Microsoft Calling: Not!

Last night just before 10 o’clock, my telephone rang. My home telephone, that is. My wife answered, and after a short discussion said, “My husband handles all the computers here, you need to talk to him. Would you like to talk to my husband?”

The voice on the other end of the line evidently said, “Yes.” She handed me the telephone. “What are you selling?” I asked immediately.

A heavily accented voice on the other end of line said, “I am not selling anything. I am from Microsoft, and we’re calling to do maintenance on your computer.”


“We have been getting some signals from your computer,” said the voice, “we’re calling to correct the problem.”

“Look,” said I, “I’ve been in the IT industry 30 years now, my company is a Microsoft Partner, and Microsoft simply does not call end-users in the middle of the night.”

Dial tone. Rajeev or whatever his name was hung up on me. (By this time I can confirm that his accent was, indeed, Indian.)

The point of all this, if there is a point, is that I’ve seen a dramatic increase in phishing attacks via email. It seems that now the bad guys are invading my home telephone. I have to assume that perhaps the bad guys may be trying to invade yours.

Don’t bite. Microsoft doesn’t call, except to sell you something. Neither does Symantec. Neither does Apple. If somebody calls asking for personal information, whether they claim to be from your bank, Microsoft, or Timbuktu, slam the phone down. If you get an email from your bank claiming that you’re overdrawn, do not follow the link to log into your bank. Assume that whatever information you provide to someone in one of these ways is going to be used to steal everything you have.

Am I being overly reactive? Yes. Number of times you get taken advantage of being overly reactive: zero. Number of times you get taken advantage of being naïve: too many to count.

So take it from the TV ad: Just say no!