×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Microsoft Customers Hit With New Wave of Fake Tech Support Calls

timothy posted 1 year,4 days | from the only-do-this-to-your-parents dept.

Security 201

rjmarvin writes "A new surge of callers posing predominately as Microsoft technicians are attempting and sometimes succeeding in scamming customers, convincing them their PCs are infected and directing them to install malware-ridden software or give the callers remote access to the computer. The fraudsters also solicit payment for the fake services rendered. This comes only a year after the FTC cracked down on fake tech support calls, charging six scam operators last October."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Another ad posing as a slashdot article (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45481711)

This looks more like an advertisement for sdt.bz than an actual Slashdot article.

Here's the real article:
http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9244207/Fake_Windows_tech_support_calls_continue_to_plague_consumers [computerworld.com]

Re:Another ad posing as a slashdot article (5, Funny)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481783)

Yes, well, it's a problem with the slashcode. If you'll just leave your username, password, full name, address, and social security number in a reply below, we'll address this problem as soon as we can.

Signed,
A totally legitimate slashdot developer, I promise.

total scam. Microsoft doesn't call or write. (4, Insightful)

swschrad (312009) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481949)

unless you're a commercial licensee, then you can't keep them out of the place with guard dogs and crew-served weapons.

cold calls on the phone? scam.

social engineering (4, Funny)

schneidafunk (795759) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481737)

I'd go after the AOL market.

Re:social engineering (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45481809)

They still have a market?

Re:social engineering (-1, Flamebait)

MightyYar (622222) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481841)

Yes, but now we call it the tablet market.

Re:social engineering (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482091)

There's an app [apple.com] for that.

Re:social engineering (1, Flamebait)

Joce640k (829181) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482009)

They still have a market?

Apple took most of it, but it's the same people...

Re:social engineering (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482469)

Actually most went to android, because dumb people cant afford apple.

Re:social engineering (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482645)

out hipster demon, out of your moms basement

Re:social engineering (0)

lgw (121541) | 1 year,4 days | (#45483103)

Actually most went to android, because dumb people cant afford apple.

What does "able to afford" have to do with American purchasing habits in any way? The mostly-unemployed "occupy" crowd was very Apple-dominated from what we saw: it's the hipsters version of the $400 tennis shoes that were common in the poor urban school I went to.

Re:social engineering (4, Funny)

minstrelmike (1602771) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482161)

I'd go after the AOL market.

If you're still on AOL, then you definitely _need_ our updates kind sir.
Click on the Windows 95 start button then bring up Netscape then ...

Hallo Windows man (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45481741)

We are detect you having the problem with the Microsoft. We make you no having the problem. Fifty dollars, in rupees if please.

- "Mike"

Re:Hallo Windows man (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45481855)

Until I got to the end I was reading that with a Russian accent.

Re:Hallo Windows man (1)

l3v1 (787564) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481887)

It sounds best with an Italian accent :)

Re:Hallo Windows man (2)

gsslay (807818) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481919)

First step in completing a successful con; get the mark to think that they are smarter than you. If the mark thinks you are a ignorant third-worlder who can barely speak English (the natural language of all intelligent people), you will find it easier to scam them.

Looks like "Mike" has successfully achieved this.

Re:Hallo Windows man (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482171)

That's actually a method of filtering out the smart people who will waste the conman's time.

Re:Hallo Windows man (4, Insightful)

CambodiaSam (1153015) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481929)

I've received two calls from these scammers... and the example you provided is not far from the truth. When they claim to call from "The Windows" as the company name, it's painfully obvious what they are up to for about 99% of the computer using population. The problem is that 1%. They probably get a hit every once in a while that makes it profitable enough.

Re:Hallo Windows man (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482189)

I played along when they called me. Acted like i knew nothing about computers. I could almost hear him drooling over the phone. After 10 minutes of him trying to get me to click start, he asked what version of windows I had. When I told him it was linux, he said "Oh, f*ck you!" and hung up the phone. I was probably more entertained by that then I should have been.

Re:Hallo Windows man (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482703)

The guy that called me kept trying for 1/2 an hour even after I told him I knew it was a scam, and that I was just keeping him on the line so he couldn't be talking to someone who might believe him. I laughed and hung up when he threatened to disconnect my internet servicce.

Re:Hallo Windows man (3, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482567)

My father was hit by one of these scammers. Thankfully, he got suspicious when they said he should go to a website to download a program that they would use to remote into his PC. He called me up (with the guy on another line) to ask me advice. My advice was to hang up. He kept saying "but he showed me this" and "but this guy said that." My advice didn't change. "I don't care what he said or showed you or told you to do. HANG UP on him NOW!!!"

This "tech" was also calling from "Windows" and showed my father "proof" of the fact that his computer was filled with viruses (the Event Log which will have errors on even the cleanest and most secure of Windows PCs). For someone not savvy with computers, this is proof positive that this guy knows what he is talking about and that you need to follow what he tells you. For some reason, people just don't realize that Microsoft (or "Windows") isn't looking at everyone's computers and helping fix every virus infection. If they were able to do that, Windows might have a much better security reputation. (For the sheer fact that building a more secure OS would mean devoting less man power to calling users to help fix their PCs.)

