‘Microsoft’ scam almost works on senior

Power outage at critical moment saved Langley senior from giving credit card number to scammer.

Langley senior Sam Kenny is not easily duped. But a woman claiming to be from Microsoft security almost scammed him out of $100 and his credit card number after allegedly fixing a problem he was having with his PC.

When a woman called saying she was from Microsoft and was going to fix his “error” message problems on his computer, it seemed legitimate.

Kenny was having problems with error messages on his PC and the “Microsoft” employee also confirmed the serial number for his personal computer.

She asked him to perform a few keystrokes to unearth this serial number and, voila, there it was in his computer.

“That seemed like it was the real deal,” Kenny said.

Kenny told her he was still skeptical and she agreed, telling him that there are a lot of scammers out there and you can never be too careful. She had a Eastern European accent and it sounded like she was calling from a call centre somewhere. The phone number on call display showed “unknown.”

Following a few more instructions, it seemed like she was cleaning up the problems on his computer.

A message on his email arrived showing him a bill for $119. The Langley senior told the woman to hold on, and he would go get his Visa. card

“Mercifully, the line went dead,” he said. At that very moment, his smart meter was being installed and that may have contributed to the line going dead.

In the meantime, Kenny’s wife checked out Mercaway, the Paypal-type billing system, on Google. This was the one the caller wanted them to use. There were several warning about the scam, enough to inform the Kennys not to proceed any further.

Kenny unplugged his computer, but that didn’t stop the scammer from phoning his home at least another 10 times and emailing him, asking him to pick up his phone or answer her email.

“I felt like I was being stalked electronically, in my own home,” he said.

Aldergrove Source manager Craig Anderson, who checked over Kenny’s computer for malware, said this Microsoft scam has been making the rounds among many of his customers. He said a couple of customers did give out their credit card numbers, and their credit cards were used.

“I’ve been called myself,” said Anderson.

“They target people who don’t know a lot about computers and they claim to be Windows security or Microsoft security. They tell the person to go to their event viewer and it shows all these errors,” he explained.

But those errors can be found on a brand new computer and aren’t viruses.

“This is how they convince people,” he said.