Windows 7 has officially reached end-of-life status. At this point, Microsoft will no longer offer support, which had previously been provided on an extended basis since 2015. Therefore, if you continue to use Windows 7, you risk suffering major security breaches.
The process of shifting to Windows 10 may seem frustrating if you have come to rely on Windows 7, but there’s a lot to love about the newer edition of the operating system. Regardless of whether you approve of the many updates available through Windows 10, you can take solace in knowing that retail and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) licenses will not expire.
Sadly, many scammers have taken advantage of the concern surrounding Windows 7 end of life in hopes of tricking unsuspecting individuals. Scams often pop up on computers to announce that Windows 10 licenses are about to expire. Other incidents occur over the phone, with scammers posing as “helpful” Windows 10 support staff members. Luckily, these issues are relatively simple to avoid with the right knowledge.
How to Identify Windows 10 Expiration Scams
If there’s a silver lining to the latest Windows 10 expiration scams, it’s that they are typically easy to identify. That being said, they can take multiple forms that you should be aware of. Pop-up messages are particularly common. They often include toll-free numbers, which would never be highlighted in legitimate messages from Microsoft. Tech companies typically go out of their way to avoid receiving calls from customers, so a prominently displayed toll-free number should serve as a huge red flag.
Misspellings are also common, particularly for the term “license.” Take heed if you note obvious errors that seem unusual for Microsoft. More annoyingly, pop-ups may prove difficult to exit, essentially locking your browser in place until you shut down your computer, or worse, click on one of the pop-up’s links.
When scams occur over the phone, their very nature implies that they are suspicious. Representatives at Microsoft Support make it clear that the company does not conduct unsolicited phone calls to seek personal information or offer technical support. Rather, these interactions must be initiated by customers. Therefore, if you receive a call from someone claiming to represent Microsoft, you can feel confident in your decision to hang up. Don’t be fooled by caller ID listings that seem legitimate, either. Scammers have been known to manipulate this information to make it appear trustworthy.
Whether you’re called or contacted online, you may be asked to provide a one-time payment or sign up for a subscription security service. Do not divulge any personal data – especially not your payment information. Requests for Bitcoin or gift card payments should also be viewed with suspicion, as these methods are commonly relied upon by scammers.
Other Dangers Associated with Windows 10 Expiration Scams
Beyond paying for licenses that aren’t needed, expiration scam victims may also suffer computer issues such as adware, malware, or viruses. Pop-ups often lead to malicious websites, so it’s important to avoid clicking on any links that may appear. If adware is inadvertently installed on your computer, it could track your activity and lead to the unauthorized sharing of sensitive data. This may leave you vulnerable to identity theft and a whole host of other risks.
How to Avoid Falling for Windows 10 Expiration Scams
A proactive approach is essential to reduce the possibility of multiple scams, including the latest Windows 10 expiration incidents. Regular system upgrades are crucial, as Microsoft frequently provides patches to address recently revealed hazards. Additionally, consider using Microsoft Edge for browsing, as it blocks a variety of known support scams. However, at the end of the day, awareness is your best tool. It’s best to remain on a constant lookout for websites that seem suspicious.
What to Do If You Suspect You’ve Been Scammed
If you believe that you’ve been targeted by a scammer, it’s critical to take immediate action. Even if you manage to avoid sending a payment or clicking on pop-up links, your device or personal data may still be compromised.
Begin by uninstalling any applications that you installed upon the scammer’s request. Other essentials include resetting your device and removing malware via a Windows Security scan.
Change your passwords as soon as possible and continue to monitor login activity for signs of suspicious behavior. You should also consider making the most of the Windows Defender Firewall, which can help you block problematic traffic.
If you’re struggling to administer protective measures, seek support from a trusted computer repair or IT services company. Skilled technicians can help you implement measures to minimize scam-related security risks and prevent future incidents.
Additionally, don’t forget to report any incidents to Microsoft. The company’s legitimate security experts want to know about the latest scams, as this information helps them develop and implement the measures needed to keep users safe. Feel free to call or take advantage of the report unsafe site form available online. Your efforts could prove valuable in preventing future scams.
Seeking Protection from NerdsToGo: A Top IT Company
Whether you have already fallen for a scam or are desperate to avoid future incidents, you can count on the NerdsToGo team. We offer a variety of proactive data security solutions designed to keep your devices and data safe. In the worst-case scenario, you can look to our team for in-home computer repair.
Contact NerdsToGo today to learn more about the wide range of cybersecurity, repair, and data protection services (including cloud data backup and external hard drive backup) we provide in and around Grapevine. You’ll thank yourself for investing in small business IT support from our trusted Nerds.