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posted by LaminatorX on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the It's-a-trap! dept.

dotdotdot writes:

"I am the IT guy for a small business with about 20 users. We use Microsoft Windows and Office, and I regularly audit our Microsoft volume license usage to make sure we are compliant.

I received an email from Accordo Group Ltd about a Microsoft Volume License Software Asset Management (SAM) License Review. The introduction letter stated, 'Microsoft would like to work with your company to review all Microsoft software products in use throughout your organization. This review process will be undertaken with all customers over a period of time and is intended to help you control your software assets.' The email and all the attachments were written as if they were from Microsoft, not Accordo. My first and last name, as well as the name of my company, were all misspelled.

So this is what I would like to ask SN:
Has anyone else had to deal with this? Are they just phishing for people who will agree to this?"

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by dyingtolive on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:33PM

    by dyingtolive (952) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:33PM (#11445)

    My bullshit meter is off the charts. My rule is that anything not sent via registered mail is not to be taken seriously.

    Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
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  • (Score: 2, Funny) by dilbert on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:38PM

    by dilbert (444) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:38PM (#11448)
    I concur with the BS analysis. Should you feel inclined to proceed anyway, I'm taking pre-orders for these guys [] and I'll let you in on the ground floor. I'll just need your credit card...
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:48PM

    by Sir Garlon (1264) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:48PM (#11455)

    The misspellings are a huge red flag. Look at the full SMTP headers with a proverbial magnifying glass. I would expect the reply-to header goes to some variant spelling of the domain, or some other sleight of hand.

    [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by dilbert on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:49PM

    by dilbert (444) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:49PM (#11456)

    The WayBack Machine [] shows they've had a web presence for over a decade, and linked in has corresponding profiles for people listed in their about [] page.

    That doesn't mean they aren't trying to misrepresent their relationship with Microsoft, and are probably very adept at using doublespeak to imply they represent Microsoft, when in reality it looks like they want to represent you to Microsoft for an audit.

    I still say BS.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by dyingtolive on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:58PM

      by dyingtolive (952) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @06:58PM (#11464)

      And even if they are on the up and up, who really wants to go looking for an audit?

      Don't blame me, I voted for moose wang!
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by dotdotdot on Wednesday March 05 2014, @07:41PM

    by dotdotdot (858) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @07:41PM (#11481)

    Sorry if this is too long, but here is the actual body of the email if anyone cares to read it:

    Microsoft would like to work with your organization on a review of your Microsoft licenses. This review process will be undertaken with all customers over a period of time and is intended to help you control your software assets.

    The steps in the review process are as follows:

    Process Steps

    1. We ask you to complete the attached Deployment Summary (spreadsheet format) and return to us via email.
    2. Once we receive your Deployment Summary we will analyze the Microsoft software in use against the licenses held and provide you with an Estimated License Ownership Position. There may be areas that require further clarification.
    3. When this is done, a finalized License Ownership Position (as of the date of the review) will be provided, detailing what you own and what we understand you are using, based on the information you have supplied. This final summary will detail over-licensing or any apparent variances that may need to be remedied.
    4. Along with the final License Ownership Position summary you will also receive a Software Asset Management Tips guide.

    In order to make the process as efficient as possible we would highlight the following:

    1. You may wish to engage your IT Partner to assist you through (or even manage) the process on your behalf.
    2. We recommend that you request from your IT Partner/s a list of Microsoft licenses you have purchased via OEM (pre-installed with hardware) or FPP (boxed retail copies). The purpose of this is to ensure that we are evaluating your total license ownership position. Please note that records of licenses purchased under a Volume License Program (such as Open, Select or Enterprise) will already be available in the Microsoft records system.
    3. Microsoft makes available a free downloadable software product to assist with the inventory: MAP (Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit), which is a powerful inventory, assessment and reporting tool that can securely assess IT environments for various platform migrations and virtualization without the use of any software agents for up to 100,000 PCs. It is available at
    4. If you have purchased Volume Licenses under a different company name or have acquired other organizations that may have purchased licenses, please try to have this information available. This will enable us to identify any licenses you own which have been purchased under alternative names.

    The documents attached to this email:

    - A letter of introduction from Microsoft.
    - A document that covers some of the frequently asked questions regarding the review process.
    - A Deployment Summary that we would appreciate your response to by 16-March-2014. If, for any reason, you are unable to meet this timeframe please contact us by return email.

    What you can expect to get out of the review?

    - Consolidation of all your licensing records into one concise report which can then be maintained and modified by your organization in the future.
    - Assistance with understanding licensing rules, and in particular, how they relate to your own specific situation.
    - Licensing expertize and advice available to you throughout the process, free of charge.
    - Guidance regarding ongoing Software Asset Management to eliminate waste and redundancy and mitigate risks of non-compliance.

    Please note that if your organization acquires its Microsoft software licenses from an offshore parent company then we will not continue with the review process. We would instead just need to ask you one or two clarifying questions by telephone and the review will then be closed.

    Please do ask questions if you are not sure about the information you are being asked to provide or if you have any queries whatsoever in regards to the SAM review process.

    Thank you for your assistance.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Blackmoore on Wednesday March 05 2014, @10:56PM

      by Blackmoore (57) on Wednesday March 05 2014, @10:56PM (#11570) Journal

      Interesting - this is a pretty accurate email for the microsoft auditing process. It even gives a legit address for the MAP tool

      still doesn't pass the smell test - (they should have the correct spelling of your company name) so I wouldn't let them in the door.

      that said; Microsoft IS shaking down it's customers - so you should do a self audit and get the company inline before someone legit does come by.

    • (Score: 1) by Reziac on Thursday March 06 2014, @03:00AM

      by Reziac (2489) on Thursday March 06 2014, @03:00AM (#11690) Homepage

      Translation (assuming it's a valid letter and not a phish):

      We're hoping to catch you using unlicensed copies of Microsoft software. We will then fine you, er, I mean offer to sell you licenses at a premium price, including our 'convenience fee'.

      And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 2) by davester666 on Thursday March 06 2014, @04:30AM

      by davester666 (155) on Thursday March 06 2014, @04:30AM (#11744)

      yeah, this is basically a "please send us all your license and user information, and we will audit it, and if there are any problems, we get a cut of anything you need to pay. Oh, and we'll put the information you send us into a word document and then send it back to you."

      i would just ignore it. even responding with a "no thanks" just encourages them to report you to microsoft for an audit, where they still get a cut.