The government’s ScamWatch is today warning us to look out for a new round of scams, which target something we would all do without a second thought.
Scammers often adapt their methods based on real word events and they are taking advantage of the current Microsoft Windows 10 system upgrade to trick home computer users into shelling out dollars.
The real Microsoft is offering a free upgrade to the new Windows 10 operating system. The company is rolling out the upgrades by allowing users of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 to register their interest in upgrading and then putting them into a queue. Going into the queue means users must wait their turn for the free upgrade.
Scammers are taking advantage of this by sending out emails claiming they can fast track the upgrade if you follow a link and download an installer program. If you click on the link you are taken to a fake website that looks like the real deal, complete with logos and branding. If you download the software, your computer will be infected with malware.
Alternatively victims may receive a phone call from a scammer claiming to represent Microsoft. The scammer will tell you that Microsoft has detected an illegal download of the new operating system and unless they follow instructions to uninstall it, they will be charged a hefty fee. The scammer then directs victims to a website where they are told to download what turns out to be malware or ransomware.
Scammers have also updated their approach to the remote access scam. They are now claiming security issues in Windows 10 has caused problems which they can fix for a fee.
If you receive an email or phone call from someone claiming to represent Microsoft, press ‘delete’ or just hang up. Never give remote access to your computer to anyone you don’t know, and don’t click on unknown links or files.
How these scams work
You receive an email or phone call claiming either that you can get a Windows 10 upgrade sooner, or, that there is some problem with your installation of Windows 10.
You will be directed to click on a link or visit a website to download software.
The software is ransomware which will lock you out of your computer and demand a payment.
If you pay, you will lose every cent that you send. If you have clicked on an infected link or file, you may also compromise your device’s security in other ways.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.
Do you know someone who uses a Windows computer? Be sure to let them know about this latest scam.