I have been reporting to you about tech support scams for years, however as with many scams, this one is evolving into new forms although the ultimate goal is still the same. At its essence the scam involves being contacted purportedly by Microsoft, Apple or in its most recent incarnation by your Internet Service Provider and being informed that problems have been detected on your computer that need to be remedied immediately. They then either ask for remote access so that they can fix the problem at no cost to you or they ask for personal information. In both situations the caller is up to no good. If you provide remote access to your computer you will have effectively turned over all of the information in your computer to the caller who can and will then use that information to make you a victim of identity theft or install ransomware on your computer and extort a payment from you in order to unlock your computer. If you provide personal information by phone or in an email or text message, that information too will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.
The latest version of this scam, which was identified by security software company Malwarebytes, starts with a customized email message sent to you that appears to come from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) informing you of a problem diagnosed on your computer that requires immediate attention. The message contains a toll free number for you to call to deal with the problem. Among the phony ISP notices are phony notices from Verizon, AT&T, Comcast Xfinity, and Cox Communications. All of them send you to a scammer in India. Unfortunately, the phony emails look quite legitimate as is shown in the messages reproduced below:
Neither Microsoft, Apple nor your Internet Service Provider will contact you by phone in regard to diagnosing software problems. Neither will they contact you by way of emailed messages as shown above. If someone contacts you by phone unsolicited by you indicating that they are from Microsoft tech support and they are calling to help you with a problem that you did not contact them about, you should immediately hang up. You are talking to a scammer. It should be noted, however, that Microsoft does regularly issue software security updates, but they do this in automated updates if you have provided for this service or on their website. If you receive an email similar to the ones shown above and you have any concern that it might be legitimate, you should contact the company directly and not by way of a telephone number or email address provided in such message. You will then be able to confirm that the original notice to you was a scam.