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Worried about Microsoft helpdesk

(5 Posts)
FamilyAdventure Wed 21-Jan-15 20:48:17

I bought Office University, which seemed like a bargain at the time. It's a cheaper way to get Office 365 but you need to prove you're a Student.

To do this you have to send them various documents but when I've tried to do this it tells me they're in the incorrect format, even though they're PDF, which is what they ask for.

Anyway, I emailed them in a pop-up that appeared while I was trying to get it done and I've received a reply from Johannesburg asking me to call a South African number to have them remote onto my machine to help. That can't be right, can it?

SwedishEdith Wed 21-Jan-15 20:51:37

No, doesn't sound so. What do you mean about the pop-up? Where you in an online chat with them at the time or was this just coincidence?

FamilyAdventure Wed 21-Jan-15 21:19:39

I was trying to get an on-line chat and waiting to be connected - was 29th in the queue! when an email form appeared, so I thought I'd use that.

NetworkGuy Sat 24-Jan-15 03:54:46

There's a tiny chance of a S African call centre, but I think I'd wait until Monday and contact Microsoft UK if I were you. Asking to 'remote onto your machine' would leave you vulnerable (if it was a scam) to load all sorts of things - and keep you distracted by you watching the screen and 'what they were doing' while in the background they may add malware or copy your documents, encrypt your files, and then ask for a fee (ransom) for 'fixing' it (unlocking your files) but with little or no guarantee that they've not left something nasty that will hit you in the next few weeks.

Anything instigated from outside (and especially from a pop-up) sounds like it might be from a trojan or virus. I'd suggest you use Trend Microsystems anti-virus "House Call" (like a doctor's house visit!) to do a scan of you system.

Sorry, I'm not usually one who hypes up scary stories, but remote access from a complete stranger (whose link with Microsoft is unproven) is asking for lots of trouble, if they are in the slightest bit dodgy.

A better approach (if getting tech support from someone you don't know) might be to use the "" service for free, which is a way to let them share your view of your desktop, but leaves you in control.

"" is from the business (which does complete remote control) and gives the originator a 9 digit 'key' number which they tell anyone they want (who can then view the originator's display). Originator is in control of their computer, others just 'see' what they are doing. It means that you can decide not to download something onto your machine (when someone gets remote access, that may be able to disable your keyboard/ mouse so be warned before letting anyone access your system).

cdtaylornats Wed 04-Feb-15 15:17:44

I would suggest you get one of the free alternatives to office - either OpenOffice or LibreOffice.

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