COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A new phone scam is circulating where hackers claim your 'Microsoft Windows license' is expired and requires you to renew it by forking over your credit card information.
It's one of many 'phishing' scams.
Phishing is the hacker term that describes how scammers get their victims to reveal personal and financial information.
How it works
Scammers will impersonate Microsoft employees over the phone demanding your 'Windows license' is expired and will shut down immediately if you don't renew it by forking over your credit card information.
"It's quite an alarming call," said Sandra Matthews, a victim of the scam.
If they get your information over the phone, the scam can target you in multiple ways.
For example, if they get your email address they can send you malware infected links that will install viruses on your computer.
"You'll see pop-ups, demanding your license needs to be renewed or it will shut down," Matthews said.
What you can do
If you do get a strange call, verify the number on a site called 800notes.com.
This is a reverse phone number search where consumers post about odd scam calls. It's an easy way to verify a mystery number, so you don't get fooled into calling them back. Or you can just Google it. You'll see if it's a scam by the comments that pop up.
Det. Jon Price with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office explains doing your research is the best prevention.
"These people are professional and do this all the time, don't think that it can't happen to you," he said.
Keep in mind, most computer software programs won't require you to renew a license. But if you have a rare case where you are re-installing software, always remember you will never receive a call from Microsoft about renewing anything. Period.
If you continue to run into expired license pop-ups, visit Microsoft's troubleshoot page to help guide you through it.