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  1. #1
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    Phone call scam/security warning

    This past week I received several calls from someone claiming to be the "head technical department of Windows OS" to the effect that they received information that my computer had downloaded malware etc. and offered to help me clean this up. The first several times, I said that I'm not going along with this and hung up. Then I decided to play along to see what would happen.

    Here's what was claimed at the beginning of the call: John Marshall, was calling about my computer service; they received info that my pc downloaded malware, unwanted programs, and malicious junk files while I was browsing on internet. Since I am registered owner of computer, they are obligated to help me clean out the malware, etc.

    Here's what he directed me to do:
    click start - all programs -- my computer - right click and select from menu Manage Computer / Event Viewer / to bring up list of "infections". select menu "View", deselect all filters except errors and warnings,

    asked me to then count how many errors and warnings and tell him how many; over 100; He said "O Dear, O Dear, we'll help you".

    he told me to open browser and type an entry into [URL] window; I asked what this will do? "The Tech dept can help you clean out malware, bad files." I asked how they know about my PC? Allegedly, their Win Tech Team got a survey report of my area showing my computer, and it's their responsibility as Windows OS technical department to help.... etc. etc. That's as far as I would play along. I'm sure the result of going along would be to delete essential files, take files from me, plant malware that would take over my computer, etc.

    At that point, I challenged him, and said I'm stopping at this point. he kept wanting to "help" me, I hung up. I've filed a complaint with the FBI, but I don't think that has any effect.

    I'm sure that everyone on this forum knows better than to buy into this, but we all know lots of people who aren't that savvy and who would be grateful for such an offer of assistance. Warn your friends and clients to not fall for this.
    Last edited by Just Plain Fred; 2012-03-12 at 04:25. Reason: removed supplied link

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by MJ2 View Post
    I'm sure the result of going along would be to delete essential files, take files from me, plant malware that would take over my computer, etc.
    I think the end result would have been a demand for a credit/debit card or PayPal payment of a few hundred dollars to clean up your "infected" system.

    By that stage they're after your money rather than your computer:

    Virus phone scam being run from call centres in India; by cold callers pretending to be from Microsoft phoning to fix a fake computer problem


  3. #3
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    I certainly agree with the post. What these scam artists do is install malwares on your computer and steal stored financial information. I've read an instance where the victim actually let the scam artist access her PC and it was already too late before she realized she was scammed. She lost a lot of money and after a few weeks, different people started calling her about purchases she supposedly made which she never did. A simple mistake caused her a lot of problems.

    This is why when I get suspicious calls, I hang up right away. There's no sense putting up with anybody who's up to no good.

  4. #4
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    by the way, I remember a friend named Lucy getting a call like that. Phone number was 206-456-0661. I even helped her report the number to this consumer complaint site called Callercenter. And guess what? When we reported, we were surprised there were already a lot of complaints associated with the phone number there. Wow! I think I'd give him an applause for working hard.
    Last edited by cork; 2012-03-17 at 08:05.

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  6. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cork View Post
    by the way, I remember a friend named Lucy getting a call like that. Phone number was 206-456-0661. I even helped her report the number to this consumer complaint site called Callercenter. And guess what? When we reported, we were surprised there were already a lot of complaints associated with the phone number there. Wow! I think I'd give him an applause for working hard.
    nice, thanks for the link! I personally use it looks a bit more established than, there are also a few others, very useful for checking out if the number that call belongs to some scammer or telemarketer

  7. #6
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    I have found two other web sites useful for identifying mystery callers who never leave a message - a slightly different problem. I use both WhoCallsMe and 800Notes.
    Rick Groszkiewicz
    Life is too short to drink bad wine (or bad coffee!)

  8. #7
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    This is the answer for above scam:
    For about a year I've been reading about phony\scam phone calls from people claiming to be from Microsoft calling to fix a person's computer.

    Well, truth be told, I was feeling really neglected and left out because I hadn't been called yet — even though I've had my "burn" number out there for at least a decade.

    Well, 'lo and behold, I FINALLY GOT A CALL!!!

    Having expected the call for some time, when I was finally "chosen", and I had waaaay too much time on my hands, I decided to see how long I could keep the guy on the phone.

