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TechCentral Scams Call Center Scammers

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the my-personal-record-is-about-20-minutes dept.

Spam 251

An anonymous reader writes "At TechCentral, we get on average called at least once a week — sometimes far more often — by a friendly sounding Indian national warning us that our Windows computer is infected with a virus. The call, which originates from a call centre, follows exactly the same script every time. Usually we shrug them off and put the phone down, but this week we thought we'd humour them to find out how they operate. As this week's call came in, the first thing the "operator" at the other end of the line tried to establish was who was owner of the Windows computer in the household. I'd taken the call. It was time to have some fun. I told the scammer that I was the PC owner. He proceeded to introduce himself as "John Connor." I laughed quietly as I imagined Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator hunting down this scamster in the streets of Calcutta. Perhaps he should have come up with a more convincing name."

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1at post finally (-1, Offtopic)

bobmorning (316459) | about 2 months ago | (#47757707)

15 years I have waited for this

Re:1at post finally (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757863)

and you fucked it up

Re:1at post finally (-1, Redundant)

neilo_1701D (2765337) | about 2 months ago | (#47757919)

+1 funny

Re:1at post finally (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758573)

Sounds like my sexlife.

Re:1at post finally (-1, Troll)

Barack Nigama (3779375) | about 2 months ago | (#47757879)

Really? I get first posts twice a week. And I don't even try. I think maybe you're some kind of a stupid faggot.

Not so sure it's harmless (5, Interesting)

Infiniti2000 (1720222) | about 2 months ago | (#47757719)

It's not harmless stringing them along like that. What you're really doing is giving them invaluable experience and training in responding to people who might simply be on the cusp of getting taken.

Re:Not so sure it's harmless (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757811)

I rather like telling them to hold on while I go into the other room so I can hear them better, then setting the phone down with the line still open and going back to whatever I was doing before they called.

Re:Not so sure it's harmless (5, Funny)

Zeromous (668365) | about 2 months ago | (#47757979)

I deliver them to a VM i run just for this purpose, with the background of goatse.cx

I then tell them it's not so much the infection as it is the distention.

Re:Not so sure it's harmless (2)

tippe (1136385) | about 2 months ago | (#47758597)

Is it a linux VM? Or better yet, a VM that runs olde-tyme UNIX V7 on emulated PDP-11 hardware. Now that would be classic...

Re:Not so sure it's harmless (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 2 months ago | (#47758609)

One you just happen to have for this purpose? Sure, whatever you say.

Re:Not so sure it's harmless (5, Informative)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 2 months ago | (#47758275)

It's not harmless stringing them along like that. What you're really doing is giving them invaluable experience and training in responding to people who might simply be on the cusp of getting taken.

Acting like an idiot who types slow and has a LOT of questions is not only amusing but wastes time cutting into profits and capacity to contact new victims. As a bonus the experience may help advance your acting career. Ultimately on the job training arguments don't appear to me to carry sufficient heft to outweigh competing arguments. When you hang up and they talk to an honest to god sucker this also counts as on-the-job training.

Remember kids your computer is off, you have to walk slowly down creeking stairs into the basement to turn it on.. and once there it is very old... it takes *FOREVER* to boot. Be sure to express your displeasure with the performance of your computer.

Re:Not so sure it's harmless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758285)

I think it's good to have them go through all the steps so more people will recognize it when they get called by these people.

Got one of these once (5, Funny)

Peter Simpson (112887) | about 2 months ago | (#47757739)

I kept the guy online, playing dumb, for about 15 minutes, until he finally gave up and told me to call Microsoft.

At which point, I asked him if I should tell them I was running Linux.

His reaction was priceless...and unprintable!

Re:Got one of these once (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757885)

Did the same thing. When I told him I was running Linux, he said "Sir, you have been wasting my time!" to which I replied "You called me." Then he hung up. Priceless.

Re:Got one of these once (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757975)

My high score was 50 minutes. I kept pretending my computer was rebooting on it's own and took a long time to boot up. When I finally caved and told him I run Linux, he STILL tried to sell me because I could gift his product to my parents because 'older people are not so good with computers'.

Time permitting, I always take the call and keep them on as long as possible.

Re:Got one of these once (4, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | about 2 months ago | (#47758811)

On my first one, this is how it ended as I went to the website and downloaded the application and offered him the options of "Save" or "Cancel". This confused him for quite a while. He asked me to "Open" it , so I opened it in Package Manager and found the Exe contained another file inside the container. So I extracted that. Finaly we got to the non Windows issue and he hung up. This took almost 40 minutes due to trying to get remote access working.