Re:Hallo Windows man (1)

Ravaldy (2621787) | 1 year,4 days | (#45483241)

One of my hockey buddies was caught by this. He gave them his credit card number. When he told me this I said that he should cancel his credit card immediately. Luckily they only had time to charge $300 on his credit card. He's a nice guy but damn his BS meter didn't work well that time.

Re:Hallo Windows man (3, Insightful)

g0bshiTe (596213) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482769)

You forgot to introduce yourself as "Peggy".

Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 years (1)

a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481797)

The scammers behind it has just moved from country to country and when done in one they moved on to the next. When gone through all the worlds countries they are back in the same old countries again.

So its still ongoing - they have never stopped. The fact that not Interpol has managed to stop them is a sure sign of the fact that the police is nearly incapable of stopping common criminals who operate out of other countries.

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (1)

Greyfox (87712) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481891)

Pretty much, yep. I have a call go to voice mail every couple months that appears to be a demand in Spanish for a ransom for a relative they've claimed to have kidnapped. You can set up VOIP and operate your scam with impunity in another country. Even if someone manages to track it down, they'll just bust a few call center operators. They're never actually going to catch the guys who are running the show.

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482027)

You don't appear to care that your relatives have been kidnapped, you insensitive clod!

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482231)

They all disowned him.

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (2)

g0bshiTe (596213) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482805)

It might be his in-laws you insensitive clod!

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482385)

Dammit Gregory. Pay up!
I'm here stuck to this radiator for next to five years now!
Typing this with my toe on Luis' cellphone.
Not much time. I hear him coming now.

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45481963)

Too bad about the do not call list. It severely cut down my abilities to mess with telemarketers.

First one
"OH thank GOD you called this computer has been a mess for 3 days I can not get rid of this virus" *click*

second one I was busy putting in a AC unit
I was going to go with bringing up a linux VM and seeing how far he got. But the AC needed my attention more.
"its a scam you know it I know it move on" *click*

Third one is my best work so far
"That is totally cool how did you do that?"
"Oh the computer calls in and we reach out to our customers"
"No I mean how did you do that when I have no computers"
"well someone in your household must have one"
"Just me living here"
"there *must* be a computer"
"Nope got rid of the blasted things I hate them"
It was most amusing the guy could not conceive that I did not own a computer.

So far my record for getting them stay online before they hangup is 7 mins.

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (1)

DrXym (126579) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482525)

You should set up a VM running XP and let them fuck around in that for a while.

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (4, Funny)

g0bshiTe (596213) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482825)

I'd go one better and setup a VM running Windows 3.1

Come at me bro!

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482341)

Ha! In America we just shoot missiles at em or have the CIA/NSA/Seals snag them and then drop them off in Egypt for torture... I mean "questioning"

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (4, Interesting)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482607)

It's ongoing and it's also inaccurate to say "Microsoft's Customers" since it implies that these guys have a mailing list that they're using. I know a couple people who have gotten the call and they only have Macs. They're just moving from country to country and randomly calling anyone who will listen. I'm sure there are variations on the scam that adjust for specificity vs scope. For instance if I call and say I'm from Dell technical support and you're a Dell customer you're more likely to feel like it's true since they called you and knew you had a dell "how else would they know!". I'm actually pretty surprised that someone hasn't gone "all the way" and crafted the script to be like
"Hi, you called dell Technical Support a couple weeks ago and I'm following up to say that it appears that we didn't correctly resolve your issue."

The odds of getting someone who did call support in the last couple of weeks are low, but if you hit someone who did your chances of them believing you are very high.

Re:Its never stopped its been going on for 4-5 yea (1)

g0bshiTe (596213) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482793)

Sure blame the gypsies.

Microsoft (-1, Troll)

wb8nbs (174741) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481843)

One reason why my house is a Microsoft Free Zone.

Re:Microsoft (2)

nurb432 (527695) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481913)

While that is commendable, user training is more valuable and goes towards solving the problem instead of hiding it.

"Sorry we don't have these windows things you speak of", will be safe but "Why yes, we do have medicare, here is my SSN... " may not be.

Re:Microsoft (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482105)

One reason why my house is a Microsoft Free Zone.

In fairness, this has nothing at all to do with Microsoft, other than most people have it, and most people aren't really tech savvy.

This is just social engineering. Some guys calls up, claims to be from "tech support" or "the Windows Service Provider" and tells you a little techno-babble that sounds scary.

They don't actually have any information about you, and if pressed couldn't even tell you your IP address or even your name -- it's just a blanket approach.

But then they tell you to follow some steps to give them access to your computer, and they make some mumbling about how bad it is and attempt to either steal your files, or convince you that you need to buy some extra services.

