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Top Story: Scary phone scam spreading and costing Americans millions

Top Story: Scary phone scam spreading and costing Americans millions
PHOTO COURTESY OF SHUTTERSTOCK

We've warned you about the recent scams making their way around Facebook, and even scams that are spreading on Craigslist. But we're starting to hear more news of phone scams.

Just last week we warned you about the fake caller ID scam that has sprung up. If you missed it, click here to learn more about it. It's scary!

But another scam has started to circulate again, and a lot of people are falling for it.

It works like this: Someone calls claiming they work for a special department within Microsoft. They state that they've received a notification that your computer has been infected with a virus, and then they offer to help you troubleshoot the problem.

If the victim agrees to this troubleshooting process, the scammer walks them through a series of steps that will trigger a false reading. This reading is designed to make the victim believe that his or her computer is in fact infected with some type of virus.

Of course, Microsoft does not have a department that performs tasks like this. While it's true that the company may use some questionable tactics to get you to update to Windows 10, it does not employ these fraudulent callers.

Before now, it was unclear who these callers were and what the objective of the scam truly was. But recently, a reporter for Securlist played along with the scam in order to get more information about it.

After receiving these calls for months, David Jacoby decided to finally take the call and record everything that happened. What he found was surprising. During the course of the call, Jacoby was able to uncover the scammers' IP address, the PayPal accounts that were being used for money transfers and even learn more about some of the software they were using.

Jacoby allowed the caller to walk him through the entire scam, playing along as the caller told him everything that was "wrong" with his computer. By the end, the caller had prompted Jacoby to install a security program for $250, and to grant the technician full access to his computer.

One of the most important things that Jacoby noted was that the software being used by these scammers was not malicious. This means that anti-virus software would likely not be triggered to notify the end user of any problems.

As a whole, it seems that the primary point of the scam is to trick people into paying the $250 for the software. However, it's still unclear what the scammers are doing with additional information they gather from victims' computers.

So, if you receive an unexpected call from anyone who claims to work for Microsoft - hang up! This scam is designed to fool you into handing over your hard-earned money.

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Source: Secure List
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