I'm going to relate a very lengthy description of a bizarre incident involving a Windows activation scam involving a pop-up support phone number.
Anyone who's had to reinstall a retail version of Windows Ten is familiar with what a nightmare this can be - not the re-installation but trying to activate it. Mine was a retail purchase version of Windows 10 Home. When I followed the activation instructions, Microsoft rejected my product key. This was the third time I've had to reinstall the O.S. and I already had a replacement product key, Product I.D. and activation code. None of these were now any good. So when a pop-up appeared with a support number appeared, I called and got the usual heavily accented voice that I could barely understand and who got mad whenever I asked him to repeat something. Long story short, it was 7:30 AM central time and this guy asked me some questions, then told me the activation was "good" BUT, the people who had, so to speak, throw the switch and make it work were not in the office yet and I should call back in a half hour, which I did. This sounded very suspicious, and it WAS.
When I called back another very heavily accented voice answered and I told him why I was calling. He then asked what number I called (which I no longer have) and he replied that was not a Microsoft's support number, The number I was now connected to was 888-257-4436. He said I was the victim of a pop-up scam and he wanted me to give permission to do a remote connection. At this point, I figured the damage was already done, so I consented and I was shown a huge list of Trojan virus files installed on my brand new build. Thsi guy was pleasant and patient with me, but told me I'd have to pay a $199.00 tech service fee and he'd remove the virsus. I was also told this was a "life-time" support fee and that I could call as many times as I needed. I forgot to ask what "lifetime" meant but I did try to vet who he was, a Microsoft support contractor named Vector Solutionz. AS pleasant as he was, he did not sound very professional like the typical corporate employee and I couldn't help but think I was being scammed yet again. However, when I checked I found that Windows was activated. This guy now spent nearly an hour cleaning up my machine and I could see everything he was doing, including installing Team Viewer, leaving me a new product key and business his contact info.Would a scammer do that? I thought not.
Now, if you Google 888-257-4436 you will find dozens of entries claiming this as a scam number. I called it back again and got the same guy and I cannot explain this at all. It is now a week later, and my credit cards and my I.D.were not stolen, bank accounts emptied nor are there any viruses on my computer so I can only conclude that the second guy I talked with was legit, despite his lack of professionalism . . . . he sure as hell knew what he was doing.
Microsoft.probably hires dozens of these contractors and no doubt they are not all equally well trained. Or maybe the guy I talked with had no customer relations training at all, who knows? My experience reveals just what a thorny path Microsoft forces us to walk down to protect THEIR PRODUCT while we get no protection at all.