A friends father in law got scammed with this a few years ago, and my friend was somewhat livid because he'd explicitly told them about such scams and to hang up on anybody who is telling you that. But people don't know that Microsoft doesn't really have your phone number and aren't monitoring your system.

If you know that 80% of everyone is running Windows, and most of them don't really have a good understanding of what's going on, all you think is some friendly guy is contacting you to solve problems you didn't even know you had. It's just like spam, hit enough people and some fraction will fall for it.

I've actually spent the last 5+ years explaining to my parents how to spot a scam, why they should never trust someone who calls them, and to be generally skeptical of such things. I've managed to turn my parents into somewhat skeptical, and a lot more street smart people by hammering home some of this stuff. But I had a great aunt who was a lot more trusting and got scammed several times.

And since every time someone tries to implement a Do Not Call list, the lobbyists cry "but what about our business model" and the protections get weakened to the point of being meaningless.

And since everyone can fake their phone number (which to me is a huge part of the problem) people see something on their call display and believe it. Which means some douchebag is whateverthefuckistan can call you and look like anything they want to, and the phone companies and the companies who believe it's their right to call you exploit that.

I've actually set my Panasonic cordless phone to say "Unknown caller id means hang up", "Private caller means hang up". I still get stuff that gets through (when you see a local number and hear a long distance ring) -- but I start out with the assumption that I don't trust incoming callers.

But getting everyone to understand how these scams work is hard. Getting people to overcome a belief that others are honest and good takes work.

Re:Microsoft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482801)

"In fairness, this has nothing at all to do with Microsoft, other than most people have it,"

So what you're saying is that it is to do with Microsoft, and the sort of people that would use Microsoft software.

Re:Microsoft (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45483291)

So what you're saying is that it is to do with Microsoft, and the sort of people that would use Microsoft software.

No, I think he was saying you're a smug douchebag.

Re:Microsoft (4, Funny)

joe_frisch (1366229) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482271)

Yes, on linux when things don't work, I just search for my problem on google, find some website with a "fix", and then enter that command that I don't understand with root privs......

Re:Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482717)

Mine is getting there, still have access dbs at work to convert (LAMP style).

Re:Microsoft (2)

bmo (77928) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482731)

This scam works regardless of OS.

Teamviewer (one of the software packages they'll talk you into downloading) is completely legitimate and useful software and is truly cross platform . Not just "maybe it works on Linux" but it works on Linux flawlessly.

Here, go get it and play around.

http://www.teamviewer.com/en/download/linux.aspx [teamviewer.com]

You can't fix layer 8 except through education about best practices, and that's only if the person you're teaching is willing to actually listen - a rarity.

--
BMO

Re:Microsoft (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45483147)

But I don't trust any site made with ASP.

I got one (1)

roarkarchitect (2540406) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481889)

I told him to go F%$$%%% himself. and for one of the lower your credit card rates - I asked for his phone number so I could report him to the FCC - that shut him up.

Re:I got one (2)

Megane (129182) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482035)

Joke's on you, the FCC doesn't care, though the FTC might.

Re:I got one (1)

roarkarchitect (2540406) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482303)

Actually - no it's the FCC (you had me worried) http://www.fcc.gov/complaints [fcc.gov] BTW - This is just derivative of the toner sales phone calls companies used to get. They would ask you for the model # of your photocopy machine and then send you over priced toner - that they swore you ordered.

Re:I got one (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482665)

Joke's on you, the FCC doesn't care, though the FTC might.

Federal Communications Commission.

The people who regulate using the phone and the internet for business.

The joke is really on you, because you're utterly wrong.

Re:I got one (2)

BronsCon (927697) | 1 year,4 days | (#45483183)

Both care, actually. As does your state's Attorney General. I reported shit like this (fake collection company called me re: an account that had a balance when the bank making the loan was bought by another bank -- on my credit report it looked like I just stopped paying, but in reality the creditor just changed) to all three and the only one who contacted me back was the AG.

In the interest of full disclosure, the bank my loan was through was bought by a Native American tribe, after which it was operated on Native American land. The type of loan I had through that bank can only be legally funded or collected by a legal US entity and Native American tribes residing on Native American land are legally foreign entities, so they no longer had legal standing to collect on that loan. They knew this; and so did I, so I stopped paying once they bought the account.

