You may have seen the articles recently about the worldwide crackdown the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced.  The FTC has filed federal cases against 6 phony tech support scams in which callers claimed to be from reputable companies such as Microsoft or a legitimate computer security company.

The scammer says that the consumer’s computer is infected with a harmful type of software and that the caller, and his company, can fix it right then during the call for a price.  All the consumer has to do, of course, is give over his credit card information — thus handing over just the financial information that the scammers can use repeatedly for their own gain.

While the FTC’s cases should halt the named defendants, it doesn’t mean that other scammers won’t pick up on this same, or a variation on this, scam.  While Microsoft and other companies might send emails to their customers, don’t believe it if you get a call from someone claiming to be from that (or another) company saying they’ve detected malicious software on your computer.

As Edward Wyatt described in his October 4th New York Times article (“F.T.C. Crackdown Aims At Tech Support Fraud”), don’t trust this type of call.  If you’re concerned, check the website of a reputable computer security firm, or similar site, to see if the type of computer threat described in the scammer’s call really is happening.