How do you recognise this form of fraud, which is referred to as the ‘Microsoft scam’?
Someone calls you pretending to be someone from the Microsoft or Apple helpdesk, or the helpdesk of another computer company. This scammer has you believe that there is a security problem with your computer and suggests that you safeguard it. Do not believe this. The scammer then asks you to perform specific actions: start the computer, surf to a specific website, download an application, etc.
It also happens that a pop-up appears on your PC to warn you of an alleged security problem. The message contains a telephone number that you can contact for help. If you call that number, you will be routed directly to the fraudsters.
In this way the fraudster can get access your computer. He or she then opens a few files and error messages appear. To solve the problem, you first have to pay. The scammer will then try to get your bank details and ask you to make a payment.
- Always distrust calls from companies asking you to perform various actions on your computer. Microsoft, Apple or other computer companies will not contact you uninvited to report a problem.
- So in other words, never be fooled by such calls.
- If possible, try to note the number of the person calling you.
- Then hang up.
- You can also report the call to the police.
- If your screen is blocked, you can close the browser via Ctrl-Shift-Esc.
- Remove the applications you installed at the request of the scammers.
- If you have granted scammers access to your computer, you must reformat your device.
- Carry out a full virus scan and delete any malware found.
- Install all security updates as soon as they become available.
- Make sure your firewall is installed.
- Change your passwords, certainly if you have disclosed them.
If necessary, get help from a computer expert.
- Contact Card Stop on 078 170 170 (+32 78 170 170 from abroad) so that your account can be blocked.
- Contact your bank. The quicker you notify the bank, the greater the chance that your money can still be recovered.
- Report the matter to the police. Collect as many details as possible (name and company of the fraudster, telephone number, language/accent, actions and programmes used on the computer, any personal details provided, price and payment method, etc.) and report this to the police.