Fast forward 3 years and the original loan still appears on my credit report, with payment history just suddenly stopping and a note that the account was transferred. That's perfectly normal when one creditor buys another (I've had 3 credit cards do that in the past year; thankfully it doesn't affect your credit score if the previous creditor reports it correctly), but usually whoever bought the account will start reporting, as well, which did not happen with this account. Why? Because the tribe that bought it was not legally entitled to own it. So, when I got a call from a debt collector stating that I owed (name of original bank) $2100 for a $700 loan I took out 3 years ago, I asked for (original bank)'s mailing address. When they told me they could not provide that, I said something to the effect of "First of all, Federal law requires that you provide physical contact details upon request before you can collect a penny from me; second, that bank hasn't existed for 3 years now, so they don't have an address. The tribe that bought them has no legal standing to collect and I will be more than happy to have my attorney send you documentation affirming this if you can provide YOUR address" which was met with an "For security reasons, I can't provide that, either". After two weeks of them calling me daily and making vague legal threats, I figured out that it was the tribe who bought the account; I informed them that I knew who they were and where they were calling from and they insisted that I could not. When I told them I was contacting the FCC, FTC, and California AG about calls originating from (phone number they hadn't called from -- but the actual number I used when I called them back for this -- and an address on Native American land, associated with said phone number) perpetrated by (owner ob said phone number) all they said was "good luck with that" and hung up. Never heard from them again, but I did receive confirmation from the AG that my information was correct, along with advice to contact the AG again immediately if I get another call like that.

Since I promised full disclosure... In the years leading up to this, I did have credit problems and I've dealt with (and paid!!) legitimate debt collectors quite a bit as a result of that. There was nothing legitimate about these people and further research revealed that even had I tried to continue paying on that loan after they bought the bank it was through, I could not have done so; they never set up payment processing of any sort. Clearly their intent was to force these accounts into delinquent status and attempt to collect several times the balance (my loan balance was around $350 when they bought it, they were attempting to collect 6x that!!) as a collection company rather than the actual loan amounts as a bank. Fraud, plain and simple. But, since it occurred on Native American land, the US government has to hand it over to the tribe for investigation and prosecution, which of course never leads anywhere, but at least they stopped calling me after I identified them.

Oh sure... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45481901)

NOW they listen to the IT guy's instructions?

Re:Oh sure... (1)

0racle (667029) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482557)

Seriously, they won't listen to they guy they know is paid to do this but some random guy on the phone 'ya, this seems legit.'

Fraud aside, interesting use of tech. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45481903)

I think it's interesting how cheap VOIP and cloud based services have enabled fraud scammers to base their operations anywhere in the world with ease. .. And even easier to mess with said scammers. There's some great videos on youtube of getting these guys to waste their time in some hilariously configured honeypot VMs. I'm tempted to do it myself.

After next April .... (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481933)

.... these folks may be the only ones left willing to support XP. Make sure you get their phone number.

Had one of those at work... (1)

mlts (1038732) | 1 year,4 days | (#45481939)

Had a guy call about that at work pretending to be "tech support" last year.

The only problem is that regedit doesn't do much on AIX7, nor does attempting to run Win32/Win64 based executables. I asked him if he knew any patch to get POWER7 to work with this... needless to say, the conversation didn't last long.

Re:Had one of those at work... (1)

Megane (129182) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482017)

Doesn't do much on OS X either, though at least it runs the same CPU architecture as Windows these days.

These people don't have a list of "Microsoft Customers", they simply know that Microsoft is such an 800-pound gorilla of a monoculture that they can call any random phone number, claim to know that you run Windows, and if you don't, that's simply statistical error.

Re:Had one of those at work... (2)

minstrelmike (1602771) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482127)

These people don't have a list of "Microsoft Customers", they simply know that Microsoft is such an 800-pound gorilla of a monoculture that they can call any random phone number, claim to know that you run Windows, and if you don't, that's simply statistical error.

Exactly. It's like the grandma scam.
Hello, Grandma?
If the person on the other end hangs up, no problem. If she says, "Is that you Laura?" then the caller _is_ Laura.
The reason the US Post Office is still hanging on is because actual physical junque mail is still cost-effective at a 1.8% return rate.
It's like a salesman who is only going to sell to one out of a hundred people. The first thing to do is to talk to 100 people and then hard sell the 3 that keep talking to you for more than 30 seconds.

no, I'm not Jim Bell, really. or Ted K, either. (1)

Thud457 (234763) | 1 year,4 days | (#45483049)

I would gladly contribute some sweet, juicy BTC to a kickstarter to put these kind of annoying parasites out of business. The ones plying their shite via television and junkmail also. Preferably by at the same time removing them from the gene pool and the material realm.

Actually, I have no idea why I even have a telephone. But everyone else thinks I should have one.

Got one of these (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45481955)

They told me they had received a trouble ticket because my computer was running slow. I told them it couldn't run at all since its legs had been amputated.

*Click*

--Captcha "herpes", somehow appropriate for scammers

Seems call operations should be too expensive (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482077)

I've received around a dozen of these calls from "Windows Technical Support" and similar names, including 2 just this month. They're laughably inept, but no doubt a few among the clueless users would fall for it. They've taken to hanging up on me when I play with them a bit. Don't know why my number got on their lists at all.

What baffles me about the whole thing is how can this scam be worth the expense of running a call center? Is it really that successful that it can turn a profit after paying for a call center? And the call centers themselves, and their employees-- I've heard call center businesses are notoriously unscrupulous, but the employees manning the phones would have to be very dim not to figure out that they are involved in a scam. Maybe they don't care as long as they get a paycheck. But since the whole thing is a scam, why not cheat the employees too? It's hard to credit another possibility, that it's actually just a one or two person operation with the scammers themselves working the phones. Doesn't seem like they could call enough people that way to have reached everyone as many times as they have.

