Scammers are the top of the list when it comes to cybercrimes. Since scammers change their contact regularly and they maximize their profit by exploiting small scale funds from people, they easily get away with this crime because most people don’t make a follow up for losing just a few dollars. But there is another group of scammers that intend on collecting data. These include credit card information and location information among others. The collected information is then sold to the highest bidder, or used to max out your credit card.

Scammers might also be interested in gaining access to your computer for several reasons. Industrial espionage, sabotage and planting ransom viruses are among the list. This kind of scammers might call you and pretend to be Microsoft support representatives. They might as well ask for your IP address and access to your computer, which gives them control over your PC. Usually, they claim to have noted an issue in your computer or your computer has been sending error messages to their servers. Since your computer is likely to be working normally, they will direct you to the Windows event log viewer which is usually filled with errors; the errors you see will strike the panic in you. They might also claim that you signed up for a Windows improvement programme, and they need access to your computer to pull some data. Others claim that they will give you phony refunds in exchange for your bank information.

So how can you tell that you are actually talking to a Microsoft support representative? Here ways that you can identify a Microsoft representative over the email or on a phone call.

Microsoft will never make unsolicited phone calls

Microsoft will not make unsolicited phone calls about computer security or software fixes. If you receive a call like this one, it’s a scam, and all you need to do is hang up. Microsoft has millions of user on different platforms and software. There is no way they are likely to pin point and call everyone about the issue they are experiencing. What they do is to wait for you to call or contact them and tell them your problem.

Cybercriminals often use publicly available phone directories, so they might know your name and other personal information when they call you. They might even guess what operating system you’re using. Just remember that Microsoft does not call you out of the blues and try to fix a non-existent problem. They also don’t offer any monetary awards or refunds for participating in their software programmes.

All Microsoft emails are from @microsoft.com

If you receive an email from an email account that does not belong to the Microsoft server, then it is likely to be a scam. All Microsoft representative emails end with the suffix @microsoft.com. Unless you agree with the support representative on an alternative email, do not respond to emails that are not from #identity#@microsft.com. If they decide to call you, they will first have to ask for your contact number.

If you have already given access to your computer to someone who claimed to be from Microsoft, immediately change your computers password, download the Microsoft Safety Scanner from here, and then make sure you have antivirus software installed. If you gave someone your credit card information to pay for services, contact your credit card company and alert them to this fraudulent purchase.

If you need any sort of help from Microsoft, you can get the contacts or fill in a complaint from their support page here.