Microsoft Revokes Gold Partner for Running Cold-Call Scams

By Fahmida Y. Rashid  |  Posted 2011-09-22

As a scam, it's fairly common for cyber-criminals to cold-call unsuspecting users to inform them of problems with their computers. Sometimes the callers claim to be Microsoft or one of the major PC vendors. More often, it is a company who claims to be a Microsoft partner or a company that offers "technical support services."

In at least one case, it appears that a legitimate Microsoft partner was actively scamming customers. Microsoft terminated its relationship with Comantra after an investigation revealed some of the partner's shady business practices, PC Pro reported. Based in India, Comantra was a Microsoft Gold Partner.

"We were made aware of a matter involving one of the members of the Microsoft Partner Network acting in a manner that caused us to raise concerns about this member's business practices," a Microsoft spokesperson told PC Pro.

Comantra allegedly cold-called computer users in the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and other companies and offered assistance in removing virus infections. The employees claimed to be Microsoft representatives and used scare tactics to talk users into opening the Event Viewer on Windows machines. The employees would mention the company's partner status to convince the victims the call was legitimate.

Seeing a list of errors and warnings on the screen would trick users into thinking their computers had been compromised. Scared users would give Comantra technicians remote access to the machines and hand over credit card details to fix the problems. Comantra denied they were scamming users, claiming the complaints online were fabricated by competitors.

There are plenty of other groups running this scam under a variety of names. Regardless, users should be aware that Microsoft or other tech support companies would never call them about a problem in their computers.

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