Microsoft Corp. has successfully called in the help of U.K. police to stop an e-mail scam that urges users to call a special number to get help securing Windows.

The number, which actually connected the caller to a real Microsoft number but charged a bit more, was disconnected Thursday around noon U.K. time.

A Microsoft spokesman confirmed the Redmond, Washington, company is “working with U.K. law enforcement to investigate the e-mail scam.”

“We don’t think it is appropriate that somebody should defraud our customers and of course it is our obligation to pursue any such action,” the spokesman said.

E-mail messages claiming to be from “Microsoft Technical Support” and telling readers to call a national rate number in the U.K to obtain a “vitally important” Windows security update first started appearing late December 2002.

Charges for calling a national rate number vary by phone operator, but are typically between

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada