Windows Expiry Phone Scam: Just Hang Up
We’ve written about phone scams in a previous blog, but we wanted to alert you of a call making its rounds now. The other day at the office we received an automated phone call that said, “Your Windows license is about to expire.” Ironic, isn’t it, that a computer services shop is receiving external notices about technical issues? Which of our many computers with Windows licenses were they referring to? None, of course. There were so many signs that this wasn’t a legitimate call. Let’s take a look at the obvious problems with the Windows expiry phone scam.
Picking Apart the Windows Expiry Phone Scam
- The caller ID read “800 Service.” That alone should immediately put you on your guard.
- The quality of the automated call was very poor. It was evident throughout the recording that it was computer-generated, with mispronunciation of words and odd inclusions of words and phrases like “dot” that weren’t supposed to be read.
- Grammar was also poor, indicating that this scam probably originated out of the country. One line said, “some foreign people are having access to your computer.”
- Speaking of people having access to your computer, what does that have to do with the Windows license expiring, which was the original purpose of the call?
Windows Licenses Don’t Expire
As for a Windows license expiring, that’s not something that happens. The Windows operating system on your computer is not a subscription that expires. Whether you’re running Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8.1, or 10, your software license does not expire. It comes with the computer (or is separately purchased) and is something that you own and can use as long as it’s not flagged as invalid due to use on multiple computers. Though Microsoft retired Windows XP and they’ll drop Windows Vista from extended support in April, your Windows license remains valid even if it’s inadvisable to use an out-of-support operating system.
Your System Is (NOT) 72.6% Infected
At one point in the automated call, the voice said to pull up the command prompt and type something in. The command line would supposedly show you how many people had access to your computer and how infected the network was. Apparently, the computer they were calling us about was 72.6% infected. How do you calculate that? Obviously, this is all made up. Whatever appears in the command line are normal computer processes. The scammers try to scare the average user into believing these ridiculous claims by showing them screens they doesn’t understand. Don’t allow yourself to be intimidated.
Just Hang Up
In conclusion, any time someone calls you, live or automated, with a message that your computer is infected, hacked, about to expire, or otherwise compromised, just hang up. Don’t follow any of their instructions to type into a command prompt, go to a website, or call a number. Never allow someone you don’t know or trust to remotely control your computer. Let’s allow this Windows expiry phone scam to expire and keep our computers secure.