There’s a particular type of online scam that uses malware to lure you into contacting fake tech support. Scammers will pretend to be Microsoft support and claim there are problems with your PC, such as malware or licensing issues, system errors, or displaying fake blue screens. They then try to get you to pay for services or software to fix the problems. They may also try to get access to your PC by getting you to install remote management apps.
How it works and how it gets on a PC
The most prevalent scams are hosted on websites. For example, you’re browsing and you start seeing errors such as a pop-up message that you can’t dismiss, or your browser suddenly goes into a full-screen mode showing a blue screen, Windows activation page, supposed malware infection, or system error with a tech support number.
Use Microsoft Edge to keep these pop-up messages from displaying. Learn how.
How to know if you’re infected and what to do
You may have a support scam malware threat on your PC if:
- You can’t use your web browser properly, and you see a page informing you to contact a tech support number.
- You can’t use your PC normally, and you see a message that tells you to contact a tech support number.
When you receive a phone call or see a pop-up window on your PC and feel uncertain whether it is from someone at Microsoft, do not use those phone numbers. Instead, contact Microsoft support at the Microsoft Answer Desk. Microsoft does not send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information or fix your computer.
You can also contact your local government scam reporting department, such as:
- In the United States, use the FTC Complaint Assistant form.
- In Canada, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre can provide support.
- In the United Kingdom, you can report fraud as well as unsolicited calls.
- In Australia, you can use the ScamWatch website to report a scam.
If you’ve already engaged with the scam:
- Uninstall or turn off any remote management tools you may have installed or turned on.
- Use Windows Defender Antivirus or Windows Defender Offline to clean your PC and make sure Windows 10 is up to date.
- Apply all security updates as soon as they are available.
- Change your passwords.
- Call your credit card provider to try reversing the charges.
- Pay attention to any unusual activity on your PC.
- Consider restoring your PC to a previous state. Learn how.
If you're in an enterprise, see the Microsoft Malware Protection Center for in-depth information about tech support scams.