Re:Seems call operations should be too expensive (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482201)

A call center operates on a large scale, and is designed to accept communication coming in as well as outgoing. A call scam can be done by two guys with a call-id-blocked phone number and access to an online phone listing (or just a random number generator).

There is no Microsoft Customer list that they use, there is no room full of people to take your follow-up calls, there are just a couple liars trying to con people who don't have a trusted source of computer maintenance/advice.

Re:Seems call operations should be too expensive (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482243)

What baffles me about the whole thing is how can this scam be worth the expense of running a call center?

For the same reason spam is profitable, because 2% or so of people fall for it.

So you've got a whole large number of cheap labor, calling from VOIP lines overseas, who may or may not get told to fuck off 100 times each day. But the two who think you sound like you're legit, well, that's probably your quota anyway.

The economics of this doesn't mean you have a bunch of North Americans hanging around in a call center getting paid decent money. You have hundreds (or thousands) of people in a foreign country who have been coached to learn enough English who just call huge numbers of people and hope for even a modest rate of people falling for it.

Doesn't seem like they could call enough people that way to have reached everyone as many times as they have.

Do you know why some of the time you get nobody on the phone? The computers dial a vast amount of numbers, and when one connects they direct to an available operator. There isn't always someone there to answer.

And that's why you can get the same call 10 times in a week. It's purely made up on volume.

After all these years, when my phone rings, unless I know the number, recognize the voice, or can reach a threshold at which I believe that it's a legitimate call (which requires you be able to provide me with information, not the other way around) -- I more or less start out half hostile on the phone. Because some months, as many as 95% of all incoming calls are just scams. At least, before I started blocking "Unknown" and "Private Caller" -- if you won't tell me who you are, I'm not answering.

scripts (4, Insightful)

minstrelmike (1602771) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482087)

Hello valued customer. Remember last year when you called our help desk and then sat on hold for 25 minutes before hanging up?
We're very sorry about that and we're just now getting through our backlog and would like to fix your computer now...

or

Hello valued customer. With our brand-new AlwaysOnMonitoringTool (TM), we amazingly smart computer geeks in the cloud are able to see you are having some problems with your computer but we cannot see all of the problems and need some help getting in and fixing it....

I can easily see novices, grandmothers and wannabe CEOs falling for crap like that. Computing is magic to most people and if you don't sound like Voldemort, then you must be one of the good wizards.

Re:scripts (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482319)

Well with the recent marketing pitch from OnStar it should be even more believable. If the mark asks just say it is like OnStar but for your computer. And now I need to go patent that idea.

Re:scripts (2)

wbr1 (2538558) | 1 year,4 days | (#45483149)

I work for a repair shop and we just had a person get hit. They were having issues with the windows 8.1 update (it killed their wifi). The actually called (who they said was) microsoft. In the middle of phone tag for that, the scam call came in and they thought it was the support people they called.

Boom goes the dynamite. Whoever this tech was had them get on one of their old XP machines, and then proceeded to guide them into bricking it.

My story (1)

The Mayor (6048) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482133)

I posted a comment/question to a support web page for the backup device I use. About 10 minutes later, I get a call from a support technician, asking me to do stuff on my computer to verify the problem. He asked me to go to the "Start" menu, and open up something inside the control panel. I told him I don't own any Windows machines. He hung up almost immediately.

I should have strung him along for a while to see what he was trying to do. Oh well...next time.

Youtube Recording! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482135)

I remember watching this last year: http://youtu.be/u7zuQ8mYpog Some guy recorded an example of these scammers calling!

I got called (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482137)

Awhile back I got a phone call at 10PM. I answered it, partly because I thought it might be my brother, and mostly because I was mostly asleep. The guy mumbled something in an Indian accent that I couldn't understand, though I did catch something about my computer being slow. I mumbled something back, that he probably couldn't understand (I told you I wasn't awake), and hung up. Next morning, I realized that it was an attempted scam.

I ask them, "What's my IP address?" (1)

david.emery (127135) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482159)

That throws them off-script. I say, "If you're telling me my computer has viruses, you must know the IP address of the infected computer."

And then when they give me some Windows mumbo-jumbo, I'll say, "But all the computers here are Macs."

Re:I ask them, "What's my IP address?" (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482969)

That throws them off-script. I say, "If you're telling me my computer has viruses, you must know the IP address of the infected computer."

They'll say "Of course, it is 192.168.1.254".

Re:I ask them, "What's my IP address?" (1)

david.emery (127135) | 1 year,4 days | (#45483207)

Or 127.0.0.1 :-)

Re:I ask them, "What's my IP address?" (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45483331)

::1

It's not hard to tell (5, Informative)

roc97007 (608802) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482177)

I do technical support, but people have to come to me. I tell all my customers and potential customers that nobody cold-calls you, tells you they "have noticed" that your machine needs repair, and offers to do same. This is guaranteed to be a scam.

