Microsoft has confirmed criminals are posting counterfeit packages designed to appear like Office products in order to defraud people.
Sky News has reported seeing one such package which appears to be manufactured to a “convincing standard and contains an engraved USB drive, alongside a product key”.
The broadcaster reports the USB does not install Microsoft Office when plugged in to a computer but contains malicious software which encourages the victim to call a fake support line and hand over access to their PC to a remote attacker.
Microsoft launched an internal investigation into the suspect package after being contacted by Sky News.
A Microsoft spokesman confirmed that the USB and the packaging were counterfeit and that it had seen a pattern of such products being used to scam victims before but it was “infrequent”.
More often fraudulent products are sent to potential victims via email, with a link to a site for downloading the malicious software.
A company spokesman told Sky News: “Microsoft is committed to helping protect our customers. We take appropriate action to remove any suspected unlicensed or counterfeit products from the market and to hold those targeting our customers accountable.”