I received an odd telephone call this morning. The caller with an Indian voice, who claimed to be from the “Technical Department of Windows”, tried to tell me that I had downloaded some malware from the internet on to my computer. When I asked how she knew this, the caller became confused, and as the line was poor, I took the opportunity to hang up. Ten seconds later the phone rang again, the same caller again apologising for having been cut off and once again telling me that there was a problem with my computer. So for a second time I asked how she knew, again she became confused, but this time handed me on to a male colleague who ignored my question and got on with the script. He asked me if I could see my computer, which I said I could, next he asked if I could see the “My Computer” icon. At this point, I considered playing along to see where this was going, but two things stopped me, first I wasn’t going to be able to follow his instructions (as I am using Ubuntu Linux, not MS Windows), and two I had better things to do with my day. Therefore, I hung up once again and have had no further calls. I tried ringing 1471 but as they were phoning from abroad the number was unavailable, so I had nothing to report to Consumer Direct’s “Report a Scam” service.

This afternoon I found myself still thinking about the call, I was intrigued to know how common this sort of thing is, so I did a quick Google search and I found there were plenty of hits showing that this is a regular problem. Obviously, Microsoft would never make such a phone call, you have to phone them to get support, not the other way around. Either way, their advice on dealing with scams is pretty thin. The best advice dealing with these scams comes from the Digital Toast blog, which also has an entertaining collection of videos of people winding up the scammers. Also, the Guardian technology editor, Charles Arthur, makes some interesting comments about who might be behind these scams. If you have received a call recently, maybe you would like to leave a comment.

In the years since this post was originally written, this scam has changed to include the “Technical Department of BT” and “Virgin Media Technical Department”. The simple fact is that no “Technical Department” cold calls customers to tell them that their computers are in some way infected with a virus. These calls are scams, please don’t fall for them.

Oh, and just is case you were wondering if Microsoft knows about this scam, well, yes they were told about it in March 2010, it is just that they can’t be bothered to do anything about it…

Addendum: It would appear that Microsoft has finally woken up and realised there is a problem, and this is their official advice. Please note that the scammers are now also claiming to be from: Windows Service Centre, Windows Help Desk, Microsoft Tech Support, Microsoft Support, Windows Technical Care, Windows Technical Department Support Group or Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team). So please take care.

Addendum: There have been a number of attempts to comment on this blog saying that the fraudster making these calls are legitimate, the latest came from:

Author: luckysharma (IP:,
E-mail: luckysharma420@gmail.com
Comment: this is genuine company…ok


Please note, these calls are entirely fraudulent, do not allow these people to access your computer.

Addendum: There has been one high-profile arrest and conviction but, sadly, there are plenty more still active. Please take care.


Addendum: I have had a number of people asking if there is a way of stopping these calls (see comments below), well, there are call blocking devices available on the market which can be effective. You also need Caller ID on your phone line, this may be an extra cost depending on your phone provider. Some phone providers may not supply Caller ID for international calls and so you need to think about just who you want to block, to avoid blocking legitimate calls, i.e. family members and friends living abroad, or people calling from switchboards where the number is withheld (personally this last one is a risk I would take). If anyone has experience of using such call blocking devices they would like to share, please feel free to comment below.

Addendum: This scam is now being replaced by a broadband scam, the scammers claim to be calling from BT (I am not using BT Broadband) and threaten to cut off your broadband connection if you don’t do what they ask. Don’t fall for it, just hang up.

The most recent numbers to call me are below, beware these are all scammers:

  • 01702354369
  • 01753886279
  • 013113670232 (this is worrying because it looks like a local number to where I am)
  • 0031627789951
  • 0049300229105318
  • 01264322256 this is an Amazon account scam, it is not from Amazon, don’t fall for it
  • 01204430305
  • 02392463764
  • 01224732823
  • 02476337166
  • 01226340637
  • 01702618132 another BT broadband scam (I am not with BT)
  • 02890587967
  • 01481201721
  • 01782258898
  • 01313670252 (another one that looks like a local number to where I am, this time it is a loft insulation scam)
  • 01530 224539 another BT broadband scam (I am not with BT)
  • 01903238950 another BT broadband scam (I am still not with BT)
  • 0013186499214 this is actually using a fake number to avoid being found on reverse lookup, never answer a number being with 0013
  • 001386497262 see above about 0013 numbers, they are coming thick and fast this morning
  • 01313671777
  • 01986807479 another Microsoft scammer
  • 004316267332
  • 07522637755 this one as a scam call about National Insurance numbers
  • 07852649921
  • 07442070861
  • 07734068962
  • 07736808571
  • 0033766562863
  • 01356667414 Another computer scammer
  • 01264300278 this one is a warranty scam
  • 01487801982
  • 0015871725235
  • 0015871725235
  • 01918149764 Another Microsoft scammer
  • 01316696815 Amazon Prime subscription fraud (I don’t have an Amazon Prime subscription, nor does Amazon have my landline number)
  • 07985171514 this scammer claims to be from BT Openreach, don’t fall for it, just hang up.
  • 0046101020226
  • 00919875179594
  • 01223933893
  • 01491676822
  • 0122392843
  • 00918015745600
  • 00346 98570571 banking scammers
  • 00918013552427 Scammers claiming to be from Bank security, don’t fall for it, just hang up.
  • 01157789785
  • 02032381713 this is an Amazon account scam, it is not from Amazon, don’t fall for it
  • 0034660759901
  • 0035315396286
  • 014838889706
  • 01256951551 this one is a washing machine warranty scam, which is different, but still a scam
  • 03333031124
  • 01483694061 claiming to be “energy advisors”, they are NOT, they are just scammers
  • 01778 536638
  • 07974735870 Amazon renewal scam
  • 01613392396 this is a debit card scam
  • 01316613094 this a bank scam
  • 02033181936 Estate planning scam
  • 01316649923
  • 02084791357

All of these numbers have been used by scammers, don’t trust anyone calling from these phone numbers.

If you are unlucky enough to be caught out by any of these scams, report it to Action Fraud online or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Finally, some banks are starting to take this issue seriously and are encouraging people to call 159 if they get an unsolicited phone call from someone asking for money. If you think someone is trying to trick you into handing over money or personal details. Stop, hang up and call 159 to speak directly to your bank.