Other indications: A heavily accented voice saying: "Hello, my name is Frank and I am from The Microsoft and I am calling because we have noticed that your computer is infested with the viruses." I'm sorry, not only does nobody make that kind of call, nobody talks like that. (I have a friend who works at "The Microsoft", and he has decided he will henceforth be addressed as "The Frank"....) Like anything else these days, scam call centers are typically low paid foreign nationals with poor communication skills who are following a script. They do it this way because (a) the overhead is very low, and (b) it works, at least, often enough to be profitable.

These scams are not limited to fake tech support. I got a robocall a few weeks ago saying "This is a message from Chase bank. We regret to inform you that your Chase bank card has been frozen. To unlock your card, please press one to be connected to our security department". Obviously the helpful, heavily accented person you get when you press one will helpfully take your card number and identity, "unlock your card" and you'll have been robbed.

...which is similar to the call you'll get from "The Department of Sheriffs" that you'll be immediately arrested if you do not take care of this overdue bill immediately.

It's all the same type of scam. People sitting at card tables patiently calling number after number with the same, pre-written script, secure in the knowledge that there will be enough people who buy it to make their pimp happy and maybe they'll get a place to sleep that night.

Never give personal information to a cold call. Never believe anything you hear from a cold call. If you think it could be legit, conclude the call, look up the *real* number of whatever institution purports to have called you, and call them. Real institutions (even creditors) will understand when you insist on doing this. Do I really have to say, do *not* believe a cold call when they give you a number to call back.

Let's be careful out there.

Re:It's not hard to tell (4, Interesting)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482693)

Not long ago I gat a call from a 1-800 number (I never answer these numbers.) They left a message telling me there was a problem with my credit card, and asking me to call them back and giving my the same number that showed up on call display.
Naturally I googled the number. About half the people were saying it was legit, and half saying a scam. I checked the number against the number on the back of my credit card, and it did not match. I calld the number on my credit card, just to be sure.
It turns out that there was a problem, someone buying show tickets on the east coast while I am on the west coast.

So even the banks are screwed up. They should be telling me to call the number on my card. I wonder what would have happened if I had just ignored the call. I was quite disappointed.

For the record, Royal Bank of Canada.

Re:It's not hard to tell (2)

NJRoadfan (1254248) | 1 year,4 days | (#45483035)

Ran into a similar problem in the past. The calls were legit, but they really should be telling customers to use the number on the back of the card since there is no way to verify that a random toll free number is 100% legit. Same goes if I happen to pick up the call. I tell the rep that I will call them back using the number on the back of the card because of security reasons which they have no problem with. Caller ID can be faked.

Re:It's not hard to tell (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | 1 year,4 days | (#45483097)

I was really surprised that it was legit. I usually just follow up on these to see what the scam is, so I can warn my less technical family members.

Re:It's not hard to tell (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45483305)

Which is illegal, on itself. FCC/FTC both have the bit it is illegal to spoof numbers. Also check with the Local State gov, many have made it illegal to spoof numbers,

Re:It's not hard to tell (2)

roc97007 (608802) | 1 year,4 days | (#45483163)

Not long ago I gat a call from a 1-800 number (I never answer these numbers.) They left a message telling me there was a problem with my credit card, and asking me to call them back and giving my the same number that showed up on call display.

Naturally I googled the number. About half the people were saying it was legit, and half saying a scam. I checked the number against the number on the back of my credit card, and it did not match. I calld the number on my credit card, just to be sure.

It turns out that there was a problem, someone buying show tickets on the east coast while I am on the west coast.

So even the banks are screwed up. They should be telling me to call the number on my card. I wonder what would have happened if I had just ignored the call. I was quite disappointed.

For the record, Royal Bank of Canada.

Agree completely. I've had two legitimate calls from fraud prevention for my credit card, with a number to call back that did not match the number on the back of my card. They really need to stop doing this. It sets consumer expectations that a number you receive in a cold call is legitimate, which is a very dangerous assumption. In both cases, I called the number on the card, got routed to fraud prevention, and took care of it.

In my case, it was a credit union in the pacific northwest.

Re:It's not hard to tell (1)

c (8461) | 1 year,4 days | (#45483003)

Never give personal information to a cold call. Never believe anything you hear from a cold call. If you think it could be legit, conclude the call, look up the *real* number of whatever institution purports to have called you, and call them. Real institutions (even creditors) will understand when you insist on doing this. Do I really have to say, do *not* believe a cold call when they give you a number to call back.

Can't mod you up more than you're at, so I'll say that if this was placed verbatim on a placard stuck to every single device with a connection to the outside world, there'd be a whole lot less of this nonsense.

have had a few calls from these assholes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482197)

They dont handle not having a windows machine in the house very well. They threatened my girlfriend the one time they called when she pointed out to them the fact that there has not been a windows machine in this house since the mid 90s.

