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  1. #1
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    Microsoft takes on scummy tech-support companies




    TOP STORY

    Microsoft takes on scummy tech-support companies


    By Woody Leonhard

    In late December 2014, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against a U.S.-based company that's been accused of massive tech-support fraud.

    If you've been the victim of a phony "tech support" call or you know someone who has it might be payback time.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/microsoft-takes-on-scummy-tech-support-companies (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    In Australia almost all the tech support fraudsters I hear from operate out of the Philippines.

    IMO it's time for our governments to impose trade and travel sanctions against countries that allow such schemes to operate out of their territories. That will hurt legitimate businesses, they will force their governments to act when they can't sell their goods & services or obtain a visa. Perhaps by withholding donations to the local politicians.

    nw

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    I have noticed that I have not had as many of these calls lately. I tend to deal with these people quite aggressively, so it could be that the word is getting around.

    Perhaps Microsoft really has succeeded in getting some of these folks taken down. That would be the best thing that I have heard all week.

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    I'm surprised threats to call the police haven't been mentioned. I've had them do that to me more than once. They have very aggressively told me my computer is illegal and unless it is fixed the police will come around.
    Doug

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    Last fall I was getting these calls almost daily for several weeks. A strong Indian accented guy told me that he was from Microsoft, that he had evidence that there were serious infections on my computer and I should give him control of my computer. Right. I hung up immediately after a few choice curses (I probably improved the guy's slang). Then, fortunately, it stopped. Fortunately, too, it was always I, not my wife, who answered the phone. Well, she's no fool, but she's not a tech savvy as one might hope. I'm glad to hear the MS is taking these people on. Scum indeed.

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    First off my background is nearly 40 yrs. in the field of Computers for the U.S. Government, and I've been retired for the past 20 yrs. I also have received these "Microsoft Tech" calls informing me My PC has a problem and its interfering with theirs, and they want to fix it. I knew it was Bogus call so I "play" with these guys by saying things like, 1)Which machine is it, since I have 20 P.c.s on line, or 2)Well if you give me your name and address I'll come over and fix yours for you. 3) What kind of trouble are you having, shut your machine off and call me back later.

    I drag out my query, playing with with these guys just trying to frustrate them and after a while I suspect they don't want to talk to me anymore.

    It's been long time since I've had any of these calls.

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    Explaining to seniors how this fraud works

    Quote Originally Posted by Kathleen Atkins View Post



    TOP STORY

    Microsoft takes on scummy tech-support companies


    By Woody Leonhard

    In late December 2014, Microsoft filed a lawsuit against a U.S.-based company that's been accused of massive tech-support fraud.

    If you've been the victim of a phony "tech support" call or you know someone who has it might be payback time.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/microsoft-takes-on-scummy-tech-support-companies (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    I hope Microsoft wins this one its a real problem. I am a part time tech all my clients are seniors. I tell them the following and try to keep it simple 1) I tell them it takes a long time to find a virus on your computer if many are found it should take hours. So an on line site finding them in minutes is fake. 2) If they called by phone and found viruses When did you give them legal permission to get inside your computer? The problem is that the main stream media , ie consumer programs on TV or the news never try to help on this issue . Thats why it works

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    2 Star Lounger NTLS's Avatar
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    EXCUSE ME PLEASE, this is uncalled for. The advertisement taking up half of my window an I am paying for a subscription to Windows Secrets, this ad is for getting a FREE version of Windows Secrets. This is from WS and is not fair for those of us that are paying for our copies of WS.
    TIA, CU L8R,
    NTxLS Win7 Pro 64bit SP1; FireFox v49.x, all with the latest updates

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    Good news for sure that Microsoft is trying to do something about this, but it's worse than a game of wack-a-mole. First of all, the crooks that call me say they are from "Windows", not Microsoft. Second, it's impossible to tell where they are from, as telemarketers and others have the ability to make incoming phone numbers either annonomous or appear to be anything they want - like my own number, appearing as the caller! So much for the gov't "Do Not Call" list, huh? I'd say it's useless, but it would probably be worse without it.
    There are obviously many "tech support" scammers out there, many who seem to be from overseas; so what are the chances of stopping them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NTLS View Post
    EXCUSE ME PLEASE, this is uncalled for. The advertisement taking up half of my window an I am paying for a subscription to Windows Secrets, this ad is for getting a FREE version of Windows Secrets. This is from WS and is not fair for those of us that are paying for our copies of WS.
    Entered by Cirric.
    I have been a paying member since the days of " Langa List". I've seen my share of scams but I can usually scare them off with cries of "But my Ubuntu is not connected to the internet!" Give most of them two problems to solve simultaneously and most will quit.
    In order to become a Wise Old Man you must first survive being a Stupid Young Man.

