An email masquerading as an announcement for a new security patch from Microsoft is a hoax.
The email, which plays on people's fears of virus and hacker attacks, invites recipients to call a premium rate number to find out more about downloading a patch for the Windows operating system.
There are a few clues to demonstrate its lack of authenticity. The domain name from which the email is sent, [email protected], leads to a non-existent website.
Microsoft does not use premium rate numbers for customer help, and the email gives no clues as to what version of Windows the patch is for and why it has been released.
A Microsoft spokeswoman said that people should just delete the email.
As the software giant does send out security updates via email, anyone unsure about a message can go to microsoft.com/uk/support, or can check on www.microsoft.com/security to see if the patch is listed.
The hoax email reads:
Dear Sir / Madam
ref: Windows Security Update.
Please call Microsoft Technical Support on 0871 750 1250 for your Microsoft Windows security update.
Due to recently intensified Internet Virus and Hacker Attacks, it is vitally important that you update your personal computer's Microsoft Windows operating system.
Please call 0871 750 1250. Thank you.
Microsoft Technical Support
Anti-Virus/Anti-Hacking Windows Update
Tel: 0871 750 1250
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