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Thursday, September 28, 2023

Fraud Alert: Microsoft Phone Scam to correct Virus / Computer Error

We received an interesting telephone call on a private line earlier today from a company called “ONLINE PC CARE” or something similar regarding recent errors on my computer that had been reported to Microsoft. Warning, this is a scam and you should not give them access to your computer or go to any websites.

The representative, who had an Indian accent, inquired if I had recently had popups on my Windows computer noting that an error had occurred and if I wanted to submit this information to Microsoft for Review. The representative went further to say they as an “official” partner of Microsoft that they had access to this information and were calling to assist in rectifying the errors.  I further asked “If their company represented Microsoft”, the answer was “No”, however an “official partner”. Upon inquiring to the cost, they informed me that if the “software” was under warranty there would not be any costs and would otherwise inform me of the expense once the diagnosis was completed.

I politely informed the gentleman that I was not completely comfortable with allowing a 3rd party access to my PC or conduct a scan. He then informed me that, any unauthorized access would be considered “Hacking” and a “Federal Offense”. How would me allowing RDC (Remote Desktop connection), or the 3rd party mal-ware considered “authorization”? Regardless, I was curious and played along….

Q: Do I recall seeing any errors on my screen?
A: Not that I recall? But let’s be honest, it is Windows – of course there are errors. However, in MS’ defence Windows 7 is pretty stable.

Q: Was I aware that malicious software had been installed on my computer and was sending information over the Internet?
A: I was shocked, my computer infected? What can we do?

Q: Am I sitting in front of my computer now?
A: Yes, what would you like me to look at?

Q: Do you see the green “Start” icon in the bottom left?
A: I should have said yes, obviously they were looking for Windows XP based computers. Both Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a rounded Windows icon in the bottom right.

Q: CLICK – they hung up.
A: They could have been disconnected, but unlikely.

The moral of the story – THIS IS A FRAUD and a SCAM. Do not provide anyone calling anonymously about computer issues or repairs, provide a credit card, passwords, or personal information to phone solicitations, and more importantly do not install any software unless you know the source and legitimately.

For more information on this scam please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or read their Mass Market Fraud Trend Bulletin: Anti Virus Scams

May 2012

Microsoft responds to the ongoing concern with the article “Help Protect Your Friends And Family From Phone Scams” with the following infographic.  Click on the picture to see the full document.


October 2015

These calls seem to come to every few options — always with a bit of a twist however with the same goal.  The newest spin and a smart one to help provide some legitimacy was to read off a number associated with a CLSID which they described as a “Client License Server ID” and have us look at a textual list of indicators by going to to the windows command prompt and typing “ASSOC”.  At the bottom of the very overwhelming list of information that flashes on the screen was the “unique identifier and proved he was from Microsoft and that I was “causing big problems” on the Internet.

zfsendtotarget=CLSID{ 888DCA60-FC0A-11CF-8F0F-00C04FD7D062}

Similar to the previous EVENT Viewer scams (have you type: eventvwr at CMD (Command) prompt, this CLSID is actually on nearly all computers and is not unique to your computer.  In fact, if you right-click on any file you can find the reference to the for the “sendtotarget” for the Send To – > Compressed Zip Folder.

Send To Zip Folder


  1. It is interesting, I wrote this article almost a ear ago. Yesterday, MIcrosoft finally respoded with a imilar blog post in their weekly emails from Microsoft Canada. The article was as follows:

    Help Protect Yourself From Phone Scams

    I’m Chris Di Lullo, Technical Audience Manager at Microsoft Canada and I work on a team that is tasked with trying to help you with resources and training to make your IT filled lives a little easier, especially when it comes to Microsoft-based solutions.

    We all need to be wary online. It’s something we teach our kids and it’s something we practice ourselves. While it helps to be vigilant and careful, there are times when a scam sounds real and it fools a lot of innocent people. Another one of those types of scams is making the rounds.

    The caller claims to be from Microsoft or some other well-known company and offers to fix a problem with your computer. It’s a scam, the caller asks to you install something on your computer, or to give them access, resulting in the theft of personal information and the installation of malware (among other things).

    So what can you do to avoid the scam?
    1 – Be suspicious — it’s unlikely a big company like Microsoft is going to call you help fix a potential computer problem.
    2 – Don’t install software or go to a website that a stranger tells you to — would you do something similar if someone stopped you on the street?
    3 – Never give out personal information, especially banking details — whether it’s Microsoft or a financial institution, shouldn’t they already have your information and you should ask yourself, why would they even need it in the first place?
    4 – Use anti-malware software (like Microsoft Security Essentials) and keep it and your other software up to date.

    In addition to these tips, I’ve put together a short blog post and included a very informative and helpful infographic of how to not only avoid the scam, but help others do the same. The infographic includes some other handy information to help protect yourself, your friends and your family members from cybercrime.

    You can read the blog post here. http://click.email.microsoftemail.com/?qs=c68ee87ea15e0b33b0e8bb31166920e0aa32bc02b207b9922ed70ecf09da3d456bc75184a78e236f

  2. Funny, I received the same call. I played along until the guy hung up. I played so dumb the guy got pissed at me when I asked him where the start button was! BWAHAHAHA!

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Mark Hanlon


Mark is an avid photographer, Starbucks addict, motivated cyclist, struggling runner, and rocking single parent living outside of Toronto, Ontario. Living with two chronic ilnesses, Crohn’s Disease and Diabetes, life for this Transportation Planner and Registered Professional Planner (RPP) can be an interesting mix.

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