These guys are getting smarter in regards to people being on to them.

The latest call was much shorter as they expalined my PC was uploading to some server. I reacted supprised and inquired as to the server my machine was logging into so I could check my router log. He immediately queried me on why I was skeptical. I explained that I wasn't, but needed to follow up on the breech with the network team to find the target server that was collecting our information. He again accused me of being skeptical and as I again said I wasn't, but needed security to follow up on the breech and check the network gateway logs, he simply hung up on me. They don't want to deal with anyone that understands computers.

That call never got to the event viewer or remote access. Was fun to have him hang up on me wihout even saying goodby.

Re:Got one of these once (2, Funny)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 2 months ago | (#47757927)

What could possibly be unprintable on slashdot?

"""
Fuck, shit, cock, ass, titties, boner, bitch, muff, pussy, cunt, butthole, Barbara Streisand!!
"""

Re:Got one of these once (4, Funny)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 2 months ago | (#47757965)

Barbara Streisand

Come on, what if my children had been in the room!?

Re:Got one of these once (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758121)

It's 'Barbra", not 'Barbara'.

Re:Got one of these once (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758715)

It's "anal", not "love".

But in your case we'll make an exception.

Forbidden words (1)

Ilarih (3525771) | about 2 months ago | (#47758661)

Normally those do not hear what you read. And so no problem. Different thing is if you are looking "pictures" of those and children sees your screen.

Re:Forbidden words (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 2 months ago | (#47758769)

Hey, I was kidding. Even a four year can read over your shoulder and although I encourage my kids not to use such language out of respect for people that are bothered by it I also tell them not to be scared of said words as they are just words.

But I draw the line at Barbra Streisand!

Re:Got one of these once (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758017)

What could possibly be unprintable on slashdot?

Unicode.

Re:Got one of these once (3, Interesting)

camperdave (969942) | about 2 months ago | (#47758119)

What could possibly be unprintable on slashdot?

There are a couple of choice ones that are unprintable, but we can't actually tell you because, well, they're unprintable.

Re:Got one of these once (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758169)

Denial of Global Warming...

Re:Got one of these once (1)

Tolvor (579446) | about 2 months ago | (#47758227)

Cthulhu Cthulhu C[sigterm]

Re:Got one of these once (2)

citizenr (871508) | about 2 months ago | (#47758307)

Unicode?

How to make a telephone solicitor mad (4, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | about 2 months ago | (#47758759)

Last century, I worked for a magazine sales company that did telephone soliciting. We loved it when people slammed down the phone because it meant no wasted time. The worst was when someone wanted to chat. One time a kid answered the phone and I asked for the dad. She said, "He's out in the garage under the car" and ran off to fetch him. It was a dillemma what to do next. Hang up? wait?. Another time the person on the other end kept repeating only the word yes during my sales pitch and then 5 minutes in switched to "can you please speak chinese". Even when I said "goodbye".

These days, I tell them I'm really glad they called and I need to move to the phone by the computer so I can purchase what they are selling. Then I set the phone down and go about what I was doing.

Why is this on Slashdot? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757743)

Everyone here is aware of those scams, why is this even a news? Just go on youtube and type "call center scammers" to hear and see how they actually try to scam people instead of reading this article (it's blog post at best so no idea what it's doing on some tech web site).

Re:Why is this on Slashdot? (1)

idanity (591710) | about 2 months ago | (#47757931)

agreed, this belongs on Redit or another similar place.

Truly the best scams (5, Insightful)

blueshift_1 (3692407) | about 2 months ago | (#47757747)

All the best scams make you feel as though they are helping you... Also, there are greater quantities of users who lack the standard knowledge to be able to see through these. That's the problem with making computing so main stream... it dilutes the depth of knowledge of the system.

Re:Truly the best scams (5, Interesting)

AudioEfex (637163) | about 2 months ago | (#47758211)

True, but the gap of "standard knowledge" isn't as bad as it used to be. At least it's getting better. If any message has gotten through, it's been not to give out information to an unknown phone caller. I'm sure it must work sometimes or they wouldn't be doing it, but since email spam has been largely eliminated from most end-user experiences, it seems going back to the phone scams is a bit too late because folks are going to click on an email link much more readily than give out any info to an unknown phone caller these days.

