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Is this a scam?

Is this a scam?

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I received a call at home this morning at 8am from a lady called 'Sara Stone'  calling from Microsoft. Apparently my PC has been hacked and wanted to help me fix. She said she was calling from Leicester and when I asked she gave me their number 08081893370.

They have my number because it is linked to my internet connection.

She is to call  me back on Saturday morning. I have just rung the number and it is being answered very poorly.

Would appreciate comments.

Replies (27)

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Tom McClelland
By TomMcClelland
26th Feb 2015 09:20

Common scam
This is a very common scam.

Microsoft or any other responsible company will never call you with such a message. Put the phone down on them straight away or tease them by stringing them along for as long as possible without actually following any of their instructions if you want to annoy the scammers.

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By Cathy R
26th Feb 2015 09:22

When I logged onto my internet banking this morning there was a warning message about situations that sound just like this!  I only read it briefly but the gist is that they can access your bank details if you allow them to access your pc!

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By johngroganjga
26th Feb 2015 09:26

Yes I have had these calls.  They are perhaps not a scam.  I think they are a dishonest way of trying to sell anti-virus / firewall software etc. I find that if, when they tell me that their records show that a computer at my address has been hacked / infected by viruses etc, I ask them to tell me the IP number of the device in question so that I can check it out, the line goes dead. 

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By Rachael White
26th Feb 2015 09:28

Even in Ireland

Recently my friends back home in Ireland have been talking about this on Facebook.

Yes it is a scam. And it should be reported as per this advice from Which.

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By Xcast
26th Feb 2015 09:57

I tell them.....

"You have dialled a premium rate number and will be charged £1.00 per minute for the call"

They soon hang up!


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By andrew.hyde
26th Feb 2015 10:09

Google it

I find that a useful check on any suspect number is to google it (other search engines are available).  If it's a scammer there will usually be a stack of references on the web, This one is no exception.

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By Flash Gordon
26th Feb 2015 10:14

Ask yourself, are Microsoft really going to give a toss about you, an insignificant being as far as they're concerned unless you happen to have spent a fortune with them? The answer is no. So it's a safe bet that they're not going to be ringing you anytime soon.

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By Paul D Utherone
26th Feb 2015 10:28

Yes of course it's a scam

Microsoft do not make such calls.

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26th Feb 2015 10:39

Something similar came up a while ago

As per Tom's suggestion above, the solution was to let the caller talk you through the various steps required to repair the damage (involving several reboots etc etc - tell them it keeps crashing). All the time simply bashing away at the keyboard with the PC switched off. After 20 minutes tell the caller that the Windows logo on startup has now changed to the Apple logo. When they accuse you of wasting their time, "Well, you started it ..."

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By NHGlos
26th Feb 2015 10:40

Don't do it!

A colleagues parents had a similar call, being of an older generation they thought it was genuine. I don't know exactly what happened, but the caller did access the computer which lead to cancelling bank accounts, credit cards, email passwords - you get the picture (even the police ere involved)!

As "TomMcClelland" says, I don't think Microsoft would make direct contact like this.

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By Paul D Utherone
26th Feb 2015 11:09


Playing with the scammers is always fun :) Best managed to date was 25 minutes while I told him my machine kept rebooting and playing the old fax/modem sound at regular intervals, followed by another 10 minutes when he rang me back a bit later because he got bored waiting for my machine to start the first time. Then again the one that rang on 28 Jan got fairly short shrift

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By memyself-eye
26th Feb 2015 11:13

Buy a personal attack alarm

only a few quid - place it next to the phone, then activate it close to the phone's mouthpiece whenever you get one of these calls.

I use this, my mother wasn't impressed when she called me recently....

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By Martin B
26th Feb 2015 12:08

Thank you all for your comments

I did actually tell the lady, that this was a scam and she should be ashamed about what she was doing. She non the less persisted which I was expecting.  Will see if she calls back on Saturday.

We all need warn others ( children etc) in our households about these and potential other fraudulent calls.

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Locutus of Borg
By Locutus
26th Feb 2015 14:37

My mum had one of these a few years back

She allowed the Indian caller "from Microsoft" to take remote access to her laptop and did various things to it.  Luckily mum got suspicious when he asked for her credit card number to pay for anti-virus software.

I wiped the computer, re-installed the operating system / programs and changed all passwords.

Mum continued to get calls for a while, but now she would just string them along "with the I'm an old person who doesn't understand computers" routine and never, ever gives them remote access.

I think she might have even beaten Paul's record of 25 minutes.

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By TaxTeddy
26th Feb 2015 15:00

I LOVE these calls

Really brighten up my day - a nice break from the grind. My record is 18 minutes and two levels of superviser before they twigged that I have a Mac.

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By SecretariuS
27th Feb 2015 11:51

Computer scams


It always makes me laugh when the asian sounding voice says his name is Henry or George and some other anglo saxon name. One day I shall tell them my name is Ashid or similar.  If I have the time I will string them along, playing the dull pensioner (well I am a pensioner) before telling them I am using an Apple Mac.or that I don't have a computer. Alternatively I tell them they are crooks and not from Microsoft which the vehemently deny and ask then tell me they will block my computer.  I tell them to go ahead, but of course, they don't simply because they have no idea of my IP address anyway.  I just feel sorry for those who for some reason or other fall for their lies and wonder just what is being dome to stop these criminals.



