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.