Misleading headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482199)

This has nothing to do with Microsoft customers, they just dial random numbers. We've got two linux machines and a Macbook, we've not been MS "customers" in any way for over a decade. I tend to keep them talking for as long as possible by playing dumb and "needing to go and look something up", record so far is just over an hour with them "on hold" for five minutes at a time. There's also multiple videos of people messing with them using VMs [youtube.com] .

Do us a favor (4, Informative)

jamesl (106902) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482229)

Do the whole world a favor and keep these guys on the line as long as possible. While they are "helping" you, they're not scamming the vulnerable.

I find it's entertaining to talk to them as you imagine your 79 year old grandmother would. Inept but just able to do all that they ask ... after three or four tries.

"Just a minute, I need to start my computer. This might take awhile. I need to put the phone down, don't go away. OK, I'm back. Wait, I need to find my password. Hold on."

My dad fell for this one (1)

LordNimon (85072) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482241)

No one (least of all him) can explain why he thought it was legit, especially considering how paranoid he is about securing his data. I had to spend a large chunk of my vacation reformatting and re-installing everything on his computer.

Pride in ignorance (4, Insightful)

Dega704 (1454673) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482299)

I get sick of people and their "I'm not a computer person so it's not my fault" attitude. It's like getting in a car accident, taking your car to the shop, and then proudly declaring "I don't know how to drive!" to the mechanics. If random weirdo walks up to someone and says "You're sick! Bend over and let me give you this suppository!", are they going to do it? And then later say "I'm not a doctor, so how was I supposed to know?" It is beyond ridiculous in a world where computer use is such an integral part of everyday life.

Re:Pride in ignorance (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482529)

I get sick of people and their "I'm not a computer person so it's not my fault" attitude.

And the rest of the world gets tired of the ignorant douchebag attitude that they're supposed to know how all this works.

If Snowden got passwords via social engineering, and Spear Phishing can get corporate executives of technology companies, you pretty much have to assume lots of people are vulnerable.

Short of giving people a course in "how to spot a scam" and "assuming everyone around you is a lying bastard", it's tough to make this kind of thing go away.

But, hey, when your parents or grandparents get scammed, you can put on all of the "smug little prick" act you want to, and see if they don't tell you to fuck yourself. Or you can grow the fuck up.

No editorial standards ... (3, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482347)

Being a Microsoft customer isn't causing people to be targeted. The callers are posting as Microsoft technicians, making it relevant only to Microsoft customers.

There's a vast difference between the two.

Why is it difficult to identify the call source? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482431)

There has to be a point to point connection between the originator of the call and the person receiving it. Why is it so hard to shut these operations down.

The problem with email I understand, but is the phone network that screwed up? Or is it just resistance from the Telcos to protect their customers?

I Got One (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482461)

I recently got a call from one of these. Working as a Network admin for a small school I asked them if they had a case number or a ticket with the name of one of my colleagues, they said yes but wouldn't give me the name and kept saying it was MY computer infested with virus (that's how they said it) and they said they worked for "Windows". I told them I ran OSX and they said YES that version of Windows was virus. I laughed and asked if they worked for Apple, OSX, Windows, or Microsoft and they said "YES" I laughed harder and they hung up.

How to almost get scammed... (4, Interesting)

MobyDisk (75490) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482491)

I work for a fortune 500 that uses Unisys in India for our helpdesk. I had 2 outstanding requests with them when I came down with a cold and had to work from home for a few days. When a heavily accented Indian guy called my cell phone telling me he was calling from the helpdesk, and that I could go to logmein.com and he would remote in and take a look, it almost sounded legit.

This could easily have fooled someone since I had outstanding incidents, we use an Indian helpdesk, they do use logmein, and they do have my cell phone number (which they might actually use since I was not at my desk at work). The primary remaining tip-offs were: 1) They didn't know my incident number and 2) My requests were for hardware issues not software. But if I had a problem like being unable to login to Outlook or access a network share, I wouldn't have had much reason to distrust them.

Re:How to almost get scammed... (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482621)

Which is a good reason to avoid outsourcing to India - then the risk will be lower - unless you have people from India working at your local helpdesk.

Re:How to almost get scammed... (1, Troll)

DexterIsADog (2954149) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482941)

So by your logic, if the scammer had a U.S. southern accent, that would be a good reason not to hire people from Georgia?

Did you really think about it, or did an ingrained prejudice against offshore workers just write your post?

I love these guys (3, Informative)

tipo159 (1151047) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482517)

We (my wife and I) haven't gotten a call in a while, but a month ago we were getting daily calls.

We would ask them questions about exactly what part of Microsoft they work for. We would ask them what their real name was and where were they really calling from. We would echo back everything that they said to us. We would note that we only have Mac and (other) Unix systems systems in the house and then give various takes on "how could you be getting warnings from our Windows computer when we have none here". At one point, we had a contest to see how long we could keep them on the line until they got frustrated and hung up.

