Protect your identity online – A letter from Microsoft

I get these emails because I’m subscribed to things like this.  It does have good information in it. The email was titled “Help Protect Yourself From Phone Scams”, but the same goes for your online experience.

He mentions that if someone walked up to you on the street and asked for personal information (this includes credit card information), you wouldn’t give it to them.  Yet I’ve caught even family members considering paying for the “protection” that a piece of software – that they didn’t choose to install on their computers – put its virtual hand out and “asked” for.

80 years or so ago, we called it what it was.  Protection Money. Extortion.

Please don’t pay anyone who installs something on your computer that you didn’t ask for.  And definitely do NOT pay them, in hopes that they will go away.  Once you give in once, you’re marked.  Not only will your credit card information be stolen, but the software will still be there, and they know that they can get you again and will try again and again.

If your PC is infected with something, and you can’t remove it yourself, please contact a computer professional who can clean your computer, and ensure that you personal information is safe.  The person you choose should also take the time to show you safer internet habits, and how to make sure that your personal information stays safe in the future. Computer security starts and ends with you, the user.

One last point, before you see the letter from Microsoft, please keep in mind, they’re “selling” their products, so if you’re running AVG, Avast, Norton, McAfee, etc, you’re just as protected as with their Security Essentials suite.  They’re all roughly the same these days.

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?

  • Be suspicious — it’s unlikely a big company like Microsoft is going to call you help fix a potential computer problem.
  • 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?
  • 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?
  • 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.

Please let me know how we are doing! If you ever want to give my colleagues or me some direct feedback, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn or catch me online on Twitter.

If you’re looking for additional help and support for home or work, visit Microsoft’s Help and Support Portal. You can solve common problems, ask the community or contact Microsoft directly.

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