It begins with a simple phone call. A scratchy voice, often sounding distant and foreign, introduces the caller as “John,” or “Steven,” but the accent suggests otherwise. The caller claims to be calling from Microsoft tech support, and says that there’s a problem with your computer. If you say that you have a Mac, they either hang up or say, “Yes, sorry, you have a Mac.”

And so begins an attempt at social engineering (social hacking), a way of conning people into allowing an unknown person to access their computer, possibly copy files, and eventually getting them to pay for this “tech support.” The scammer strings the user along, leads them to supposed “error” messages and malware files on their computer, and gets them to install software allowing the scammer to access their files.

Even though Microsoft recently stated that only 183,000 had reported this type of scam to the company in 2017, that’s probably just a fraction of the number of people who get contacted; it’s a very common scam. Most tech-savvy people know that this is a scam and just hang up, but as with phishing scams, it only takes a few people to be tricked to make the scam worthwhile.

Read the rest of the article on the Mac Security Blog.