been sent by cybercriminals in an attempt to steal money from you.

These email messages are designed to engage you in a dialogue with the goal of persuading you to send them money. Once you’ve sent the money, the perpetrator will often re-contact you with a different story to convince you to pay more money to access the cash prize.

In order to access the fictitious prize, the criminal might ask you to pay a sum of money in advance to cover costs such as tax fees, courier services, United Nations clearance checks, attorney fees, and many others. The criminal often seems believable, and their methods are very creative. They use well-known company brands and personalities such as Microsoft and Bill Gates to lend credibility and authenticity to their email messages.

These email messages are designed to engage you in a dialogue with the goal of persuading you to send them money. Once you’ve sent the money, the perpetrator will often re-contact you with a different story to convince you to pay more money to access the cash prize.

3. You are contacted by an individual claiming to be employed by Microsoft requesting your credit card information to validate your copy of Windows.

Similar to the virus phone scam, this scam aims to obtain your banking details in order to make fraudulent purchases using your credit card details.  Your information could also be sold by cyber-criminals on the black market, where credit card information is resold.




4.  You receive an unsolicited message claiming to be from Microsoft with an attachment alleging to be a security update.

This attachment is simply a virus packaged up to look like it intends on keep you safe from harm, when in reality it puts you directly in harms way.

IF YOU HAVE RECEIVED ANY OF THESE MESSAGES: Do not attempt to engage in conversation with these individuals. Immediately ignore, delete the email or hangup the phone.

For those who have received a phone call – we strongly recommend you sign up with the “Do Not Call” Register. This is a a secure database operated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) where you can list your numbers to avoid receiving unsolicited telemarketing calls and marketing faxes.

The ACMA also allow you to report any unsolicited emails you have received.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: These scams are so successful because victims are unaware of their existence or how they work. The best preventative method is AWARENESS. The more people who are made aware of these scams, the less likely we as a community will fall victim to them.

Have you been contacted by a scammer? Please share with us your own experiences and advice about stopping these scams.

Online Investigations are private investigators based in Melbourne, Australia.  Our aim is to identify the current scams trending across Australia and alert individuals to prevent further victims.