We haven't gotten a call in over a month.

Re:I love these guys (1)

Arethereanyleft (442474) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482807)

I do that kind of thing, too. My best is about 5 minutes. I try to act confused and tell them my computer is old and slow.

Re:I love these guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482881)

I have gotten several of these calls. First one I just argued with them and pointed out I knew it was a scam. Second one, I went along with it pretending to be doing the things they wanted me to do. I did it very slowly and acted like I had no clue how to use the computer so needed a crazy level of detail to follow their simplest of instructions.

They said, do this...how do I do that....click on this....how do I, can you describe to me what I am supposed to be doing, etc.

They would say, you should see this appear, and I would describe what I "saw" even though I wasn't at my PC. I got up and went to the bathroom and while in the bathroom they asked me to execute a command from the run prompt I didn't know and I couldn't describe to them what it would do so I just said, I know this is a scam and I haven not been at my computer for 5 minutes. The lady swore at me and hung up!

Next time, I am going to pretend I live in a mansion and tell them I have to get to the computer room and it is on the other side of the house and will take me a couple of minutes to get there. Then when I "get to the computer room: I will ask which computer and "have to boot them all up as I have 7". Those will take another few minutes to boot. Will be fun to see if they decide to hang up first or if I finally have something else to do and have to end it!

they tried it with my mother in law (1)

lunatick (32698) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482689)

She doesn't even own a computer. My (computer ignorant) wife was there and spoke to them. When they asked her to turn on the computer she said, "well if you can tell there is malware on the computer you would know whether it was on or off and already be able to access it. Do you think I am stupid?"

I have never been so proud of her.

I had one of these calls. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482739)

I don't know where they got my number, but the conversation was amusing.

Caller: "Hi, I'm from Windows support and I am calling you as we have reports coming from your computer because it has been infected"
Me: "I doubt that"
C: "Your computer is telling us it is, so it must be"
M: "How did you get my number?"
C: "You gave it us when you registered Windows. We have reports coming from your computer indicating it has been infected"
M: "No I didn't and no you don't."
C: "We do, Windows sends them automatically"
M: "I don't use Windows"
C: "You must do. We have reports from your Windows computer"
M: "Pretty sure I know which operating system I'm using and it isn't Windows"

This went back and forth for a little while with the caller trying to convince me I ran Windows. They hung up eventually.

IF Telecos (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45482903)

are in bed with the Fed and they really 'believe' they are doing this for national security reasons (and not just the additional short term revenue) THEN why isn't there a phone number to report ANY of this activity?

Wouldn't you think some serious libertarian tea-party patriot would have realized by now that this is a serious assault on personal freedom? Wouldn't you think Microsoft would be interested in tracking down these perpetrators who are adulterating their brand? Wouldn't you think that Telcos and ISPs, whose services are being used to perpetrate fraud, would be interested in protecting their customers and engendering the good will of all?

OK that last bit went a little over the top, I agree...

these people are incredibly persistent (3, Interesting)

sribe (304414) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482907)

A month or two ago, I was getting daily, sometimes twice-daily calls from these clowns in India. I told the first one that I knew it was a scam, and was even explaining exactly how the scam works, when I was interrupted with "I assure you this is not a scam" and practically being ordered to quit arguing and let him fix my PC.

Another time I told the guy "go fuck yourself", which was greeted with a long pause, and then "I'm sorry sir, I'm in an office right now and cannot do that here".

Another time I laid into the guy, lecturing him about being a criminal parasite, and a "worthless sack of shit" among other terms, and we got into this thing where I was cursing a blue streak while he said over and over, almost rhythmically, in that heavy Indian accent "shut up, shut up, you shut up, shut up, shut up, you shut up..."

Another time I asked the guy "do you like to fuck monkeys?", and when he responded with some confusion I explained "I was just wondering, since obviously your father fucked a monkey to make you", and then he just continued as though I had not just insulted him.

Really, it seems impossible to get these shit-filled monkey-fuckers to give up and hang up, no matter how badly you abuse them. But there is one thing I never had the patience to try... I'm not a Windows user, but I do have some Windows VMs, so I've thought that I should fire up a copy of one, follow their instructions, and when the hit me up for payment reply, "nah, instead I think I'll just delete the virtual machine we've been working in". Maybe that would actually piss them off enough to get them to hang up--you think?

If I have time I just mess with them (1)

Control-Z (321144) | 1 year,4 days | (#45482991)

I kept one going for 35 minutes one day. I told the guy my version of Windows was Word 2007. I was somehow unable to figure out what a web browser was or how to open it. References I made to Safari and Finder should have cast doubt on whether I had Windows at all. Then after the frustrated (but very patient) guy got his supervisor on the phone I revealed that I didn't have Internet. They lost interest very fast after that.

They have been extremely obvious in the past (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#45483101)

"Hello, my name is Brad Foster" says the man in a thick Indian accent. And then I hang up the phone.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?