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Scam alert: Don't be tricked by these fake Microsoft tech support calls

Scam alert: Don't be tricked by these fake Microsoft tech support calls
© Teodor Lazarev | Dreamstime.com

Criminals are so clever it makes your blood boil. When one trick doesn't work, they'll try something new, or they'll revive a proven winner. By "winner," we mean a crime so devious, sinister and effective that criminals use it over and over to steal people's money.

There are plenty of "winners" criminals can use, but one of the most effective isn't a phishing email or ransomware virus. Instead, it's a good old-fashioned telephone scam. In fact, there are actually 86 million scam phone calls every month in the USA. Let's look at how one of the most successful phone scams works and what you can do to stay safe.

Imagine you're home eating dinner when the phone rings. On the other end is a person claiming to be a representative from Microsoft. They say they've detected a problem with your computer and, if you let them log in, they can fix it for you.

The person is so patient and accommodating that you can't help but follow their instructions. The next thing you know, they'll be saying that to really fix the problem you need to tell them your credit card number. Or you'll suddenly find your computer loaded down with data-stealing malware or a ransomware virus.

And if you start to get wise to the scam and push back, you could suddenly have the caller shouting at you or even threatening to kill you. That's scary.

Everyone gets these types of calls, but you don't have to be the victim. Here are several surefire steps to keep phone scammers at bay. And be sure to share these with your family and friends so they aren't fooled either.

Next page: The one thing you must never do when a fake Microsoft rep calls
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