ALERT: ‘Microsoft’ tech support scammers cashing on in ransomware attack

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Scammers are using the recent Wannacry ransomware attack as a ploy to defraud worried computer users.

Action Fraud - the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime - has received reports of fraudsters claiming to be from Microsoft.

The scam involves convincing victims that they had insufficient anti-virus protection.

One user was defrauded after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop up window. The window, which wouldn’t close, said the PC had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.

The fraudsters were allowed remote access to the PC, where they installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool - which is actually free - and took £320 as payment.

Action Fraud have pointed out that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on a PC will never include a phone number.

Also, Microsoft will never proactively contact users to offer PC or technical support - any communication must be initiated by the user.

How to protect yourself

Don’t call numbers from pop-up messages.

Never allow remote access to your computer.

Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up.

Never divulge passwords or pin numbers.

Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.

If you believe you have already been a victim

Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed.

Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.

More information including the facility to report a suspected cybercrime is available at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk