Johannesburg - Phone scammers pretending to be Microsoft officials are persistent and willing to go to great lengths to swindle people of their hard earned money, say Fin24 users.
On Wednesday, Microsoft South Africa warned that scammers are using public phone directories as information gathering sources on consumers “in an effort to convince clients that they can be trusted”.
The scammers then gain remote access to victims’ computers by claiming to be specialists from Microsoft.
If successful, the scammers install software on victims’ computers that can spy on activities such as internet banking.
“In reality, the scammer only tricked unsuspecting consumers into believing that there is a problem and that paying a fee would be the best way to sort the issues out,” said Ashleigh Fenwick, Microsoft South Africa’s public relations and communications manager.
“Often they will also push clients to purchase a one year computer maintenance subscription,” said Fenwick.
Subsequently, Fin24 users have responded to the story by telling of their own experiences with these scam artists.
“I have had a number of these calls over the last year but they are so obviously fake I don’t see how anybody can be fooled,” wrote Fin24 user Chris Morgan in an email.
“They are quite persistent and I sometimes manage to keep them on the line for over 20 minutes while pretending to go to a nonexistent upstairs computer room and wait for a very slow computer to start and act very ignorant and slow to follow their instructions,” said Morgan.
Morgan also said that the scam artists sound like they are based in India.
Fin24 user Maureen Soule has also had telephone encounters with the scammers.
“Trying to scam me several times with no success!! Just had another phone call and let her know that the scam was all over the news and everyone is aware of it!!”
Fin24 user Gavin Venter wrote: “Get weekly phone calls on the home number.”
Fin24 user Frank Rita wrote in the comment section on the story:
“I have had many calls like this for about two years or more, usually a foreign voice. Just told them I have no problems and goodbye.”