Below is an email I received from my friend Ben.
HI Lois! I wanted to make you aware of a big scam being perpetrated on many senior citizens. Unfortunately, my 87 year old uncle just fell prey to it. My uncle received a call from some guy claiming to be with Microsoft Windows. Microsoft had detected that his PC was being hit with a computer virus or malware. He sounded very official and my poor uncle complied with his instructions to make some specific keystrokes on his PC. He unknowingly gave the phony guy access to his PC’s MS Windows OS which was then put in a frozen state. It became non-functional.
Again, he described the problem as a virus and malware and told my uncle that he could assist him remotely. In order to fix the problem, he had to pay $200. The so-called service guy would provide him with four years of protection. This incident would never happen again. He told my uncle that he would send him an electronic invoice on his PC screen.
My uncle needed to sign it electronically and give the caller his credit card information. At this point, my uncle finally thought that something was wrong. He hung up on the scammer and frantically called me.
My uncle had the scammer’s Caller ID. It was an 800 number. I called it and the scammer answered claiming he was at at a Microsoft’s Windows customer service office. There was a lot of noise in the background as if it was some sort of a boiler room operation. When I questioned the guy he hung up. I called back and he hung up again. Then he totally blocked my number from getting through.
I then called Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, WA and was connected to their corporate security folks. I explained what had happened to my uncle. The guy at Microsoft said that they were aware of the scammers and that they were already working with the FBI on a massive investigation.
Microsoft told me that the real end game for these scammers is to get the Credit Card information from the targeted seniors and then sell that information to other criminal elements. It’s a shame that seniors are so trusting.