Windows 10 Update: Tech support phone scams

Week of 12/7/15 — This email is a follow-up on my tip last week about phone scams claiming to be Microsoft. Please follow the suggestions from Microsoft to protect yourselves. ~Tom

phone-scamAvoid tech support phone scams

Cybercriminals don’t just send fraudulent email messages and set up fake websites. They might also call you on the telephone and claim to be from Microsoft. They might offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Once they have access to your computer, they can do the following:

  • Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
  • Convince you to visit legitimate websites (like to download software that will allow them to take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Request credit card information so they can bill you for phony services.
  • Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.

Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security or software fixes.

Telephone tech support scams: What you need to know

Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories, so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you’re using.

Once they’ve gained your trust, they might ask for your user name and password or ask you to go to a legitimate website (such as to install software that will let them access your computer to fix it. Once you do this, your computer and your personal information are vulnerable.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information. Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:

  • Windows Helpdesk
  • Windows Service Center
  • Microsoft Tech Support
  • Microsoft Support
  • Windows Technical Department Support Group
  • Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team) Report phone scams
  • Help Microsoft stop cybercriminals by reporting information about your phone scam. 
  • In the United States, use the FTC Complaint Assistant form. 
  • In Canada, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre can provide support. 
  • In the United Kingdom, you can report fraud as well as unsolicited calls. 

Whenever you receive a phone call or see a pop-up window on your PC and feel uncertain whether it is from someone at Microsoft, don’t take the risk. Reach out directly to one of our technical support experts dedicated to helping you at the Microsoft Answer Desk. Or you can simply call us at 1-800-426-9400 or one of our customer service phone numbers for people located around the world. 

How to protect yourself from telephone tech support scams

If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support calls you:

  • Do not purchase any software or services.
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
  • Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.

— Tom FitzGerald, President

Shamrock System Solutions

For those that have already upgraded, make sure to take advantage of the video training referenced in the RECAP portion of this email below.


Thanks to the people at for developing such great media. I recommend to those individuals and companies planning to upgrade, to download and observe the tutorials either before, or shortly after, the upgrade as it will definitely make the transition much easier.

We recommend that when the upgrade comes back to the Windows 10 login and then asks if you want to use “express settings,” you don’t do so. On the left side of that page is a customize link that will allow you to set how much, if any, information you want to share with Microsoft.

I’m still recommending the corporate clients, especially those with specialized software that runs their businesses, to hold off on doing the upgrade. We’ll continue to do upgrades on those clients at their quarterly service appointments.

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