Very early this morning, I was using a new to me, used Dell laptop computer that I just bought yesterday, when I got a **Microsoft Warning Alert** pop up screen that took control of my computer. It looked like this:
Windows Warning Alert
Malicious Spyware/Riskware Detected
Please call us immediately at: +1-888-371-0333
Do not ignore this critical alert.
If you close this page, your computer access will be disabled to prevent further damage to our network. Your computer has alerted us that it has been infected with a Spyware and risk ware. The following information is being stolen…
> Financial Data
> Facebook Logins
> Credit Card Details
> Email Account Logins
> Photos stored on this computer
You must contact us immediately so that our technical support can walk you through the removal process over the phone to protect your identity. Please call us within the next 5 minutes to prevent your computer from being disabled or from any information loss.
Toll Free: +1-888-371-0333
Because this was a new to me, used computer, I was suspicious and angry about this alert, I had never gotten one of these alerts before. I was willing to call this technical support telephone number, which in my case was 844-313-9359, to see if this was a scam or not.
When I dialed this number, the person who answered was from India, and he said that he was Microsoft Support. He wanted to know what the error message was. He told me to hold down the Microsoft icon key on the keyboard, and type the letter “R”, which brought up a dialog box. In this dialog box, he instructed me to type in “iexplore support123.ga”, which I did.
I was suspicious about this process. When the computer screen showed that I was accessing the ConnectWise site, I stopped this process and I told the guy that I didn’t believe that he worked for Microsoft, and I hung up the telephone. Microsoft does not need to use other parties’ websites or software to perform diagnostics.
Performing a Google search for “scam 844-313-9359”, I found one, and only one internet article explaining what this scam was.
The ConnectWise company, is a provider of software that allows other people to remotely access and control your computer, which is something that you should never allow without knowing and understanding who you are dealing with and what this means.
I telephoned the ConnectWise company in Tampa, and I explained to them about the pop up screen/virus “Microsoft Warning Alert” that was fraudulent and not from Microsoft, the fraudulent Microsoft Tech Support number 844-313-9359, the person who answered the phone fraudulently stating that he was Microsoft Support, and then being directed to enter in “www.support123.ga”, which brings up the ConnectWise site.
The security person that I spoke to at ConnectWise confirmed that once you download the ConnectWise software, the scammer would be able to remotely access and monitor your computer to collect bank account and credit card account usernames and passwords in order to log in to these accounts and transfer money.
Once you download the ConnectWise software, the only indication that your computer is being remotely monitored, is a small mirror icon at the bottom of the screen, which I probably would not have paid any attention to, and most people would not have paid any attention to.
I telephoned Microsoft, and I spoke to a technical support person from India, and I explained what had happened. She said that yes this was a fraud/scam/virus, did I need any help with removal? I said no, I just wanted to give Microsoft all of the information so that they could try to stop this. Microsoft collected the information that I gave them.
What I am angry about, is Microsoft is so domineering in accessing your computer, searching your computer, downloading updates, turning off and restarting your computer, and constantly posting screen messages, that it did not seem too abnormal to receive a “Microsoft Warning Alert” pop up screen. Then, there are scammers that have 1-800 numbers, who answer the phone and claim to be Microsoft Support.
How does Microsoft allow this to happen? How does the company ConnectWise allow scammers to use their software to steal people’s bank account and credit card account information?
Especially if you are an older adult, and you recall telephoning Microsoft Support after receiving a Microsoft Warning Alert, and you went through any process with Microsoft Support, you need to make sure that you were not led into downloading ConnectWise or any similar software onto your computer. This software is not a virus, so it will not be detected by anti-virus security programs. It does allow other people to remotely monitor everything that you do on your computer, so you need to get this removed.