    I won't give the 30 minute transcript, I'll just hit the highlights: (by the by, this guy had such a heavy, heavy accent that half the time I really meant "could you repeat that, please?)(although I won't include all of them here, I said it at least 50 times or more)

    Call Center: Hello, Chris?
    Me: Yes?
    CC: I'm calling from the Microsoft support department because of all the errors on your computer that you've logged with MS.
    Me: You mean when I click on the "send report to MS" when a program crashes it goes to you?
    CC: Yes! That's why I'm calling. You've got a lot of viruses on your computer and if we don't fix it right away your computer will slow down even more and the hard drive will fail.
    Me: Really? That's terrible! But how do you know about all the errors because I don't always send the report? And, how do you know what version of Windows I've got?
    CC: Because those crashes get reported to us.
    Me: Hmmm. How do you know which program crashed and which version of Windows I have?
    CC: Windows 7?
    Me: (no answer)
    CC: Windows Vista?
    Me: (no answer)
    CC: Windows XP?
    Me: I have Windows XP!!!
    CC: Good. I can show you how many errors you have in the Event Viewer. Do you see the Windows key on your keyboard?
    Me: Where's that? I don't see any key with Windows on it.
    CC: On the bottom row on the left next to the ctrl key.
    Me: Could you repeat that please? I can't understand you.
    CC: On the bottom row on the left next to the ctrl key.
    Me: OK, I see the ctrl key, but there's no Windows key.
    CC: On the bottom row on the left next to the ctrl key and next to the alt key.
    Me: Oh, OK, I see it now. But it doesn't look like a Windows key; there's a little rectangular box with an arrow on it. Is that what you mean?
    CC: No, it's next to the ctrl key.
    Me: I'm telling you it's a rectangular box with an arrow on it.
    CC: (a little exasperatedly) On the left side between the ctrl and alt key!
    Me: Oh, left, left. OK, I see it now. I've always wondered what that's for. Now what?
    CC: Press that key once.
    Me: Done.
    CC: Do you see "run"?
    Me: No, all's I see are my programs.
    CC: No, on the left do you see "run"?
    Me: No. Would it be under Accessories? I see Command Prompt there — is that what you mean? Should I click that?
    CC: No! It's on the left side of that window.
    Me: Oh, left, left: Yes, but all I see is the word Run.
    CC: That's good. Now click it.
    Me: Right click?
    CC: No, left click.
    Me: OK.
    CC: Now, in that box type in . . .
    Me: I don't see a box. The only thing I see is RUN in bold letters.
    CC: You left clicked . . .
    Me: Oh, left, left. I have dyslexia and I get confused sometimes. OK, I clicked it.
    CC: Good! Now, in that box type in "E" as in Edward.
    Me: OK, "B" as in Backward . . .
    CC: NO! E; E; E as in Edward.
    Me: Oh, OK, EEE . . . now what?
    CC: No! Only one E!
    Me: OK, should I type the number 1 or spell it out before the E?

    (We went on like this for almost 5 minutes with me deliberately putting in the wrong letters and saying, "Could you repeat that, please? Your accent is very heavy." [always politely, and with apologies, of course] before we finally got to the Event Viewer)

    CC: Now, on the left do you see Application?
    Me: Yes.
    CC: OK, now double click it to open it.
    Me: My computer is set up for "single-click". If I double click it will that cause one of the viruses to run?
    CC: No, it will just open a new window.
    Me: WOW!!! There's a lot of stuff in there! What is it?
    CC: That lists all the crashes from you programs that get sent to us at the Microsoft Support Center.
    Me: So even if I don't click "send report to MS" you get the information anyway?
    CC: Yes, that's why we're calling because your computer is very infected and if we don't fix it right away, tomorrow when you turn on your computer it will crash.
    Me: Could you please repeat that?
    CC: (repeats above)
    Me: WOW! It's a good thing you called! But how do you know it's going to crash tomorrow?
    CC: Now, do you see any red circles with a cross in them and yellow circles with an exclamation mark? That's how we know.
    Me: No, I don't see any crosses, but there's some yellow thingies.
    CC: You don't see any red crosses?
    Me: No, but I do see a lot of red circles with "X"'s in them. Is that what you mean?
    CC: Yes. How many of them are there?
    Me: Don't you have that information since it's all being sent to MS?
    CC: Yes, we do. This is to show you how badly your computer is infected. Now, how many of the crosses do you see?
    Me: I told you there's no "crosses", only "X"'s!
    CC: OK, how many X's do you see?
    Me: Man, there's a LOT of them! OK, let's see: One, two, three . . . ( I s-l-o-w-l-y count to 20)
    CC: (mumbles something)
    Me: Darn it! You made me lose count! Now I'm gonna have to start over. One, two, three . . . (I play this out for a few minutes till I get to 40 [actually, I only had one X and it was a SeaMonkey gklayout.dll error] before he got exasperated (again) and said:
    CC: That's enough. You can see by all the crosses how bad your computer is infected.
    Me: Even though they're X's and not crosses it's still an infection? How can that be? I "think" I have an Anti-Virus program.
    CC: You get infections from your e-mail, the web and downloaded programs. What Anti-Virus program are you using?
    Me: I don't know. Where do I find it?
    CC: Oh, that's very bad; you don't know what program you're running and that's why your computer is going to crash!
    Me: Tomorrow?
    CC: What?
    Me: You said my computer is going to crash tomorrow if I don't fix it.
    CC: Yes. But don't worry because our technicians will fix it for you.
    Me: I though "you" were the technician because you seem to know a lot about my computer and that it's going to crash tomorrow.
    CC: I am a technician but our specialist team needs to connect to your computer so he can fix everything for you.
    Me: Someone is going to come to my place and fix it? Wow! How much is that going to cost me?
    CC: No, we do it remotely.
    Me: How are you going to fix it remotely if you're not here?
    CC: We do it using a special website and our technicians can scan your computer and fix it.
    Me: You can fix it all the way from India?!? Gosh! What part of India are you in?
    CC: We're in Brooklyn.
    Me: Brooklyn!!! Wow! I was born there! Have you had a Nathan's hot dog with the works on it? [I hope the humor of that question isn't lost on anyone]
    CC: No, but let's connect to our team and fix your computer.
    Me: OK, what do we do?
    (At this point I go through a similar routine as I did above with the Windows key and we finally get to the Run box and the guy's voice is getting higher and more strained)
    CC: OK, now type in WWW dot.
    Me: Ok WWW dot
    CC: WWW dot. —
    Me: OK, WWW dot WWW dot, now what?
    CC: NO! Only one W!
    Me: OK, one W
    CC: OK, WWW dot
    Me: W dot WWW dot —
    CC: NO! Just WWW dot —
    Me: OK WWW dot, now what?
    CC: type the letter "L" as in Larry.
    Me: Did you say "B" as in Barry?
    CC: NO! L, L as in Larry!
    Me: OK, "L"
    CC: Now "O" as in Oscar.
    Me: Could you please repeat that? (which he does)
    Me: Are you saying "awful"?
    CC: NO!!! "O" as in Oscar!!!
    Me: Oh, Oscar! You know I have a second cousin, twice removed, named Oscar! He has a lovely daughter but the poor thing has ingrown toenails so bad she can hardly walk. She really need to get an operation to fix that so she . . .
    CC: That's fine, but lets get back to your computer. Now have you typed in "L" and "O"?
    Me: Yes.
    CC: OK . . .
    Me: OK, I clicked OK and I'm on Now what?
    CC: NO! NO! NO! Don't click anything until I tell you!
    Me: OK.
    CC: Now, type in L, O, . . .
    (At this point I repeatedly "mishear" just about every letter the guy says [e.g. CC: "M as in Mary: Me: Harry doesn't start with an "M"] and his voice is getting into the castrato range [evil grin])
    CC: Now, have you got ""?
    Me: Yes. Logmein one, two, three dot com.
    CC: Good, NOW click OK.
    Me: Right click or left click?
    CC: (probably muttering Indian swear words because I didn't understand a thing he said) Left click!!!
    Me: OK, I'm at Now what?
    CC: Do you see the Support Connection box?
    Me: No. There's a box in the middle of the page that says Help Desk Software, Email Software, Stock Trading, etc., etc.
    CC: ??? What page are you on???
    Me: The one you told me: logmein o-n-e, t-w-o, t-h-r-e-e.
    CC: NO! NO! NO! It's the numbers 1,2,3 not spelled out!
    Me: Well, why didn't you say so? OK, I'm now on the page that has the box.
    CC: I'm going to give you a code number to type in there so our technicians can fix your computer. (He then proceeds to give me a six digit number which, as I'm sure you've already guessed, I misheard)
    Me: OK, no wait! My computer just shut down!!! (It didn't) What did you do???
    CC: We haven't done anything yet.
    Me: Well, then, why did my computer just shut down?
    CC: It's probably all the viruses you have.
    Me: OK, let me start it again. This'll take a few minutes because it's really slow (at this point I went to the bathroom).
    CC: Hello? Hello? Chris? Hello?
    Me: OK, I'm at the Desktop again. You'll have to walk me through to the website again because I didn't write it down. (I didn't give him as hard a time as I did at first)
    Me: HEY! I entered the code and it says, "Session using this code is already in use". If you didn't do anything to my computer to make it shut down, why am I getting the "In use" message??? Say, what are you guys up to???
    CC: I'll have to give you another code. (He then gives me "another" code)
    Me: OK, I reentered the code and it says "Code has expired"!
    CC: Did you put in the new code?
    Me: No. I reentered the one you gave me because I though you were going to renew it!
    CC: NO!!! Use the NEW code I gave you!!!
    Me: OK, OK. There, I put in the code.
    CC: Good. Now click on Connect to technician.
    Me: Right click or left click?
    CC: !!!!!!!!!!
    Me: OK, it says, "Internet Explorer cannot display page".
    CC: What number did you type in?
    Me: The one YOU gave me! Let me try again.
    Me: Nope, I got the same message that it's in use!
    CC: Try this number xxxxxx
    Me: It says "Code does not exist"! Hey, is this one of those crank phone calls from a radio station trying to keep me on the line for a long time? Because if it is, it's not funny!
    CC: No sir, we're just trying to fix your computer.
    Me: Well, all this time we've been on the phone, I know it's gonna cost me something. How much do I have to pay???
    CC: (He launches into his sales spiel about how fixing it is "free" but it requires a one-year warranty contract that's good 24\7 365 with toll-free tech support and for only $110.00)