I have a friend in her 50's who's parents are in their late 70's, and they just got one of these calls last week. To give you an idea of their technical proficiency, they still use AOL mail (and Facebook is too difficult for them to use). The caller wanted their windows installation ID. They kept them on the phone for like 20 minutes - while they used their other phone to call Microsoft, LOL. The scammer gave up when they realized what was going on, and they never gave them any personal info. So, even they knew something was "wrong" and didn't fall for it. That's just one anecdotal example, granted, but again these are the very folks that they are trying to get who have wised up and are especially vigilant about phone callers in particular (organizations like AARP are actually really good at educating folks about not falling for scams).

The funny (sad?) part was the parents understood exactly what happened during the attempted scam (bad guy trying to get their computer info), but what they didn't understand was why Microsoft didn't seem very interested in "getting 'em" after the fact - they wanted to fill out a report about the scam, etc., and MS basically said "you did the right thing, thanks, /click" - they just didn't understand why MS wasn't going to investigate further, call the phone company to get records, etc. That was the only difficult thing for them to understand and had to be explained to them, LOL. So even though they may not totally get the larger view of the picture, they knew not to give out any information which was the important part.

I asked them which Windows computer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757751)

I told him I needed to know which of the 8 PCs in the room he wanted me to turn on. He replied "your Windows computer, sir". I reiterated that I needed him to tell me WHICH one of the 8 Windows computers in the room he wanted me to turn on. He went silent - he had no answer for it and he hung up.

Re:I asked them which Windows computer (1)

StatureOfLiberty (1333335) | about 2 months ago | (#47757987)

Same here. I still managed to keep him on the line for maybe 10 minutes. So, at the very least, that was 10 minutes he could not be scamming someone who didn't know better. Someone needs to develop some kind of phone bot that you can just transfer these calls to. Then it could waste their time in some automated fashion.

Re:I asked them which Windows computer (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 months ago | (#47758425)

A phone bot wouldn't work very well, but you could hire a call center. Maybe even the same call center.

Fail (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757757)

This article isn't particularly well done, their scam of the scammers was extremely limited and provided little to no additional information on this well known fraud. They also fail to realize that many of the people that work in these calls centers believe they are working valid jobs to some degree or another. They don't realize what they are doing is outright fraud and malicious (in some cases).

Re:Fail (1)

StrangeBrew (769203) | about 2 months ago | (#47757915)

If you believe that, then it's obvious you haven't had any dialogue with these people. The four letter tirades they consistently let loose on me when I used to called them out on what they were doing would not be tolerated in a valid job. So I switched tactics after the first year, and use the time to inform them of how turned on I was by the videos I found of their mother and that rather well hung goat. I get the same response, but feel somewhat more content when they eventually hang up.

Re:Fail (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758055)

Oh I'm not saying these guys are particularly smart, clever or good at customer service. But they don't have an understanding that what they are doing is truly illegal. Many of them see themselves as fulfilling more the role of a debt collector or something to that effect. Cleaning up resistant parties who might need a heavy hand or some strong arm tactics. As per usual as well they are likely just reading through a script. The CLSID trick is evidence of that, I doubt the majority of them have any understanding of where the value comes from and what it means. Granted there probably are some folks who know this is indeed fraud, but there are equally many who just believe they have a crappy job making support phone calls.

Re:Fail (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 2 months ago | (#47757933)

many of the people that work in these calls centers believe they are working valid jobs to some degree or another

The part about the CLSID trick would seem to belie that...

Re:Fail (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47758243)

many of the people that work in these calls centers believe they are working valid jobs to some degree or another

The part about the CLSID trick would seem to belie that...

The poster was saying that they think this is all valid, so that the CLSID always matches and is always the same thing doesn't seem to be a problem to them. I figure, they are just not bright enough to really think about it, which means this could be true.

But, I'm with you... It looks pretty clear that the operator and the engineer are pretty much the same person and if not, have to be sitting next to each other and are obviously both in on what's going down.

Re:Fail (3, Interesting)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 months ago | (#47758155)

They also fail to realize that many of the people that work in these calls centers believe they are working valid jobs to some degree or another.

No, that's not true.

The people who work in the call centers are the same pool of talent, and in many cases may be doing both.

But they know they're scamming when they're doing it.

