Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 52
  1. #1
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    401
    Thanks
    216
    Thanked 27 Times in 26 Posts

    Fake Microsoft "saves" day

    Last week I cleaned up a friends XP laptop computer to as good as new short of reinstalling the OS
    --- The hard drive was 98% full, there were umpteen infections and I could go on & on
    Yesterday she got a call from "Microsoft" who claimed they can fix her laptop real good
    --- Now keep in mind she was able to use her computer as good as new as I have already mentioned
    --- Anyway she spent about 3 hours with the caller on taking care of what they claimed needed to be done
    --- I do not know at this time whether or not they took control of her computer or how much she paid
    --- On top of that I had already informed her about XP's EOL on Apr 8 and she should be looking for another computer
    --- I don't understand how she was willing to pay a stranger for whatever on a good running computer plus she's only a little more than 6 weeks away from Apr 8
    --- But it astounds me how she as well as many others won't give even 15 minutes to me on what needs to be covered or 30 minutes of their time once a month such as during Patch Tuesday week so they can pro-actively keep their computer well maintained and secured but fall for a stranger over the phone to do their thing (maybe even gain access to their computer) and even pay them

    Anyway she'll be informing me of what transpired very shortly
    --- One question I'm wondering about is how can someone claim they are a "Microsoft Representative" or whatever terminology they are using
    --- Isn't that illegal?
    --- Or could they be a Microsoft Certified Technician/Engineer but Microsoft isn't aware of who those individuals are?

    One of the things I'll bring up to her is how did that person know her computer needed cleaning up or fixing or whatever they told her?
    --- If they were right, they would have had to get into her computer before they called her
    --- Then remind her she won't buy or bank on-line because of privacy and security reasons but allows a stranger charge her for payment and I suspect possible remote access

    BTW, I've seen this happen to my brother and a few other friends also so my friend I'm bringing into this discussion isn't alone; I just didn't bring it up back then

    I guess I wish I could come up with an easy short explanation to them but maybe "buyer beware" will be good enough

  2. Get our unique weekly Newsletter with tips and techniques, how to's and critical updates on Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows XP, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Google, etc. Join our 480,000 subscribers!

    Excel 2013: The Missing Manual

    + Get this BONUS — free!

    Get the most of Excel! Learn about new features, basics of creating a new spreadsheet and using the infamous Ribbon in the first chapter of Excel 2013: The Missing Manual - Subscribe and download Chapter 1 for free!

  3. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Manning, South Carolina
    Posts
    6,235
    Thanks
    202
    Thanked 796 Times in 729 Posts
    cmptgry,

    But it astounds me how she as well as many others won't give even 15 minutes to me on what needs to be covered or 30 minutes of their time once a month such as during Patch Tuesday week so they can pro-actively keep their computer well maintained and secured but fall for a stranger over the phone to do their thing (maybe even gain access to their computer) and even pay them
    Reminds me of the old definition of a consulant (or Profit) anyone more than 50 miles from home with a briefcase.

    Of course it isn't legal but then the crooks don't care about that now do they! I think your friend better cancel any credit card used to pay these crooks because they sure weren't from Micorosoft. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

    VBA Rules!

    My Systems: Desktop Specs
    Laptop Specs


  4. #3
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Posts
    2,116
    Thanks
    12
    Thanked 242 Times in 235 Posts
    Some folks are exceptionally susceptible to social engineering. It is as incomprehensible to me. There has been at least one cold call to a person I support and I think I've got them trained because she just said I have a support person for my computer and hung up.

