You are working on your computer. A box pops up across your screen saying you have a serious problem with your computer. The message says your computer is malfunctioning and you need to call the number on the screen.
Don’t do it!
Get rid of the message, exit it safely if you can. Run a security scan on your computer.
Several of my friends have clicked on this and called the number. A friendly voice on the other end explains how they can help you, and they do, and then they get your credit card number to pay them. For one friend that was $50 as her is on disability, for another it was $229. And for the repair, their computer ends up disabled and they cannot access the Internet. One of these I reformatted to repair. Among the things wrong was a completely disabled network card. Sadly, he continued to get calls from this person. The other friend had to seek out a real technician at Office Depot.
If it came to you, it’s likely malicious. Microsoft would never contact you that way. They can automatically update your software, they don’t try to scare you into spending money. Yes, this thing is a rampant scam preying on the inexperienced and unwary. You best call your bank and report it if you gave them a credit card number. You also had best change you passwords if you have any saved in your computer because they might have those “cookies” now. In a month or two, you had better check your credit report too, you need to see if anything has been opened in your name… did you really need that 3rd MasterCard at a Florida address? or a couple new cellphones in Texas?
Using the Internet in todays world requires caution. Just remember, the service is legitimate, they can already take a care of you automatically. If they have to phish for you to contact them, it’s probably not a call you want to make.
Good luck and be safe!