Windows 10 related scams on the rise

Windows 10 related scams on the rise

There is a lot of excitement about the release of Windows 10 last week and it is evidenced by the fact 14 million systems were upgraded in the first 24 hours of its general availability.

You can also go onto social media and see the number of people talking about Windows 10 is quite high and that makes the Windows 10 angle a fruitful one for scammers and those who would want to gain improper/illegal access to your computer systems.

There are two primary vectors where an scammer/attacker could use the enthusiasm and discussions around Windows 10 to entice you to let your guard down.


Tech Support Calls

One scam that has been active for quite a while is the phone call that comes into your home claiming to be some type of tech support and many times they will use Microsoft's name to try and add some legitimacy to the call.

They then commence to tell you that an alert was received on their end of an issue relating to your computer and that they can help resolve that.  If you give them access to your machine, typically using Team Viewer software, they then show you errors on your system in order to convince you of the problem. Once you grant them control they could plant a piece of malware on your system and block your security software from detecting it.

Another thing they might tey is to indicate they can help you get Windows 10 installed on your system so you then grant them control and you end up with malicious software instead of Windows 10.

They may at anytime in this process attempt to collect fees for their assistance as well once they have your trust.

A variation: Cold calls attempting to help you reserve the Windows 10 upgrade for a fee or getting your permission to send an email that would contain malicious code/attachments.


Windows 10 Upgrade Emails

Microsoft has sent out official emails to anyone who successfully reserved a copy of Windows 10 to let them know there place in line is safe and that they will soon be able to start the upgrade. It is believed millions of people were able to reserve the upgrade and are waiting for the download/upgrade process to begin.

The scammers will take advantage of this anticipation by sending a malicious file attached to what appears to be an very official looking email and tell the recipient that opening it will begin the upgrade and/or download process.

That begins the attack on your system.

A variation: Instead of attaching a malicious file to the email they may send you an embedded link indicating that site will help you begin the upgrade process.


The best cure for both of these is to know that Microsoft will not contact you over the phone about the Windows 10 Upgrade nor will they email you any type of executable file that will begin the process. 

Stu Sjouwerman, Founder and CEO of KnowBe4, predicted just these types of scams would happen in a recent newsletter and suggested sharing this info with fellow employees, family and friends:

"Microsoft is in the process of releasing their new Windows 10 Operating System. This is an upgrade that you do not pay for, promises to fix problems with earlier versions, and claims to be more secure. They plan to upgrade a billion personal computers, causing inevitable confusion among PC users.

Bad guys are trying to exploit this confusion. You might get calls from scammers that claim to be Microsoft tech support and try to charge you for the upgrade using your credit card.

Be very careful with any email claiming to be from Microsoft about "your Windows 10 Upgrade". Make sure that any links in the email really go to Microsoft. Better yet, do not click on any link or open any attachment, but go to the Microsoft website for more information."

Currently the only legitimate methods to get Windows 10 onto your system is through the Get Windows 10 app, the small white Windows flag icon in the lower right corner of your computer screen, or to use the installation media creation tools Microsoft released last week.

Alternatively, you could take your computer into a Microsoft Store for free assistance in upgrading to Windows 10 or stop in at Best Buy and pay $30 to get your PC upgraded to Windows 10.

Be vigilant and keep your security software up to date to provide yourself maximum protection against these and other malicious/phishing attacks.

Have you seen or heard of other angles with these scams? Share them in the comments below so we can spread the awareness.

Hide comments


  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.