Fake Microsoft workers dupe Dutch victims out of €7 million

Call center employees
File photo of call center workersPhoto: PGBS / Wikimedia Commons

Last year nearly two thousand Dutch people fell victim to scammers pretending to be Microsoft employees. In total the Dutch victims were swindled out of around 7 million euros. One victim was duped for 98 thousand euros, the police said on Tuesday. 

Scammers have been using this ploy for a number of years. The police previously warned about it in June last year.  Victims are often called from abroad by someone posing as a Microsoft employee. They tell the victim that there is a problem with their computer - a virus or expired license - and convince the victim to install software that gives them access to the computer so that they can "fix" it. Instead the scammers transfer money to themselves through, for example, iTunes payment cards. 

The number of Dutch falling victim of this scam increased significantly last year. In 2016 around 1,100 people reported the scam to the police. In 2017, 70 percent of the victims were older than 50 years.

The police call on people to hang up the phone immediately if a Microsoft employee calls. Microsoft doesn't call customers to tell them about a problem, customers have to make contact with Microsoft themselves. The police also stress on people not to just install software someone tells you about over the phone - without the software, the scammers can't do anything. 

Should you be called by someone saying they're from Microsoft, the police ask that you save the telephone number and report it to them.