3OYS: Beware of Microsoft phone hacking scam

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- If someone told you that your computer had a virus, you'd probably get concerned and anxious to get it fixed. That’s what scammers are hoping when they call you and claim to be with your computer company.

Ron Schnell has a thing for motorcycles. In fact, he has three of them.

"The adrenaline rush, the passion -- it's great," he said.

A 1999 Excelsior Henderson is even on display in his living room.

While Schnell knows bikes, he also knows when someone is trying to take him for a ride. Recently, Schnell got two calls from a man with a very thick, heavy accent.

"First thing, he said he was from Microsoft and that my computer was infected with a lot of viruses," Schnell recalled.

To get rid of the so-called virus, the caller wanted Schnell to go through his computer and delete files.

"He wanted me to go down to the start button right here, open it up," Schnell said.

It's a good thing he didn't do it.

"Once you give them access to your computer, it could be everything from just faking like they're going to help you to installing malware or key loggers, so the next time you go to your bank's website they have that information," said Ken Colburn, a computer expert with Data Doctors.

Colburn said this particular Microsoft scam has been around a while but its frequency is on the rise.

"In the last 30 days, we're seeing reports from all over the Internet that the number, the frequency and the aggressive nature of these folks, calling over and over again even after you hang up on them," he said.

The ruse is a major concern. Data Doctors has posted warnings about it and they're not alone. The Federal Trade Commission has an alert, and actual calls of the scam have been posted on YouTube.

If you get a call from the technical department of the Windows operating system, just hang up or say you don't have Microsoft.

As for Schnell, he can ride his bike knowing he didn't fall for the scam and hopes others don't fall for the random calls that never seem to end.

“Never trust anybody that's on a random phone call, 'Hey, you've won this, won that.' "

For more information about the scam, visit the links below:

Federal Trade Commission - Tech support scams

Data Doctors - Fake Microsoft phone call scam on the rise again