  11. #11
    2 Star Lounger NTLS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NTLS View Post
    EXCUSE ME PLEASE, this is uncalled for. The advertisement taking up half of my window an I am paying for a subscription to Windows Secrets, this ad is for getting a FREE version of Windows Secrets. This is from WS and is not fair for those of us that are paying for our copies of WS.
    When I first attempted to post the above, got a screen that told me this could not be posted here and something about using 'illegal code' and was blocked. Now I can see it did get posted with all of my errors because was not allowed to review and edit. NOT editing it now or ever because some of those ads are for FREE version of Windows Secrets which is NOT raising any operational funds. Those ads should not be included in the PAYING members access to the Lounge.

    I too support Microsoft's move to take down some of these fraud representations of Microsoft's Tech Support. Maybe a bit of cleaning up their own act by large spread of the fact that they do not call nor solicit for their assistance. Like full page ads in all newspapers, magazines, CNN, Fox, ABC, and even MS-NBC. Maybe even start a campaign to STOP all Out-sourcing and bring this back to our Country.

    Thank you for reading both of my posts . .
    TIA, CU L8R,
    NTxLS Win7 Pro 64bit SP1; FireFox v49.x, all with the latest updates

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    2 Star Lounger bmeacham's Avatar
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    I had such a call just the other day. I did not have time to string him along, so I just said "That's interesting, because I'm running Linux." He hung up immediately.
    Bill Meacham
    bmeacham98 AT yahoo.com

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    Microsoft Support Scammers

    About 2 months ago I had a call @ home showing myself as the caller id. I don't recall answering, but the very next day I received a call from an 800#. Being in a bad mood that day didn't help. I've been answering 800 calls and asking that they not call again. I answered and the man,in a very Middle Eastern accent, identified himself as Microsoft Support. The man went on to say, Microsoft was receiving error messages from my computer and that he could help with the problem. At first I said,"what the hell are you talking about!" As I said,I wasn't in a good mood, and he caught me at a bad moment. He repeated his narrative, word for word. I felt like I was talking to a robot. So I said,"Since you're receiving all of this information, what operating system am I running? He repeated his sales pitch, once again! I said goodbye and hung the phone up. I have the impression the narrative may have been the full knowledge of the English language. I did a call back,from the caller ID. The # was not in service.
    If it's consolidation,my daughter has a Mac and received the same type of message from, IPOD support. Every system has it's problems.
    Last edited by Dan'l T Petrucci; 2015-01-22 at 18:51. Reason: a few misspelled words

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    Woody, thanks for your piece on phony tech support calls--you are right on target with your five statements about what to or not to do. However, I suggest you missed one of the main actions when receiving these calls, i.e., just hang up when you hear an accent that is not spoken in pure English. Don't even try to talk with them. Record the phone number and report it to the FTC, for all the good it will do. You can block the number with *77 or whatever your carrier uses but these crooks keep changing their numbers. Incidentally, these thugs usually don't specifically state they are from Microsoft, rather they state something vague like "I'm calling from Windows," or "I'm calling about your Microsoft account." I've never heard them say that they are a technician employed by Microsoft. I've sometimes played along with them saying silly stuff like "oh, is my computer putting out harmful messages?" However, if you want to play with them just say "oh, my computer is a Mac" and they immediately hang up. (No putdown intended.) What I'm really angry with is these durn credit card calls often identified with something like "I'm Rachel from Credit Card Services, your account is safe now but if you need to consolidate your payments press 1 now to speak to a live representative . . ." Woody, please stay on this case because someone must stop this scam. Thank you.

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    First, what in the world is the Microsoft Partners Network? Is this actually a group sponsored and supervised by Microsoft? To what end? Woody, it would be helpful if you would educate us on what this is all about - and what role Microsoft plays in managing this "network".

    Second, there is a simple solution to the scam discussed in this article. Step 1 - arrange for Caller ID on whatever phone service you use. Step 2 - get a phone answering device that works with your phone service. Step 3 - never answer the phone if you do not recognize the caller's name and phone number; if it is a legitimate call they can leave a message and you can call them back immediately and apologize for being so slow to get to the phone. If it is not a legitimate call they typically will not leave a message and you have avoided the annoyance and wasted time of dealing with these creeps. If they do leave a message, you have time to think through the situation at your leisure and decide whether or not to call back.

    Our fax machine prints out the phone number of every call that comes to our house, whether answered or not. At least 50% (and probably more) of these calls are from people, companies or organizations that we do not know or have any relationship with - and many of the names are spoofed - IRS, FBI, Customer Service, etc. We have never answered any of them, using the approach discussed above. Saves all kinds of time and aggravation!

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