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Security Crime Windows IT

Microsoft Customers Hit With New Wave of Fake Tech Support Calls 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."
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Microsoft Customers Hit With New Wave of Fake Tech Support Calls

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2013 @11:45AM (#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]

  • by schneidafunk ( 795759 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @11:47AM (#45481737)

    I'd go after the AOL market.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2013 @11:48AM (#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"

    • by gsslay ( 807818 )

      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.

    • by CambodiaSam ( 1153015 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:08PM (#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.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:32PM (#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.

        • by Cinder6 ( 894572 )

          I did something similar. Had the guy on the phone for over 30 minutes. I was on a Mac and did everything exactly as he said to. It took about 10 minutes before he was able to get me to open a web browser ("I don't have a button that says 'Start'" — would have worked for modern Windows as well), and then another 15 minutes before he could get me on the right website (he left out a dot in the URL, so it became "wwwscamsite.com").

          At the end I told him I didn't need the scam and that my Mac was fine.


      • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:15PM (#45482567) Homepage

        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.)

      • 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.

      • The point of saying something so obviously stupid as 'the windows' is to quickly weed out anyone who is going to figure out the scam. If you're stupid enough to continue past 'the windows' sort of comments then its likely they can scam you. If you don't continue past that point, they've saved themselves time by not dragging you part of the way through the scam when you figure it out.

        They are intentionally targeting that 1% by making it obviously a scam to the other 99%.

        Problem is, they are so good at the

      • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @06:10PM (#45485513) Homepage Journal

        And that's exactly why they start with something so stupid. If you're going to see through their scam, they want you to do it early and hang up so they can call a (they hope) softer target.

      • by dwywit ( 1109409 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @06:48PM (#45485825)

        I look forward to these calls - any time the CND shows "OVERSEAS" I get ready.

        "Hello Sir, I'm calling from....your computer is...." the usual crap.

        "Which computer? I have lots"

        "All of them" (that was funny)

        "Which IP address?"
        Lather, rinse, repeat.

        Finally tell them I use Linux. One guy actually called me a liar when I said that. I held him on for a few minutes denying I used Windows (if he's going to lie to me, I will return the favour) - he got more and more angry, finally called me a fucking arsehole and hung up. My kids came and asked why I was laughing so much.

    • by g0bshiTe ( 596213 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:39PM (#45482769)
      You forgot to introduce yourself as "Peggy".
  • 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.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      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.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:12PM (#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.

    • 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"

    • by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:19PM (#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.

      • by quetwo ( 1203948 )

        I run a phone system that covers 5 exchanges... It's fun watching them when their auto-dialer starts hitting our numbers. I just route them all to the same recording -- which they hit just short of 50,000 times.

    • Sure blame the gypsies.
  • Oh sure... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:05PM (#45481901)

    NOW they listen to the IT guy's instructions?

    • by 0racle ( 667029 )
      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.'
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:09PM (#45481933)

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

  • 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.

  • 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

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:38PM (#45482243) Homepage

      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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by minstrelmike ( 1602771 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:22PM (#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...


    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.
    • 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.
    • by wbr1 ( 2538558 )
      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.

      • Yeah but what are the chances that someone with a Microsoft product would actually be having troubles and need to call tech support?
        Never mind ;-)
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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."

  • by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:31PM (#45482177) Journal

    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.

    • by Capt.DrumkenBum ( 1173011 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:30PM (#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.
      • 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.
        • 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.
      • 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.

      • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

        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.

        I got a call earlier this week from fraud prevention. The message said to call the 1-800 number OR to call the number on the back of the card and use a certain option.

        Of course, I just called the number on my card, hit 0 to get a human, and had him redirect me.

        And yes, it was Royal bank

        • Maybe the changed is since it happened to me. My message said nothing about calling the number on my card. I did point it out to the person I talked to on the phone.
          If so, good for them for fixing it.
    • by c ( 8461 )

      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 plac

    • I actually got a legit cold-call from my cable company offering a pretty sweet package bundle thing for 12-months. Red flags went up just because, you know, cold call, but they were actually smart enough to have it set up such that I didn't have to provide any personal information to the cold caller (anything she needed was right in front of her) and the service appointment was set up within 15 minutes or so.

      That said many cold calls are scams, and you should certainly be on your guard.

      • Agreed they can be legit, but it's sometimes tricky to tell when they are.

        The last call I got from "The Microsoft" telling me that my machine was "infested with the viruses", they asked for me by my full correct name. This alarms me. I am now wondering if someone's customer list was hacked and used for social engineering purposes by a scammer.

    • I should say, I've really been tempted to keep one of those aerosol air horns (like you're supposed to keep in a boat for emergencies) by the phone. After establishing a scam in progress, a quick blast and then hang up. But I've been told that this is probably illegal.

    • If this an actual thing, where people are able to be scammed (and invoiced!) for f**king over their computers, what about simply cold calling people with a spiel like this but actually FIX their !@#$ computer?

      Most everybody has a crapton of malware on their computer, so if you call with a semi-legitimate intro, but actually do at least a half-assed job of fixing their computer, get a remote session going, etc. then why not make a few honest bucks?

      Call back the people you've helped in 2-3 weeks and make sure

      • That's.... actually, not a bad idea. My only hesitation is that a large number of the people you cold-call will inevitably be the ones who had received calls from scammers and seen through it, or even worse, had been previously crapped on by scammers. I contend there would be a significant chance that your day would consist of three or four police whistles in your ear at high volume. You'd have to provide for that.

        When I retire, maybe I'll cold-call people and legitimately fix their computers for free, j

  • Do us a favor (Score:5, Informative)

    by jamesl ( 106902 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:37PM (#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."

