Thursday, March 6 2014 4:53 PM EST2014-03-06 21:53:44 GMT
Steve and Annette Economides, otherwise known as America's Cheapest Family, gives people ways to save money in just about every aspect of life. The Economides said that on average a family of our spendsMore >>
Steve and Annette Economides, otherwise known as America's Cheapest Family, give people ways to save money in just about every aspect of life.More >>
Computer security firms are warning consumers about a Microsoft tech support scam that appears to be exploding nationwide.
They're calling it the biggest phone scam of 2013. The cold-calling scam first surfaced a couple of years ago, but people are now falling for it on a daily basis.
Jim Eyster says he had a lot of problems with his laptop, including lockups and blue screens, so he was relieved when he got a call from someone claiming to be with Microsoft.
"He said, ‘I'm from Microsoft, and we have noticed that you have had a lot of viruses,'" Eyster said.
The caller told Eyster that during a routine scan, Microsoft found his laptop filled with viruses.
"I was gullible," Eyster said. "[He said] he could show me where the viruses were, and so I let him take control of the mouse."
He says the caller directed him to a page on his computer that appeared to show it overrun with viruses, and told Eyster he could remove them for $100, paid with a credit card. That's when Eyster got suspicious.
Computer technician Tina Wolf says the errors the scammers show you are not viruses at all.
"They are calling about Windows errors," Wolf said. "Everybody has Windows errors, so immediately you are listening."
Wolf says one of her computer repair customers paid hundreds of dollars to remove the non-existent viruses.
"He spent an hour on the phone, and at the end of the hour, they told him they were going to charge him $300," she said.
Microsoft says these calls are a foreign scam to collect credit card numbers and install malware. Microsoft will never call a consumer unsolicited.
So if you get a call from Microsoft that you weren't expecting – hang up so you don't waste your money.