Microsoft has cut ties with one of its trusted tech support partners after the company was allegedly found to be scamming customers in several countries out of their credit card numbers under Microsoft's watch.
The tech support partner, Comantra, was stripped of its Gold Certified status for apparently orchestrating a scam in which employees would cold-call customers and convince them their computers were infected with viruses and needed to be fixed immediately. Comantra would then attempt to get the victims to hand over their credit card information to fix the alleged problems, technology website PC Pro reported.
Rogue employees from the India-based company also convinced victims to grant them remote access to their computers, PC Pro said. In doing so, employees would open computers' Event Viewer folder in Windows, where victims would see a list of "error" messages indicating the faulty programs.
(Comantra was one of Microsoft's Gold Certified Partners, meaning it had Microsoft's seal of approval and its employees had demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft's products.)
In an email, a Microsoft spokesperson told SecurityNewsDaily, "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. Following an investigation, the allegations were confirmed and we took action to terminate our relationship with the partner in question and revoke their Gold status."
In reference to Comantra's practice of swindling victims under the guise that it had Microsoft's backing, the software giant added, "There are no circumstances under which we would ever allow partners or any other organizations to pose as Microsoft. We view matters such as these extremely seriously and take immediate action if such behavior is brought to our attention and found to be the case."
PC Pro reported that readers have been complaining about Comantra's scheming since 2009. Comantra's director, Rajesh Bajaj, however, denied his company's employees had scammed anyone, and called the reports "negative marketing" from competitors.