It’s an age-old trick but still effective: scammers posing as Microsoft tech support staff. In 2016, these cyber criminals duped at least 102 victims in the Netherlands.
As many as 1403 reports about Microsoft phone scams came in to Fraud Help Desk last year. Most of these people didn’t lose any money, but 102 of them did. Collectively, they lost nearly € 204,000. One of these victims was duped out of a staggering € 47,000.
The high losses are partly due to the fact that these scammers constantly change their tactics. Whereas previously, they persuaded people to pay a certain amount, the scammers now siphon off money themselves. They first make sure that they can take over their victim’s computer remotely. And every time that victim logs on to their online banking account, the Microsoft phone scammer transfers money from their savings account to a private account.
The call centres, which are often based in India, combine telephone calls with alerts which pop up on computer screens. These alerts inform that user that all kinds of malicious software have penetrated their system. The scammers behind this pop-up are hoping that people will call the number given in the message. If they do, they will get a con artist on the line instead of a genuine Microsoft tech support staff member.
It is difficult to estimate the exact total losses in the Netherlands incurred by this type of scam. The figures given above are based on cases reported to Fraud Help Desk. Not all cases are reported to us.