  5. #4
    Administrator
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Portugal
    Posts
    10,308
    Thanks
    130
    Thanked 1,159 Times in 1,067 Posts
    I always wondered how the nigerian scammers managed to trick people into paying them. The same feeling applies to whoever believes these people are actually working for Microsoft. I'll never understand it.
    Rui
    -------
    R4

  6. #5
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    401
    Thanks
    216
    Thanked 27 Times in 26 Posts
    Well here is what I found out. She wrote down they were Microsoft Technical Support, at least one of them with a heavy accent claimed he was in NY. She ended up talking with 2 other technicians within a 4 hour period. A couple of times she was told to hang up and someone will call her back on the problems in her computer. Since they did call back and were very knowledgeable she ended up trusting them.
    They claimed that her computer was being hacked from Canada, there were 30,120 infections in her computer plus there were 13,000 critical system files found - she couldn't explain to me what that meant. She said they took control of her computer and showed pictures of what they meant so she believed them. They also told her some license had expired in January.
    When I had serviced her computer last week, I wrote down Apr 8 to make sure she wouldn't forget to stop using her XP but mostly to get another computer. She did ask whoever she spoke to what's that about Apr 8 and she was told that's nothing don't worry about it.
    Well she ended up paying $200.00 for a lifetime warranty of some sort and they sent the agreement to her email. Since we live in separate towns I asked her to forward it to me but she couldn't. Her ISP is Verizon and according to her they blocked it because it was considered spam.

    Now there is something more that could be even more disconcerting. They left an icon on her desktop that is titled AWCCARE SETUP V2 PERSONAL or something like that. I don't know what it is but she's one of those persons who just doesn't give exact information when requested. I'm certainly not experienced in this field but I'm wondering if they are monitoring her computer and even could end up using it as a spam-bot or whatever. So it just dawned on me to verbally tell her she should stop using that computer immediately and just go buy a newer computer without waiting until April. I do not want to do emails with her at this point

    Another bit of information she gave me is their supposed website is esupport-live.com which appears to be a legal support company but I don't believe that is the company involved. My friend was given an id number and was told that whoever she got in contact with not to let them know what the id number is up front; just give them her name and let them tell her what her id number is so she knows that she's talking to a trustworthy person - so to me everything in there is completely fishy

  7. #6
    Lounger PamS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    33
    Thanks
    20
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    What frightens me is if her laptop has a webcam, they could be watching her when she opens the laptop and she not even be aware of it.

    I have read about these calls from "Microsoft" and know they are fakes. Anyone that knows anything about Microsoft knows they would never make any calls like this period. I don't understand how people would fall for these calls especially when you had just spent the previous week cleaning up her computer for her. I would be telling her to not even open that computer up at all and to contact her credit card company and stopping the charge or doing a charge back and reporting the fraud.

    Pam

  8. #7
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    401
    Thanks
    216
    Thanked 27 Times in 26 Posts
    Fortunately there isn't a webcam involved. I believe a big part of the problem stems from people who just don't understand computer maintenance & security. And for those with older computers they can't understand how come their computer isn't as fast as their neighbors modern computer. Another thing I see in common is when something on their computer changes; for example, one of my brothers plays Pogo a lot and all of a sudden some game has a different display, they blame the computer. I had another brother who spent about an hour on a similar phone call and as I came to visit him he asked me to talk with that person, within seconds I told my brother it's his decision as I'm not going to take part of what was happening and then I gave the person on the phone a good bye with some very choice words; then a lady I knew would have paid whoever called her the $200.00 that person was requesting but the only reason that didn't happen is because she didn't have the money.

    Anyway in the title of my thread I purposely used "Microsoft" so I'm hoping even if it helps only person reading the title and the scenarios; just don't get into with them as Microsoft will never, ever, call someone to clean up their computer.
    --- And while I'm at it, even if any "computer expert" from another company calls for similar reasons, don't trust them and hang up
    --- Finally there are people who don't trust their local computer resources, why in the world do they end up trusting a stranger on the phone

  9. #8
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    401
    Thanks
    216
    Thanked 27 Times in 26 Posts
    It appears to me a big factor when someone agrees to have such a "knowledgeable" person clean their computer is when they are shown a picture of umpteen infections, critical system files etc.

  10. #9
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    2,780
    Thanks
    84
    Thanked 343 Times in 309 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by cmptrgy View Post
    Now there is something more that could be even more disconcerting. They left an icon on her desktop that is titled AWCCARE SETUP V2 PERSONAL or something like that.
    I think that's probably just an old program they installed and used to demonstrate some cleanup activity: Advanced WindowsCare v2 Personal


    Quote Originally Posted by cmptrgy View Post
    I'm certainly not experienced in this field but I'm wondering if they are monitoring her computer and even could end up using it as a spam-bot or whatever.
    I don't think spammers need or want to spend four hours on the phone in order to discover an insecure account or computer.


