New Westminster – On February 6, 2015, the NWPD reported members of the public recently falling victim to the “Microsoft Scam”. This scam involves a caller gaining the trust of the victim while claiming to work for Microsoft. The reason given for the call is to assist the victim in solving home computer issues such as security or software fixes. The scammer convinces the victim to change their computer settings allowing them to take over their computer from a remote location. The victim is unknowingly allowing the scammer access to their entire computer and the information contained within. Once trust is gained, the caller is likely to request passwords and or credit card information in order to pay for this apparent service.
“People should never provide any personal information including credit card numbers, passwords, social insurance numbers or anything of that nature to anyone over the phone,” said Sergeant Chad Johnston.
In relation to this particular scam, Microsoft notes on their website, “neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited calls (also known as cold calls) to charge you for computer security of software fixes”.
The NWPD is also warning the public about a recent email scam affecting members of the public. In this situation, the victim receives an email from what looks like a friend’s email address. The message states the friend has made a last minute trip overseas and has been the victim of a crime such as personal robbery which has left them without funds or identification. The message includes key statements about having reported the crime to police as well as the foreign consulate in an effort to add some legitimacy to the scam before requesting “2000 Euros” to help the friend pay bills to leave the country. The email will appear to have come from a known email address; however, it appears the friend’s email address has likely been hacked in order to appear legitimate to the recipient.
“If you receive an email or phone call from someone claiming to be a friend and asking for money, take the time to contact your friend by phone or in person to verify the legitimacy of the request,” said Sergeant Johnston.
If you have believe you have been the victim of this scam, received any phone calls from a fraudster representing Microsoft or emails from a “friend” asking for funds to be transferred, please contact the New Westminster Police Department at 604-525-5411 or your local police department.