We’ve all heard of scammers calling and pretending to be Microsoft employees to gain access to their victim’s computers. In another type of attack, however, users are tricked into calling the perpetrators themselves, for example, via fake Microsoft messages in the browser. The consumer protection portal “Watchlist Internet” warns against this.
The pop-ups, which usually appear when clicking on advertisements or visiting dubious sites, are declared by the fraudsters as a security warning from the Defender virus scanner integrated with Windows: malware has been found and the device has been blocked for security reasons, they say. An alleged Microsoft support telephone number is also given.
Do not call support!
However, you should never call this number, warn consumer protection experts. Otherwise, you will end up directly with the scammers, who then demand money in the form of a fictitious service fee or urge their victims to install remote maintenance software, which is then only used to take over the computer for data theft, blackmail, and other scams.
You shouldn’t be impressed by the audio clips that accompany the pop-ups either: To increase the pressure, a voice explains that the computer has already alerted Microsoft because it is infected with a Trojan and that log-in data from online services and credit card details are already in the hands of hackers.
Close the tab or browser
Instead, close the relevant tab or, even better, the entire browser. You should not click on the close symbol (X) of the fake Windows warning because the display then switches to full-screen mode, which can look even more threatening. You can usually exit full-screen mode by pressing the F11 key.
If the fake warning keeps appearing even after restarting the browser, consumer protection experts advise deleting website data, cache, and cookies in the browser settings. If necessary, the browser should be reset. Microsoft itself also offers help on the subject of support scams on its support pages.
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