The problem is that they often don't know they're scamming when they're offering real support, because they're unqualified to know that in many cases.

I've seen documentaries about the people doing these things, and they absolutely know they're scamming people. And the reality is, they simply don't care.

Nobody could possibly NOT know that they're just ripping people off.

The important thing to remember is to make sure your parents and friends who aren't from a tech background understand that this is a real thing, and that they're being lied to. Because way too many people fall for it when the nice friendly person calls to say they're gonna fix your problem.

Re:Fail (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758813)

When you make $3 a day, scamming someone with a $60000/yr+ salary isn't scamming. Its justice.

Re:Fail (1)

ArhcAngel (247594) | about 2 months ago | (#47758181)

This article isn't particularly well done, their scam of the scammers was extremely limited and provided little to no additional information on this well known fraud.

And yet you fell for the scam "article". Well played Timothy...Well Played!

weekly (3, Funny)

Spaham (634471) | about 2 months ago | (#47757759)

Is this the weekly article about people who decide to "take the call" and "investigate" and "make fun of the scammers" ?
We've seen this MANY times...

Re:weekly (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757883)

I'm extremely disappointed that Timmy didn't post a video of the support call.

My Father Got Hit By These Folks (4, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 months ago | (#47757767)

I was taking my boys out bowling last summer when I got a call from my father telling me that "Windows" had called him and told him his computer was infected with a virus. I immediately told him it was a scam and to just hang up. At first, he didn't want to "just in case they were telling the truth", but he eventually hung up on them. They had gotten him to go to a website but not run a program. I told him that even opening a website could infect him and to treat his computer as if it was infected. Later, when I examined the website and his computer, I concluded that the website was a simple page that linked to remote access tools. These were perfectly valid tools (e.g. TeamViewer) from the company's own servers, but obviously being used for nefarious purposes. Running these tools themselves wouldn't have been a problem - except for the scammer on the other end of the connection. The fact that he stopped short of running their tool saved him.

The same scammers (or others running the same scam) called him back a few times since. My dad might not be the most computer savvy, but he does learn. He's not going to fall for the same thing twice and now that he knows it's a scam he berates the person for a few seconds before hanging up on them.

Is he a senior? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758009)

These scumbags have a knack for calling seniors - old people - with great accuracy.

I'd like to know how they are getting the names and numbers.

Is AARP selling them a list of people and phone numbers? Everyone who has been hit by this are also AARP members; which isn't much of a correlation but what other organization would sell this information?

Are they somehow getting Social Security or Medicare lists?

Who is supplying the telephone numbers?

Re:Is he a senior? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758171)

Most of these numbers likely come from scam sites claiming to offer free/cheap medical services. Once you've entered your information, they sell it to everyone interested.

Re:Is he a senior? (0)

Jiro (131519) | about 2 months ago | (#47758255)

This also explains using names like John Connor. You and I would be able to recognize the source of the name. It's much less likely that a senior citizen would, so it gives them a way to filter out the people least likely to fall for the scam.

Re:Is he a senior? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 2 months ago | (#47758461)

On the call I got, I don't think he gave a name. I just assumed it was "Peggy".

Re:Is he a senior? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 2 months ago | (#47758445)

These scumbags have a knack for calling seniors - old people - with great accuracy.

I'd like to know how they are getting the names and numbers.

Is AARP selling them a list of people and phone numbers? Everyone who has been hit by this are also AARP members; which isn't much of a correlation but what other organization would sell this information?

Are they somehow getting Social Security or Medicare lists?

Who is supplying the telephone numbers?

That's interesting. I got one of those phone calls. I'm not an AARP member, but I'm old enough to be on their list (they keep sending me snail mail asking me to join). Unfortunately, they called after 10PM when I wasn't fully awake, so I didn't think to play with them. He said something in a thick accent I could barely understand about my computer being slow, and I mumbled something back that he probably couldn't understand and hung up.

Re:My Father Got Hit By These Folks (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 months ago | (#47758479)

What they hell do they do? Drop a key logger onto the machine?! Scary stuff. I can see the elderly getting hit by this.

And this is why I recommend Apple products. If you run the newer OSX, programs can't run unless it's blessed by Apple (signed). You can over-ride the default behavior, but that's something you rarely do if ever (well, unless you're a developer or toy with someone's pet project app).