    At this point (about the 25 minute mark) I have him spell out the terms of the contract (with a LOT of "could you repeat that, please?" thrown in).

    Me: So, it's $110, right?
    CC: Yes.
    Me: Well, I really wish you'd have said so in the first place because I'm on the dole and can barely afford the paper to wipe my arse.
    CC: (Much, much cursing in Indian and English with pointed references to my parentage and sexual orientation). Hangs up!

    I kept him on the phone for 29 minutes and 47 seconds!!! I feel so badly about that. NOT!!!

    I think there should be some sort of contest to see who can keep these b*****ds on the phone the longest. Unfortunately I didn't record the call, elsewise I'd have it posted on youtube.
    Thanks to jpChris.
    Sorry about the length of this Post, but we do need to laugh now and again - especially at the scammers expense.

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    csmart4125 (2013-10-21),cutedeedle (2012-03-27),JimW1938 (2013-10-22)

  10. #8
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    Several of us kept a scammer going on e-mails after he tried to scam an aquarium forum member who had posted on CraigsList looking for some ornamental shrimp.
    Scammer replied with a fantastic price , but a lot of money to ship. The forum member asked about the deal on the forum and we told him it was a scam....Then a member decided to see if we could keep the crook going by asking if the deal was open to others as well. Of course !..So it started . We asked about other tropical pets and were assured he could supply all. We went from requesting shrimp to all sorts of requests .. The scammer wasn't wise enough to Google latin names so he offered to ship one member a pair of Physeter macrocephalus ( save you the Google---- Sperm whales ) to breed in his 20 gallon aquarium .
    one member asked for mermaids.. I told him to include the latin name, made up of course , Pseudotropheous nummygal...and sure enough .. He had them . All mails and responses were posted on the forum for all to laugh at. We kept him going for 3 days, several e-mails a day over shipping costs and availability before the game came to an end .

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  12. #9
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    My wife and I have had a number of such calls here, though we never let them get beyond a couple of sentences. The phone rang while I was reading this thread and guess what? It was that thick south asian accent offering to help with my computer!

  13. #10
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    Wonder if they would "fix" a Linux PC?

    If I get one of these calls, I might have to see how long I could string them along before they realize I am not using Windows, but Linux
    (I just use Windows on my work PC, and hardly ever for personal use).

  14. #11
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    Another resource

    It is fun to play with those, ummm, fools a bit. I usually run their number through first to see who else has heard from whomever. They've a link on their page to the Do Not Call Registry's File a Complaint section which I make use of relatively often.

  15. #12
    New Lounger mchldpy's Avatar
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    @ learningstill
    first, i want to thank you for the "short" version.
    secondly, in your opinion, do you think you still have way too much time
    on your hands
    i was going to "reply with quote"... couldn't bring myself to do it.
    i love "accelerated scrolling"

    michael clyde
    btw - isin't there a minimum age limit here

    before the old maid crew gets mad at me, just kidding, lol, xxxooo's
    Last edited by mchldpy; 2012-03-22 at 12:33.
    REMEMBER--- "if you don't play well with others, you could end up playing with yourself."

  16. #13
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    Hi mchldpy, Yes, I do have time on my hands. As a septuagenarium, the computer is my plaything. Since retirement, I have built 6 comps and repaired 2 Laptops. I'm currently renewing a Digitizer screen and an LCD screen on a Ideos U8150 smartphone. Boy does it fill in the time.

  17. #14
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    Microsoft is aware of these scams. They have a Page about them at MSDN.
    -- Bob Primak --

  18. #15
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    Learningstill -- I simply must protest! This made me laugh so hard I fell off my chair, bumped my head, now must seek legal representation for damages sustained whilst laughing uncontrollably at your brilliance. I'll reconsider any potential lawsuit if you'll post another session of merriment ASAP. BTW, the web site also offers hours of enjoyment, as well as Mike Berry's seminal publication "Greetings in Jesus Name!".

    I bow to your awesome telephone manners.

    -- Carole
    There are 10 kinds of people in the world:
    Those who understand binary
    and those who don't.

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