Telemarketing fraud

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Telemarketing fraud is fraudulent selling conducted over the telephone. The term is also used for telephone fraud not involving selling.

Older people may be targeted more frequently because the caller assumes they may live alone, have a nest egg, or may be more polite toward strangers.[1]

Types of fraud[edit]

Computer support[edit]

A telephone call is made saying typically that virus activity has been detected on the victim's computer; calls may claim to be associated with a reputable company such as Microsoft. Callers assume that the victim has a computer running a Microsoft Windows operating system (users of other operating systems, such as Linux, are a minority, and likely to be technically knowledgeable). They ask users to take actions which display information which looks alarming and unexpected, although in fact perfectly normal, such as the Windows event viewer log or temporary files list, and say that it is evidence of infection. Victims are often directed to a remote desktop software website such as or TeamViewer;[3] the caller then has complete control over the computer, and can display further alarming displays, and install malware. An offer may be made to remove the "viruses" and supply remote computer support for several years for a single payment. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has filed lawsuits against a number of businesses and websites performing this scam.[4][5] If malware is installed on a computer by any means including this, an attacker can have continuing full control, and access to sensitive personal, financial, or business information, until the malware is reliably removed.[6] See also Rogue security software.


  1. ^ "Phone Scams". The Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved 12 August 2014. 
  2. ^ BBC: Cold-call firms flout rules that block telemarketers, 2 July 2012
  3. ^ What happens if you play along with a Microsoft 'tech support' scam?, Olivia Solon, Wired, 11 April 2013
  4. ^ "FTC Halts Massive Tech Support Scams". press release. U.S. Federal Trade Commission. October 3, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  5. ^ Brodkin, Jon (October 3, 2012). "Hello, I'm definitely not calling from India. Can I take control of your PC?". Ars Technica. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  6. ^ Landesman, Mary. "Your PC is Infected Phone Scam;, Logmein, Virus Remote Control Scam". » Computing » Antivirus Software » Phishing & Online Scams. Retrieved 6 November 2012.