This morning my mother received a call claiming to be from some sort of technical support, warning her that everything possible was wrong with her computer. And more. Fortunately I was staying, so she passed the call to me.
If you haven’t heard about these scams, they call you up – often using your name, wherever they get it – and tell you horror stories. Sometimes they claim to be from Microsoft or perhaps a well-known vendor of computers or antivirus software, something that sounds vaguely familiar and worrying to the inexperienced user.
Then they may ask you for a credit card number to pay for their ‘repair service’, or tell you to download a program or security patch – which will actually be a virus. They will do terrible things to your computer and/or bank account. I regret now that I didn’t patiently sit through the whole spiel so that I could reproduce its exact details here. But the idea of what these people do, lying to me in a pleasant voice, out to rob my mother, that got to me.
So someone who works a scam for a living now has little reason to doubt that they are doing evil. I was fairly explicit on that point. They also have grounds to believe that the police are on their way. Far fetched as that claim might seem, I backed it up with action. It was German number – +495188859403 – and since the call I found a computer crime authority in Germany to forward it to.
I also had quite an exciting stream of invective lined up, of which ‘scum’ was perhaps the most – indeed, only – printable word. Sadly though she picked up on my general drift and hung up, on or about the word ‘arrested’.
I have too much anger.
Anyway, don’t believe the bastards. Legitimate companies simply do not call and tell you there is something wrong with your computer. So warn the less savvy computer users you know. If these people called one number in Ireland from Germany they’ll probably call many, and it seems likely they’ll be trying UK numbers too.
This has been an emergency interruption to your service. The usual (?) afternoon update will now go up in two hours’ time.
- Scareware scammers now phishing for punters (go.theregister.com)
- Scammers turning to phone calls to gain PC access (lhensleyblog.com)
- Microsoft details emerging Internet phone scam which tricks 22% of people (winrumors.com)
- ReversePhoneDirectory.com Offers Support and Education to Protect Public Against Microsoft Phone Scam (prweb.com)
- I will NEVER ask for your password (windowsteamblog.com)