Internet users may be used to encountering various scams on the web and through email, but there are the occasional ones that are not so easy to identify. A recent scam used one of a computer user's greatest terror as a call to action and posed as a trusted source to solve the problem. As outlined in a Los Angeles complaint, an organization planted web advertisements alerting people of grave problems in their PC or other internet accessing device, then tricked viewers into enlisting the help of bogus technical support companies.
Although similar scams existed over the years, this particular one claimed victims it normally wouldn't, based on its invoking of the Microsoft name. Users who weren't particularly tech-savvy, including many senior citizens, blindly paid the organization's exorbitant fee in the hope of saving their devices which, in reality, functioned perfectly well. Some victims were less lucky than others. Many people who were tricked into providing remote access to their systems actually had viruses put onto their devices, which not only cost them the price of the bogus fix but also a later fix through more legitimate service providers.
Last month, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against this organization, which conducted business under various names. Microsoft's private investigators revealed that over 65,000 people complained about these scams last year, which indicates that the problem was well widespread.
As Microsoft seeks to put an end to these scams and others like them, the company is warning users to use extra caution when contacted by supposed technical support and to avoid giving credit card numbers or other personal information without absolute certainty that the service is legit. It is also suggested to never provide remote access to your computer unless you know the service provider well.