Boring (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757779)

This is the most boring story ever. "I talked to him, gave him access to a clean computer with nothing of value and yanked the network connection before they did anything". I've had more fun and entertainment myself, such as them getting autodisconnected at their end after 15 minutes and then calling back to be strung along a while longer as I had them wait for my computer to boot or for me to answer the door etc. I even got escalated once because their script wasn't working, but I was bored by that stage so when the "supervisor" finally asked if I was using Windows or OSX and I told him it was Linux he just hung up.

thank you (-1, Offtopic)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 months ago | (#47757785)

drive through

Success rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757799)

"This scam can have serious repercussions, but considering the frequency of calls we get in the office, those behind it must have a reasonably high success rate."

Thats the problem here, the reason these scams are so common is because they dont need a high success rate. If their success rate is only 1% its still worth doing.

Re:Success rate (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 2 months ago | (#47758323)

I doubt their success rate is 1%.. Maybe 1% of people they actually talk to who happen to be sitting next to their computer.

But, even if you can get 1 call out of a thousand, it's an easy $300, not to mention a paypal account or credit card and a continuing "customer" you might be able to string along. Say you get 2 a day, $600/day isn't that bad for 8 house of getting hung up on.

Unimpressed (5, Funny)

namgge (777284) | about 2 months ago | (#47757815)

The author is overselling himself. You haven't scammed a scammer until you've got them to send a bag man from Nigeria to a remote Scottish Island to collect your investment in cash.

Re:Unimpressed (4, Informative)

neilo_1701D (2765337) | about 2 months ago | (#47758067)

Nice reference, Sir! That is one of the classics in 419 eater.

http://www.419eater.com/html/m... [419eater.com]

My personal favorite was The Incredible Shrinking Artwork (http://www.419eater.com/html/john_boko.htm). But you can waste far too much time on that site.

Re:Scambaiter sites are NSFW (0)

Technician (215283) | about 2 months ago | (#47758933)

Just a reminder that scambaiting sites are generaly NSFW. Some have explicit phontos and situations, and some simply due to the race isses. I got in trouble mentioning a 419 scam at work because it disparages a non white race only due to the country with the 419 Penal Code in the name of the scam.

Save scambaiting for off work hours if your complany is super PC sensitive. Do study the scams to prevent being a victim. Do educate your co-workers against Advance Fee Fraud. Don't call it 419 or mention Nigerian law. That could be a PC issue at work.

Re:Unimpressed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758129)

I remember 419eater doing that...priceless.

I get those and other calls (0, Troll)

future assassin (639396) | about 2 months ago | (#47757831)

2-3 times per week usually its for SEO placement in google. I accept the call and wait for the person to start talking. Just as they do I say "Google Canada, how may I help you?" Then usally I hear "What" "Ummm" "Shuffle" and a "Sorry what was that" and I say "You reached Google Canada, how may I help you"? Then slience.... and they hang up fast

A few times ago the girl sound hot so I decided to be nasty. I said "Hold on let me ask you this. Do you take it in the ass?" There some silence there. So I say "So I can assume that since you haven't hung up yet that, that is a yes?" I can hear people in the background as she still hasn't hung up the phone whlle I proceeded to tell her I'll buy the service if she takes it in the ass. After a bit she hung up.

I got those calls every few days (1)

bswarm (2540294) | about 2 months ago | (#47757833)

And wasted their time. Told them I have Linux, they handed the phone to the tier 2 tech, still didn't know what Linux was but insisted my PC had a windows virus. They never called back after the next trick I pulled on them.

Re:I got those calls every few days (1)

Virtucon (127420) | about 2 months ago | (#47757907)

Tell them you run VAX/VMS if you really want to screw with them. That's what I do anyway.

LOL! (2)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 months ago | (#47757837)

I had one of these fookers once and decided to have a little bit of fun. I played myself off as an absolutely dumb user with very, very short term memory and kept asking the representative to repeat himself. I strung them along for 30 minutes before finally revealing that I was using Linux. I got yelled at and then they slammed the phone down. I hate these pond scum predators.

Report the number to the FBI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47757857)

It's called International Wire Fraud, report it to the FEDs as well as your local phone company to have that number (or block of numbers) blocked.

Re: Report the number to the FBI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758423)

This is like the scam where they say they have good programmers. They keep calling and emailing. I have seen the bad work. Unfortunately, the Feds won't block that country.

Re:Report the number to the FBI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758607)

Better yet tell them this is your carphone and to call back on the landline. Guess which phone number they called.

At least (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 months ago | (#47757895)

you aren't getting contacted by a Nigerian 411 scammer with some dead relative or something or other and trying to deposit a magical sum of money in your account.

Re:At least (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about 2 months ago | (#47758321)

you aren't getting contacted by a Nigerian 419 scammer with some dead relative or something or other and trying to deposit a magical sum of money in your account.

FTFY.

Re:At least (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 2 months ago | (#47758929)

you aren't getting contacted by a Nigerian 411 scammer with some dead relative or something or other and trying to deposit a magical sum of money in your account.

And then he offers to look up phone numbers for you! [wikipedia.org] Perhaps you meant 419. [wikipedia.org]

but i'm on a mac (0)

jsepeta (412566) | about 2 months ago | (#47757899)

and therefore i know there's no viruses.

at this point in time is when i loudly tell the scammer to do horrible things to their family members.

There are more and more of these.. (4, Interesting)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 2 months ago | (#47757901)

I work in a repair shop. I see this every single day, and it is accelerating. Many are cold calls, but a surprising number are found in google searches. I had one today where someone was looking for outlook help as they could not access their email.

In my experience, most do 'semi' legitimate work, using normal tools for disinfection and optimization. These tools are things like hitman, MBAM, ccleaner, etc. Unfortunately, the techs do not seem very skilled, sometines causing damage, and more importantly they lie in a very convincing confidence game to get payment info and perform service. While I have yet to see anyone have extra fraudulent charges placed on them, the initial bill is fradulent given that the work never needed to be performed.

Also, if these "services" are so unethical as to lie to get you to pay, it is a small step to later using that payment information or selling it to third parties.

The worst one I saw is from a personal friend who called one of these services for assistance, paid 300 dollars for 3 years of remote assistance. One onthe to the day later, another company cold called him (he thought it was the first company). He allowed them remote access, and then when they wanted payment and he realized it was not the first company he asked them to disconnect. He was emotional and turned off his surge protector when they became pressuring and refused to disconnect. He left the room failing to realize it was a laptop and still on. The 'tech' then proceeded to delete most of the recently dated files in his user profile. These were very important files, and I was only able to recover about 85% with file recovery tools.

Unfortunately all these companies need to operate is a phone number and a simple VOIP system..maybe a quick templated website and domain. They can be set up in a very quick time, and exist outside of any willing jurisdiction to fight them. Education is the ONLY way at this time.

My Grandma (4, Funny)

master_kaos (1027308) | about 2 months ago | (#47757921)

Best way to annoy these guys is get them to call my grandma. She has 15 year old computer with 64MB ram that somehow runs xp. It literally takes 10 minutes to boot the pc. She also barely knows how to turn on the monitor. These guys were talking to my grandma for about 50 minutes when finally she said "maybe you should talk to my grandson he is in IT support", they promptly hung up after that.
She asked me if it was legit I said no, never ever listen to what these guys say because they will try to scam you and get your money. Unfortunetly sometimes she has a bad memory and 2 years later she fell to the exact same scam. I got her to call her credit card company to halt/cancel any payments, and I told her to buy a new pc because there was no way in hell I was reformatting a 64MB xp box. It took me over 2 hours just to backup documents.

Re:My Grandma (2)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 months ago | (#47758261)

Come on, just buy your granny a nice big tablet running Android and be done with it.

My friend was immune (4, Funny)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 months ago | (#47757925)

A frustrating friend of mine who periodically calls me for computer help but will argue with any help I offer got nailed by one of these guys. Except that he argued with them the whole time and wouldn't follow their instructions. The only thing that ended up being changed was that he deleted his browser icon from his desktop.

Netgear tech support linked to these guys (3, Interesting)

MHz-Man (1066086) | about 2 months ago | (#47757953)

A co-worker of mine told me that he called Netgear tech support for some help setting up a wireless router and his call got routed to these guys, or people almost exactly like them. From the description of the call, it looks/sounds like the exact same script/ploy. They asked him to run some command and said that the results of that command indicated that he had vulnerabilities on his machine. They'd need to remote in to install some stuff. He didn't fall for that last part, thankfully!

It's absolutely insane that a call to a well-known company's tech support line is getting sent to a scam like this. Yay outsourcing!

Re:Netgear tech support linked to these guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758183)

Unfortunately this can happen now...if you Google various kinds of support, there are 'promoted' results at the top (which are paid ads). They look like regular search results. And some of those are links to the scammer's websites.

Re:Netgear tech support linked to these guys (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758197)

He most likely called the wrong number from a fake Netgear site, but that's just a guess.

Re:Netgear tech support linked to these guys (2)

MHz-Man (1066086) | about 2 months ago | (#47758299)

He most likely called the wrong number from a fake Netgear site, but that's just a guess.

Nah it was most definitely Netgear's official line. Their tech support calls are getting routed to this company. He said that after the 1st call, he found a different Netgear number that wasn't specifically for tech support and called that. That person then directed his call to their tech support, which ended up being these scammers again!

I have had a few of these calls (5, Funny)

HornyBastard (666805) | about 2 months ago | (#47757959)

I usually get 1 of these calls per month.
I like to see how long it takes before they swear at me and hang up.
One time i started the conversation with "I like pie", and spent the next 20 minutes telling this guy about all the pies i have eaten in my life.

My favorite of all time was a lady with a very attractive voice. Every time she told me to do something, i made up a bullshit error message. She was sounding very confused when she finally asked me what version of windows i was using and i told her windows 19.
She tried to explain to me that the latest version of windows was windows 7, but about halfway through my story about how i wanted a very fast computer, so i built a time machine to go buy a new computer in the future, she started using some very colorful language, including a few words that i have never heard before, and i can swear in 17 languages.

Every time i get bored, i watch the phone and hope for another call from them.

seriously? (1)

nimbius (983462) | about 2 months ago | (#47758061)

This scam can have serious repercussions

Yes and thats why no one should do it. aside from dicking around with foreign scammers you're also making a very bold assumption that theyre not part of an organized criminal syndicate capable of learning from this mistake, gathering more information about you, and directly targeting you or your family members for not only clowning around with them, but publishing an article on the hubris of your interation. Antispam researchers are absolutely familiar with everything from death threats to kilos of drugs and explosives mailed to their personal address.

Re:seriously? (1)

iggymanz (596061) | about 2 months ago | (#47758559)

please provide link to news article about spam researcher who was sent explosives or narcotics.

Did anyone actually RTFA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758179)

I know noone does, but seriously?

They didn't scam anyone back. They played along, then chickened out before the scammer could do anything bad - not even wasting his time in the process.

What the fuck is that? Clickbait, that's what.

Use $deity to hit them (4, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | about 2 months ago | (#47758241)

The trouble is how to hit back at them. Normally the most that you can do is to waste their time & phone bill -- but your time is more precious than that. I wanted to try to get some of them to stop scamming and, to a limited extent, succeeded.

I had a phone call from one of these crooks claiming to be from Microsoft security center trying to tell me about a problem on my MS Windows machine (I run 100% Linux). After a few seconds I interrupted him and asked him if he was a religious man. He was puzzled and, after a couple of prompts, said 'yes'.

I told him that I was worried about his eternal soul ending up burning in the fires of hell because he was trying to steal money from people while he was alive. I asked if it was really worth it spending billions of years burning in hell for the sake of making some money in the few short years that he is alive. None of us is alive for many years compared to the billions of years in heaven or hell after we die.

I asked him to think about it before he went to sleep tonight. Where did he want to spend eternity ? Should he be doing the job that he is doing ? Is it worth it ? How will he be judged by God ? He was by now sounding a very different man from the one who started the 'phone call a few minutes earlier. Thanked me for being concerned about him. The call continued for another minute or so, me laying the eternity bit on very thick. Him getting quieter, before quietly thanking me again before the call ended.

I don't know what long term effect this will have on him, but hopefully he will decide that he ought to get another job. I did this a few times, some just laughed, then I got bored with the game.

What happens if they end calling the cops, fbi,etc (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 months ago | (#47758333)

What happens if they end calling the cops, FBI, power plants, ECT Will they be tracked down?

John Conner is a great scam name (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 months ago | (#47758343)

He proceeded to introduce himself as "John Connor." I laughed quietly

It's part of the scam. Disarming misdirection. For a while, part of you was favorably disposed toward the scammer and you were thinking about the ridiculous name instead of screaming in your head "This is a SCAM!".

Hello? Norm? This is Eddie Vedder in Accounting... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758623)

I always tell them, in tones of fearful concern, that my brother, who lives next door, is a forensic technician for the Attorney General's CID, and ask them to hang on the line while I get him to come over and collaborate with their highly trained security professionals to repair this alarmingly dangerous breach. More fun than blistering the ears of the 10th sleazeball bill collector in a row asking for a post-dated check to pay the same 15 year old bill disputed with somebody else. Ends the phone call quicker, too.

If you converse with these people, never utter the word "yes" to them, especially if they want to "confirm" your CC#. Especially if they already have it. Audio editing is even easier than photoshopping.

Best thing to do, though, is just hang up.

Just have them talk to my 3rd eldest, Larrisa (5, Informative)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 2 months ago | (#47758381)

http://itslenny.com/ [itslenny.com]

.

I was called a few days ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758391)

He asked if I owned a computer, so I said "You tell me" and he hung up.

I know two victims (1)

superid (46543) | about 2 months ago | (#47758451)

I know two elderly people, both bilked out of $300. I see dozens of stories in this thread about how so many of us have been called and how you like to string them along and frustrate them. I've been called at least a dozen times. We need something other than just frustration to battle them. How can we prepare tools and tactics to respond and try to stop this?

If you want to screw with them inexpensively.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758459)

If they haven't told you how much it is going to cost you, then you can always just use a visa gift card with a fixed amount on it of, say, $10 or so.... Of course, any purchase amount over the limit will be promptly declined, and it cannot actually impact your own credit score.

wrong article title (1)

beefoot (2250164) | about 2 months ago | (#47758583)

It should read "TechCentral almost got scammed by call center scammers". He had to pull the plug on the wireless router to disconnect the scammer.

Trap credit card numbers? (1)

goodmanj (234846) | about 2 months ago | (#47758683)

I wonder if banks have some sort of honeypot credit card numbers, which one could give to a known scammer to help catch them in the act. I clearly have no idea what I'm talking about, but there ought to be some way to turn the tables on the scammers here. (And yes, I've heard about the elaborate ways people have trolled 419 scammers, I'm thinking of something a little less time-consuming.)

What I do when I get these calls (1)

StefanJ (88986) | about 2 months ago | (#47758685)

These scammers also have web pages that offer "AOL technical support," "PC technical support," and so on, with 800 numbers prominently listed. So if an un-aware person (like my Aunt . . . ) hunts for help via Google they'll often end up getting in touch with these jerks.

I have a couple of variant responses worked out:

"So, in India, do they use the term 'con artist' or 'confidence trickster'?"

"So, does your mother know what you do for a living? Did she teach you to be a crook or did you go bad on your own?"

"Sorry, I only have Linux machines. I don't think you'll know how to fuck them up."

"Oh, good, I was waiting for your call. Let me go to the server room and pick up there."

"Oh, good, I was wondering what was happening. Let me turn the computer on." (Put down receiver, wait.)

i had one on for over an hour (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47758731)

i received a few of these calls and had some fun. one time there was a girl trying to help me and i played along downloading the client. but during that i stalled the whole time waiting for the download to complete. I kept having to tell her that I had only a dial up modem and the download was really slow. I would update her on the status of the download with slowly increment percentages.

The scams also try and use any of the available remote desktop solutions that exist. One site caught onto them using their software and put up a warning that this was happening.

Oh, what really messes with them is when I try to explain that I was using Linux the whole time.

I'm not surprised... (1)

matbury (3458347) | about 2 months ago | (#47758781)

I'm not surprised that these scams work. People will readily give their bank and credit card details to random strangers in the street, with clipboards, and wearing colourful vests with logos on, who claim to be collecting subscriptions for charities. How do you find out if they're legit?

Surprised at how abusive they can get (4, Interesting)

swb (14022) | about 2 months ago | (#47758931)

I took a call from one of these guys.

I happened to have a VM I use for testing up and running and I snapshotted it and figured I'd follow along with him just to see what he wanted done. This VM is on its own VLAN and behind its own firewall and public IP, but I kind of got cold feet about creds that could be on the machine or connectivity to my production LAN so I stopped before anything got installed (and I reverted to the snapshot, too).

Anyway, after I quit playing along I started to gently question who he said he was and the guy became really abusive and threatening, like he was going to save up for a plane ticket to fly to the US and beat me up or something if I didn't keep going. I was really kind of surprised at how far he took it.

At that point I figured dishing it out was fine, so I went full-on nasty with him and again I was surprised at his willingness to keep it up, especially considering I was pretty harsh.

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