Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Windows Service Centre scam calls – man gets suspended jail sentence and a fine

If you’re following tech news you have surely heard about the infamous Windows Service Centre scam calls. Or if you were “lucky” enough, you may even have received the call, which started like this: “I am calling from Microsoft’s Windows Service Centre. We’ve had a report from you service provider of virus problems on your computer.”

However, if this is the first time you hear about this scam, read our previous article, reciting the story of a scam call, received by Firebrand’s Senior Microsoft Instructor, Mike Brown. 

Following the events of the past few days, the frequency of these calls is likely to dramatically decrease, because the man behind the scam has been sentenced, in a landmark case. 

Successful prosecution of man hiring scammers

The convicted man, from Luton, hired operators at an Indian call centre to impersonate Microsoft employees and convince their victims that their computers had viruses. He has received a four-month jail sentence, suspended for 12 months, as well as a fine of £5,000.
On top of the fine, he must also pay almost £14,000 in prosecution costs and over £5,000 compensation.

New precedent established?

Lord Toby Harris, chairman of the National Trading Standards Board said: "We believe it may be the first ever successful prosecution of someone involved in the Microsoft scam in the UK”.

“Now that one of the many individuals who've been operating this scam has been brought to justice, it's a stark warning to anyone else still doing it that they can be caught and will be prosecuted."

How to avoid tech support phone scams

Don’t fall victim to scam callers, read the guide in Microsoft’s Safety & Security Centre and avoid tech support phone scams.