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27th Feb 2015 12:28

agree with ....

Tax Teddy.  Yes thanks guys for taking the time here.  Sad as it is always for those innocent enough to believe all people are honest.  Can you believe I even got a call on my landline in France.  How he knew I was English speaking goodness only knows.  Likewise I like to string them along although I tend to get bored after about 5 minutes. It is at this time I ask them which office they are working out of.  I ask out of interest being (not) a senior Microsoft Account Manager in the UK.  Needless to say the line then goes dead.

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By biobob
27th Feb 2015 12:32

Microsoft are hard enough to get help from let alone free
As a Microsoft partner, I struggle to get help from Microsoft when their software goes wrong and it normally costs, so they will never, ever phone you and offer to fix anything for free!

Tell them you don't have a computer and put the phone down!

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By Laurence52
27th Feb 2015 12:52

Microsoft support calls

Phone calls from so called Microsoft support places are scams. They try to convince you that there's a problem with your computer and often try to get you to go on to something like Logmein so that they can get remote access to your computer. They will try to get you to buy software from them to clear up the problem that they say your computer has. If you go ahead, not only will you be out of pocket but your computer is much more likely to have a problem than it did before.


One of the standard ways they use to get you convinced that there's a problem is for you to look at various reports in Windows Events Viewer. Those reports will include events which have yelloe or ed flags by them. They say that's proof there's a problem. That's rubbish. All Windows computers will have similar flagged reports.

They may get you to look at which applications are shown as stopped on your computer. The fact that an application isn't running means nothing though they will argue otherwise.


One of the crafty tricks they use to try and prove that they really do have a report on your computer is to get you to open the MS DOS command box (excluding Windows 8 computers), and ask you to type ASSOC when on the C drive. This produces a long list of text and ralmost at the very end is what they say is your serial number. They will read it out to you as their proof..

Try it and you will get this number:888DCA60--FC0A-11CF-8F0F-00C04FD7D062. Looks like a serial number, but it's the same on all Windows computers (pre Windows 8).



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By sharonm1
27th Feb 2015 14:45

Similar scam

I recently had a version of this where the caller tried to tell me that my teenage son had paid around £200 to them for some kind of virus protection and now they've been told that they shouldn't have charged it they want to repay him! I tried repeatedly to tell him that my son can't have done this because he had no means of paying and even resorted to shouting into the phone that my son is a minor. I hung up when the caller asked me what my son's job had to do with it!

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By sosleepy
27th Feb 2015 14:55


At least they had the sense to say the were from Microsoft. I had one who was apparently calling 'from the World Wide Web'.

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27th Feb 2015 15:15

Ha ha

I had one try the "serial number" trick, Laurence. The caller refused to believe me (understandably) when I told him that the number was different to the one that he had. He must have had me 're-try' it several times, each time giving him a completely random set of digits. He actually tried to convince me that this was symptomatic of a serious problem.

Such fun.

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By adagen
27th Feb 2015 15:24

If a number shows up on caller ID (or when you dial 1471 afterwards) report it. Basically there's a large scale crooked industry in this and other countries, where they autodial or phone targeted numbers and try various scams - you have a virus, you have a PPI claim etc etc

There is at last a degree of awareness that this is going on, but if people don't bother reporting, it will drop off the political agenda. Places to report:

 - Action Fraud if you can confirm that the script the caller uses contains lies - which it normally does

 - the Information Commissioner if they have your name or any other personal details

 - the Ministry of Justice if they claim to be regulated by them

 - Financial Conduct Authority if the caller is regulated and lying to you, or if they are unregulated and selling a regulated product

 - TPS if your number is registered with them

Don't expect any action beyond a bland confirmation, but by reporting you increase the probability that telecomms companies will be forced to take action to block these calls using technology already available, rather than sitting back and taking revenue from nuisance calls.

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By gb4242
27th Feb 2015 16:12

Valid Business

I got trading standards to trace one of these and they could not do anything because the perps said that they were a valid business selling anti-virus software and that I must have misunderstood their sales talk. 

I then found an email bomb on the internet and bombarded their server with 5 million emails saying what a bunch of thieves  they were. I probably stopped their 'sales' for a good few hours!! Best to send them through a proxy server then you cannot be traced. If you change your proxy server during bombard they then have more difficulty blocking you.

But hold on a minute, they are "Microsoft help desk" and should have no problems stopping your attack!


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By Steven Baptiste
27th Feb 2015 16:22


We had one like that at the office. Kept the game going a while with "uh huh", "done", "okay". 5 minutes later one of my colleagues suddenly shouted "My computer has just caught on fire!".

Needless to say, the scammers put the phone down after that.

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By ver1tate
27th Feb 2015 18:17


I have just received the annual letter from UK-DATA CONTROL requiring  me to fill in my VAT  and return it to them in order that my details may be published in the UK-DATA CONTROL portal for a mere 790 GBP per year. This posting to last for and be charged for the next three years. Payment must be made in advance. There are numerous other clauses, but I wonder why UK- data control is run from Germany and all transactions are subject to German law.

I think I will pass on this one.

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By chrisowen
27th Feb 2015 19:28

Quick Solution

We just say we have no computers, and they put the phone down immediatly !

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