    Quote Originally Posted by cmptrgy View Post
    Another bit of information she gave me is their supposed website is esupport-live.com which appears to be a legal support company but I don't believe that is the company involved.
    What appears to be legal about that site and why don't you think that was the company involved?


    Bruce

  11. The Following User Says Thank You to BruceR For This Useful Post:

    cmptrgy (2014-02-26)

  12. #10
    4 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    401
    Thanks
    216
    Thanked 27 Times in 26 Posts
    Well some good news. She called her credit card company and was able to cancel the transaction and her credit card company is sending her a new card
    According to her credit card company the billing information was for go4market place in Australia

  13. #11
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    2,162
    Thanks
    205
    Thanked 210 Times in 202 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by cmptrgy View Post
    it astounds me how she as well as many others won't give even 15 minutes to me on what needs to be covered or 30 minutes of their time once a month such as during Patch Tuesday week so they can pro-actively keep their computer well maintained and secured but fall for a stranger over the phone to do their thing (maybe even gain access to their computer) and even pay them
    It used to really irritate me that my wife would trust the suggestions of others over me when they told her stuff that would clearly contradict what I told her.

    I tend to be old-school; if something you have works, there's no need to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading.

    She was running AutoCAD 2000, then 2007, with Windows 2000, then XP. She had two computers on a private, peer-to-peer network. When she needed to send or receive a drawing via email, she would use a flash drive to move it to or from her internet-connected computer. (This gave her good protection against malware.)

    People would tell her that what she had was outdated. However, to upgrade was going to cost her thousands of dollars, and what she had was working very well; so I didn't upgrade her. This was a constant source of friction between us.

    Moral of the story: some people get caught up in the hype, and they will believe the pied-pipers of the world over good common sense, even though you, their trusted friend, are the one with the good common sense.

  14. The Following User Says Thank You to mrjimphelps For This Useful Post:

    cmptrgy (2014-02-24)

  15. #12
    Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    NSW, Australia
    Posts
    63
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
    This problem is a social problem rather than a technical problem. Certain people will fall for any good story and women are more likely (IMHO) than men because they want to be friendly and not cause conflict by hanging up etc. I have had to educate a few of my friends about this problem. It is more general than just your computers. Many people call up, come to the front door and send snail mail and what they want is to try and sell you something but they ask you questions first to get you talking. I have (I hope) educated my family that anyone who comes or phones without being requested is not entitled to any information at all. Also that answering yes or no to questions is giving out information that could be used against you later.

    There are a few ways to handle calls like these: hang up without saying anything, say you don't own a computer or if you are more confident just say that Microsoft doesn't do that. A friend used to just leave the line open and put the handset on the bench for a while. Another way is ask them to hold while you go to the toilet or the chip pot on the stove is smoking and just let them hang for a while.

    In the case of this scam, the person calling asks you to run the Windows Event Viewer with some filters. I'm not sure exactly how they do it because I blow these calls off but one way to do it is Win Key + R and then key in EVENTVWR and click OK and once you do that you are hooked. They show you a pile of errors which are always there and usually harmless and by that time you are horrified and reaching for your credit card and the rest is history.
    Bob
    Win 7 Pro - IE11, Win 8.1 Pro - IE11 - Office 2010, 2013 - Acronis TIH 2014

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to bd1235 For This Useful Post:

    KenYoung (2014-02-27)

  17. #13
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    7
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
    I tend to get these calls every week or two - they really are garbage! Even if you can understand the accent.......... A few points to ponder:
    Since when did Microsoft EVER phone a customer to tell them they had a problem?
    How do they know your name?
    Where on earth did they get your phone number?
    How could your computer be sending them details of problems? Windows just doesn't do that.