    • user I have a error here

      tech whats the error?

      user I dont know, its just a error with a screen and now its gone, nothings happening

      tech Ok, restart your computer

      user ok, just a minute (2 minutes later)

      tech did you restart?

      user I pressed the button but nothing is happening, the computer is blinking.

      tech what do you mean the computer is blinking?

      user Never mind it stopped, i restarted, now the computer is just a black screen

      tech do you mean the monitor?

      user No, i mean the computer, its just black.


  • 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 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dega704 ( 1454673 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:46PM (#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.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:09PM (#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.

      • Well, I suppose if you disagree with me you could just mod my comment down instead of flaming me; Although you probably don't have any mod points because you post anonymously, and because your idea of an insightful comment is to fling insults and curse words like a 14 year old on Xbox Live. You obviously didn't read past the first sentence, or you would have seen that I'm not implying that everyone needs to be a computer expert to use a PC responsibly any more than someone needs to be an auto-mechanic in o
  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @12:50PM (#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.

  • by MobyDisk ( 75490 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:03PM (#45482491) Homepage

    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.

    • by Z00L00K ( 682162 )

      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: (Score:2, Troll)

        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?
        • Well no, but there are other reasons to not hire people from Georgia. Such as the fact that they're all racists.

          I'm not sure if this counts as satire or not...

  • I love these guys (Score:4, Informative)

    by tipo159 ( 1151047 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:07PM (#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.

    • I remember when I was a teenager I got a call from someone trying to sell me a long-distance plan. I told her that the only time I called long-distance was when I was prank-calling the Pope. We talked for a while. It was probably the first time I really had a conversation with a woman I wasn't related to. It was good.

    • I was reading through the comments to this just now and I got a call from one of these guys. I just broke out in laughter. Then I explained about the ComputerWorld article. Of course, he had nothing to say except "Thank you, sir" and then he hung up.

  • 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.

  • by sribe ( 304414 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @01:55PM (#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?

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      First time I got one of these calls I said "I don't have Microsoft" and hung up immediately. They called back shortly. This time I said "I don't have Microsoft don't ever call me again." Both calls began with "This is Microsoft Support calling ..."

      Didn't hear from them again for several months.

      When that day arrived I had been having a horrible time with something (forget what) and I was pretty wound up when my phone rang "Hello this is Microsoft ..." I hit the ceiling in 50 ms. Veins popped out of my

      • by sribe ( 304414 )

        It didn't even feel that good. It merely felt adequate and long overdue.

        Yep, but it's better than letting these despicable criminals go unchallenged. Anybody doing that for a living should absolutely not experience being treated politely and respectfully all day long.

  • 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.

  • by Zibodiz ( 2160038 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @03:21PM (#45483849)
    I own a computer repair shop, so I see all the random junk at various times. I've had 3 computers come in with this; the first came in because "it had a virus that the Windows guys couldn't fix", and after I explained that "the Windows guys" are a fraud, she decided to bring in her other computer to have me remove their junk as well. The scammer had done A LOT to the computer, changing account permissions so that she coldn't do anything, giving themselves admin access in a separate account, then revoking hers, and had installed 3 different remote desktop applications. While I was looking at it, they connected to it without notice via TeamViewer. I just disconnected it fromt he internet, backed up her files, and wiped it; with how much they'd done, I didn't feel there was any way to be sure I'd gotten it all without starting from scratch. The 3rd was a friend of my mom's; she had falled for the scam and paid $300, then about a month later she saw a bunch of fraudulent charges on her credit card so she cancelled it and got a new number; about a wee later, she got another call from the scammers, telling her that because she uses her computer for games and watching videos, she had to pay another $500 and they would give her extra protection. Thankfully, at that point, she realized they were scammers (she's a little old lady who uses it for email and nothing else, and has no idea how to play any games, or even what YouTube is), and brought the computer to me. The interesting thing is that the scammers had not done as much to her PC as they had to the other customer, which leads me to think that they don't have an automated script, but manually change settings on the computer. That means a lot of time and effort for each mark.
  • I got several calls from the last wave.

    I worked them hard, even getting a few of them to admit they are just running a script for easy cash.

    This wave is different. My usual "hey, let's fuck with them on the phone" techniques have been accounted for. They hang up much quicker and do not reveal much of anything. Most importantly, they will not entertain basic human conversation easily. It's either advancing the script, or they play dumb hoping you are too and things can proceed anyway, or they are gone.


    • by hduff ( 570443 )

      I damn near got one of them to quit on the spot last wave. Had him on the ropes feeling very shitty about the whole thing. One of these days, I'll get one to go, right then, just leave the phone hanging and walk out.


      If you can get one to kill himself onlline, please share the link to the video.

  • I received such a call from Brad with a D.C area code.

    His goal was to get me to install remote-access software on my Windows PC.

    He was genuinely confused as to why none of the commands he asked me to run weren't working on my Linux computer.

  • by nblender ( 741424 ) on Thursday November 21, 2013 @07:24PM (#45486091)

    I was in the local computer discount retailer standing at customer service to return a faulty tablet... The guy next to me has his computer on the counter and the lady is helping him with it ... "Yeah; it's just really really slow... I can't even load the google..." She asks "and these toolbars at the top here, did you install those on purpose?" "No, they just appeared. I can't get rid of them. I even paid $250 to have the computer cleaned of viruses and stuff!" "You did? Was it someone online that you paid to do this?" "Yeah! They called me up because they said my computer was causing problems on the internet and I paid them $250 to clean the viruses off of it but it didn't help at all."

    I just turned and looked at the guy... It was weird. He didn't look like an idiot. Looked just like some kid's dad...

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein