Criminals posing as Microsoft support workers are calling people and claiming that their IP address has been compromised.
The callers claim that your computer has been hacked or is damaging other computers on the network. They’ll warn that if you don’t address the problem, they may cut off your service. They may even claim that you will be charged with an offence and fined unless the issue is fixed straight away.
The calls are a variation of the long-running tech support scam. They are certainly not from Microsoft, and the compromised IP address claim is just a ruse to trick you into taking their claims seriously and complying with their instructions.
The callers can be quite threatening and will demand that you take action immediately. If you fall for the ruse, they will offer to help you solve the supposed problem by remotely taking control of your computer.
They will likely claim that you must give them your credit card numbers to pay a tech support fee before they can help you.
They will instruct you to download and install a remote support application to give them direct access to your computer.
Once they have gained control, they will pretend to fix the problem. They will also install malware on your computer and steal sensitive information such as passwords and identifying documents.
Microsoft will never call you about a service issue such as a connection compromise. Do not believe any caller that claims to be from Microsoft and demands that you immediately fix a supposed problem with your computer.
In some versions, the scammers may ask you to buy store gift cards such as iTunes cards and then call back with the card numbers. Gift cards are harder to trace than other forms of payment, such as credit cards.
Sometimes the callers may claim to be from your Internet service provider or an antivirus software company such as Symantec or McAfee. No antivirus company will ever call you to say that there is a problem with your computer.
Your ISP may call you about an account issue. Still, they will not demand that you pay an immediate fee or give their staff member direct access to your computer to rectify a supposed computer or connection issue.
If you receive a call that makes such demands, hang up.
If you are concerned that the call might have been genuine, contact the company after you have hung up. Don’t use any phone numbers given to you by the caller. Instead, find a phone number for the company via a directory or previous bill. If the call was genuine, then the staff member you contact should have a record of the problem and assist you.
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!