Computing fraud from criminals imitating Microsoft and other tech companies is a problem for users of technology, especially those who don’t know any better.
In the UK, 56-year-old Narendra Vadgama was just tried and convicted for four unfair trading offences, which he used to coerce and defraud victims for as much as £499.99.
He was handed a sentence in prison for 12 months (suspended for 18 months with a reduction to 9 months because he pled guilty), among other penalties.
The user would impersonate tech companies like Microsoft or the UK Wireless Broadband Firm TalkTalk, and tell hapless victims that their computers or routers had been compromised. He would offer to fix it, and upon gaining remote access to their computers, he would then hold the devices hostage until users could pay his ransom fees, often threatening to wipe the computers or similar.
“Unfortunately, the names of reputable companies such as Microsoft are often used fraudulently to lull victims into a false sense of security.” Hugh Milward, Head of Corporate, Legal and External Affairs at Microsoft UK, said, continuing “We’d like to reassure all users of our software that Microsoft will never cold call you out of the blue to offer tech support or send you unsolicited tech support pop-ups.”
Microsoft warns that they do not ever make unsolicited technical support calls to users (you would have to manually request them for the support sites, nor do many other reputable companies.
If you receive one, this is often the telltale sign of a fraudster. If in doubt, hang up and contact the company through the proper channels.