    I usually just ask them "Which computer?" as there are 5 in the house. They reply "the one that's on". Huh??
    Once I asked them "What's the I.P. address of the computer?" - they gave me my street address
    I then point out that we are on the Australian Government's "Do not call" register (which is there to stop unsolicited calls) and remind them that there's a $25,000 fine. Immediate hang-up <G>

    Moral of the story - these calls are cr@p. Tell everyone you know to just hang up on them.

  18. The Following User Says Thank You to BiggerBob101 For This Useful Post:

    brino (2014-02-27)

  19. #14
    Lounger
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    28
    Thanks
    1
    Thanked 4 Times in 3 Posts
    These people are clever. They don't start the conversation saying, 'This will take 4 hours and cost you $200," they start with something small and credible and slowly draw you in. They keep asking you questions and make it hard for you to think. I had one of these calls and they claimed to be from a Microsoft partner and gave the name of a genuine company. I checked on the Internet while they spoke and it was indeed a Microsoft partner -- but of course, they were not from that company. I wrote to the company afterwards and warned them that people were perpetrating fraud in their name and suggested they put a warning on their home page to help the unwary. They assured me they would never cold call anyone like that, but didn't put up a warning (at least not quickly).
    I wasn't fooled, but less technical people might be.

  20. #15
    Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    70
    Thanks
    8
    Thanked 27 Times in 14 Posts

    Users are not all innocent, make them pay when they deserve it

    The free computer work I do for n00B family members is conditional on an agreement with them. The agreement specifies never downloading installers without asking me, not running any external program at all without checking with me, changing no system settings without approval and their documenting the change, and them not give anyone access to their computer for any reason at all without checking with me. I eventually realised this level of control and compliancy is necessary for those who have almost no computer nous, as for instance explaining how to know which installers are safe is impossible.

    One family member has recently breached her agreement multiple times in a couple of months, including falling for a phone scammer of this type. Scammed or not, she broke the rules. She managed to wreck two computers which will now take me around 100 hours to fully repair and configure.

    It's not the first time a basic commonsense requirement has been ignored, and my patience and spare time have now both expired. I've changed our agreement, specifying that any similar breach in future will cost her a minimum of $200 per computer, per repair session (payable to a charity of my choice), and if there are further multiple rapid thoughtless breaches then I'll be instigating a lifetime ban on all repairs and computer advice.

    I now do a partition backup after every repair to external hard disk, and keep it in my home where the user can't destroy it. Any serious stuff up I fix by copying off user data, restoring from the backup image, then copying back user data. N00B users and self-destructive types can sometimes be taught how to backup, but can't be relied upon to do it. If they thereby lose all their latest data due to disk failure or whatever, tough.

    I used to think repair people who restored a computer from a disk image were slack, and that 'Real geeks edit registries'. Now I understand why paid service people use reimaging (a pity so many of them wipe all the user's data without making it clear to them though). Ignorant and/or irresponsible users will waste the hours, days and weeks of your life, if you let them by having you do unlimited free repair work with no requirements on their part or consequences for breaching them.

    My new attitude is 'tough love.' If you think it too harsh, wait until your friend's computer is trashed the next time, or the time after that (ad nauseum), perhaps even making the exact same mistakes. If they choose to stay a n00B/unthinking/unmindful/irresponsible (whatever their exact 'computer nous' inventory may be), I reckon you'll be driven into a policy like mine eventually.

    Would your friend spend the same time you do doing unpaid favours for you over and over again? If not (or if they just refuse to learn anything of note, not uncommon), I suggest you too make them pay money to charity for any major fixes. The charity will thank you.

    Call me World's Toughest Volunteer SysAdmin if you like, I'm past caring.
    Last edited by bigbadsteve; 2014-02-27 at 05:22. Reason: Removed smiley

  21. The Following 12 Users Say Thank You to bigbadsteve For This Useful Post:

    aczer (2014-02-27),brino (2014-02-27),eikelein (2014-02-27),HealingHands33 (2014-02-27),malcolmkind (2014-02-27),mrjimphelps (2014-02-27),mvwhyatt (2014-02-27),PamS (2014-02-27),sewlady (2014-02-27),starman38 (2014-02-27),War_Doc (2014-02-27),wmgoat (2014-02-27)

Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •