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5 safety tips for online dating
If you’re going to be connecting online this Valentine’s Day (or ever), follow these safety and privacy tips. Avoid catfishing . This is a type of social engineering designed to entice you into a relationship in order to steal your personal information, your money, or both. Always remember...
13 Feb 2014
Microsoft won’t ask for your credit card to unblock your email account
Tom asks: I’m getting messages from Microsoft about my email account. The messages say that my account is blocked and I can only unblock it with a credit card number. Is this legit? No, these messages sound like a phishing scam , a type of identity theft designed to steal your personal information...
1 Aug 2013
Have authorities detected illegal activities on my computer?
John writes: I got an email saying that illegal materials were found on my computer and it would be locked until I paid a fine. Is this a scam? Yes, this sounds like a common blackmail scam called ransomware. Ransomware is an email, website or pop-up window that displays warnings about possible...
16 Jul 2013
Catfishing: Are you falling for it?
The news is filled with stories about people, famous and otherwise, getting caught in online dating scams. The phenomenon is so common that it now has a name: Catfishing. The term catfishing comes from the 2010 movie Catfish about a man who was lured into a relationship by a scammer who was using a fake...
20 Jun 2013
Fraud alert: Free "Xbox points"
Although Microsoft was founded 38 years ago this month, don't fall for a widespread scam that offers free “Xbox points” for wishing the company a happy birthday. Online offers that seem too good to be true probably are. Learn more about common scams that use the Microsoft name . One way...
25 Apr 2013
Online scams are no April Fool’s Joke
On April Fools' Day you might have fun being the recipient or the instigator of a harmless prank or two, but it's good for you to know about online pranks we’ve seen that are far from harmless. Phone scams. Cybercriminals don’t just email you or post on your social networking site anymore...
1 Apr 2013
“Cyber Crime Department” scam
We’ve received increased reports of a new phishing scam email message that uses the name and official logo of the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (DCU). The wording varies, but it looks like a security measure and says you need to validate your account by confirming your user name and password or...
21 Mar 2013
Filing taxes? Beware of scams
It’s tax season in the United States, which means it’s time for us to remind you about tax scams—especially email messages that appear to come from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or another legitimate organization. These seemingly valid offers are designed to trick you into turning...
26 Feb 2013
Clean up malware resulting from the Bamital botnet
On February 6, Microsoft announced that its Digital Crimes Unit had worked with Symantec to successfully deactivate a major botnet called Bamital . Below is an overview of Bamital and how you can remove it from your computer. Botnets are networks of compromised computers, controlled remotely by criminals...
8 Feb 2013
Watch out for fake Java updates
You may have seen reports about security alerts for Java recently. Java is a commonly used piece of software from Oracle, so there’s a good chance you have it installed on your computer. Cybercriminals often use fake virus alerts to lure you into buying fraudulent antivirus software. These alerts...
28 Jan 2013
Watch out for prize scams
We’ve seen an increase in scam email messages that promise recipients they have won some kind of prize or a lottery. These unsolicited messages will often claim that the prize is sponsored by Microsoft or another well-known company. They request personal information that cybercriminals can use...
16 Jan 2013
What to do if you think you’ve fallen for a phone scam
In recent years, many of our customers have reported phony tech support phone calls from people who claim to be from Microsoft. These callers are cybercriminals who want to: Trick you into downloading malware . Take control of your computer remotely and adjust its settings to expose it to security...
11 Jan 2013
Top 10 security stories of 2012
From the latest scams and fraud to how, when, and why to update your computer, here are the stories that you viewed and clicked on the most this year. Download security update for Internet Explorer . In September, Microsoft released a security update for Internet Explorer. To help protect your computer...
27 Dec 2012
Take care with ransomware
Have you ever received an email or seen a warning page on a website claiming that legal authorities had detected illegal activities on your computer? This scam infects your computer with a type of malicious software called “ransomware.” The aim of ransomware is to prevent you from using...
4 Dec 2012
Online fraud: Get practical advice
Need help spotting an online scam? Download our new free 12-page booklet called Online Fraud: Your Guide to Prevention, Detection, and Recovery . This guide includes: Real-world examples of false promises made in fake emails Images of scam emails to help you avoid them Tips for guarding...
22 Nov 2012
The $500 Costco card scam
Many respondents to a recent Microsoft survey expressed concern about trickier scams that are happening on social networks. The Microsoft Malware Protection Center recently blogged about one of these new scams that claims to offer a free Costco gift card to all Facebook users. But don’t click...
1 Nov 2012
Avoid scam phone calls
Gabby writes: I just wanted to let you know that I received a phone call this evening from a guy called “Daniel” from “Technical Maintenance of Microsoft Windows.” He said that Microsoft had received error messages from my computer and he asked me to turn my computer on and...
22 Aug 2012
Fraud alert: Prize scams
John writes: I received an email that said that I won a prize from Microsoft and I am concerned that others may fall for this scam. Can't anything be done about these types of scams? The Microsoft Lottery scam is a fraudulent email that claims that you have won a lottery, a prize, a sweepstakes...
17 Jul 2012
How to spot fraudulent tech support phone calls
Betty writes: I just received a call from a guy who said that my Windows was infected. He wanted me to sit in front of my computer while he fixed it. He became angry when I told him no and I hung up. Thanks for writing, Betty. This type of call is a popular scam and you did exactly the right thing...
24 May 2012
Help, I’ve been hacked!
A reader named Karen asks: “I received a message in my Hotmail inbox that said that I’d been hacked and I should change my password. How do I do this?” If you think your Hotmail account has been hacked, go to the Reset your password page. Karen didn’t say whether the...
26 Apr 2012
Microsoft battles Zeus ID theft botnet
Microsoft, in collaboration with the financial services industry, successfully executed a coordinated global action against the Zeus botnet . Zeus is a type of malware that can monitor your online activity and record your keystrokes to commit identity theft. Learn more about the botnet takedown ....
3 Apr 2012
Win the battle against email fraud
Cybercriminals use email fraud (sometimes called “phishing”) to steal your personal data or information such as credit card numbers, passwords, account data, or other information. Cybercriminals might send millions of fraudulent email messages with links to fraudulent websites that appear...
20 Mar 2012
Report scams in Hotmail, Xbox, and more
If you think you’re a target of a phishing scam or other fraud in an email, Xbox instant message, or on a website, you can report it. Most Microsoft products have built-in tools that make this easier. Hotmail. If you receive a suspicious email message that asks for personal information, click...
21 Feb 2012
Who’s more likely to fall for scams? The answer might surprise you
A recent Ponemon Institute study (in cooperation with PC Tools) challenges the myth that people who fall for scams are generally older. According to survey results, 18-25 year olds are among the groups that are more susceptible to online scams. Respondents also said that a free prize or free antivirus...
7 Feb 2012
Don’t be fooled by fake Halo 4 beta sites
Microsoft’s Halo 4 Xbox video game won’t be released until December 2012, but some scammers are already launching fake Halo 4 beta websites designed to trick you into giving away your personal information or installing malicious software. Don’t be fooled. Get tips on how to report...
31 Jan 2012
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