May 15, 2012 at 4:28 pm #30810
Today, I received a phone call from someone claiming to be from windows support. They had a thick Indian accent and were insistent that they were receiving messages at their server from my computer indicating that I had some viruses.
They asked me to turn on my computer and they would walk me through the repair process. To this, I kindly and patiently explained that I was not comfortable with this as I only had this man’s word that he was calling from Microsoft.
He responded by stating that he was a microsoft certified engineer calling from Boston to help me repair my computer and to please turn it on and follow his steps.
This part of the conversation went on for a bit and repeated several times. Up to now I had insisted that I get the instructions first and write everything down. THEN I would fix it off line.
This wasn’t good enough. He got me as far as opening the start menu and selecting manage on my computer.
Finally, I agreed to turn on my computer and waited for everything to load. Not to follow his instructions mind you, but to look up the scam on firefox.
While I was at it I humored this person. Partly, I wanted to see what he would say. First, we waited for the computer to load. It’s nearly six years old, though I didn’t say that. It takes time to load. This is especially true since I have several anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-malware programs that have to load at start up. I didn’t tell him that either.
He said it was taking too long and that was probably because of the viruses I had.
Finally, the desktop loaded and I was able to open firefox while other system checks and scans were running.
This was funny. Funny because he asked if I could see the start menu icon at the bottom left of the screen. i said yes. In fact, in the time that my computer was still loading, I was able to open the manager with ease.
He asked what I saw when the computer loaded. I said, the desk top. He repeated, “what do you see?” I said, “The desktop.” It seems that microsoft certified engineers don’t know what the desktop is.
We got past that and talked about the start menu icon. “click that icon” “Okay” “What do you see?” “The start menu.”
“What do you see?” “The start menu.”
Yes. He asked multiple times. Apparently, Microsoft certified engineers are not aware of what the “start menu” happens to be either.
After this time, I was reading THIS discussion about these phone calls. http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_vista-security/i-received-a-phone-call-from-someone-claiming-i/4489f388-d6de-416d-9158-0079764bb001?page=34
My computer still hadn’t finished loading and he was getting impatient. He even told me “I don’t believe you have turned on your computer” at one point and asked me again to turn it on.
Even as I write this, start-up programs are still running… specifically, virus and malware scans are running. That happens when you actually know what you are doing and have an older computer.
He again asked me to open the start menu, but I was busy reading this article. http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/b/windowssecurity/archive/2011/06/16/dealing-with-fake-tech-support-amp-phone-scams.aspx
I said, “just a sec.”
I had said this a couple of times while the programs loaded. He didn’t apparently like this and said. “This is taking to many seconds. If you do not want our help then just hang up the phone.”
To that I replied. “Okay” and promptly hit the call end button.
Be aware of this scam people. Especially for anyone that is not particularly familiar with your computer. I wouldn’t trust my parents to know this for example.
But if Microsoft calls you, they should be able to provide real proof that they are, in fact, microsoft. They would not simply say we are in x city and if you log on I will give you information to show that we are microsoft.
Oh yes. If you follow their instructions, they will send you to a phishing site eventually.
My biggest concern in all of this was that they might have identified my IP and attempt to remotely access my computer. However, anyone with real back-end computer skills and knowledge – a hacker or cracker – most likely already can access your computer in this way as it’s possible to turn on a computer remotely as long as it has power and a network connection.
Through the course of my conversation I established that these people were relatively unskilled in the computer. He also seemed worried that my call was costing too much and he even, by the end, seemed worried I might be tracing his call.
I wouldn’t recommend even talking to these people. Just hang up when they do call. It seems they call some people more then others, but overall they are a scam looking for credit card information and hope to get you to instal malware on your computer voluntarily.
Again, if you receive these calls, just say no thanks and hang up. Microsoft Certified Engineers are highly trained and paid very, very well. They would not try to contact you by phone and not be able to tell you information about your computer, OS, etc. And they would not simply call you with no proof of who they are. Nor should you ever give a support person that calls you at home any credit card or personal information. No passwords or info about your PC either.
If they were really from Microsoft, the wouldn’t need this information because they would already have it.
Getting a home phone number is not difficult. All you need is a phone directory. They don’t even have to know that you have a PC running windows to call. It’s just statistically likely.
Also, I forgot to mention that Microsoft is not in the habit of calling it’s customers to correct their virus problems. Simply put, they don’t really care.May 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm #30825
I had a call that started the exact same as this one just the other day (substituting an Indian accent for a British one), I’d run a virus scan earlier that day so I told the guy it was fine and hung up. It’s fairly typical as scam phone calls you’d get during the working day go but definitely one to keep wary of and warn people especially if they aren’t well versed in computers as you said.May 15, 2012 at 6:25 pm #30827
Good thing you didn’t fall for it. It’d be a good idea to tell everyone you know, there’s a chance they could easily pull a family member from the same directory.May 15, 2012 at 6:28 pm #30828
My biggest concern in all of this was that they might have identified my IP and attempt to remotely access my computer.However, anyone with real back-end computer skills and knowledge – a hacker or cracker – most likely already can access your computer in this way as it’s possible to turn on a computer remotely as long as it has power and a network connection.
Actually, if you have a router it probably has a firewall that will block all incoming connections by default (test). It gets dangerous when they get something to run on your PC that can initiate a connection to the outside.May 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm #30882
I’ll just leave this here:May 18, 2012 at 12:14 pm #31326
I’ve had the same call multiple times. So did my brother’s friend. He played along for awhile as well, and then asked the guy if he should be worried about the computers at his workplace too. The guy told him that he could help him out with those ones as well, and this is when he said “Oh good, because I work with the RCMP, and any security issues would be a big problem.” Obviously the scam artist hung up immediately and has never called him since.
EDIT: And yes, he actually does work with the RCMP, although I feel like this would be a great tactic even if you don’t.
May 21, 2012 at 3:30 pm #32057
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by chickenpuddin.
So..is it only if you have a microsoft phone that they call you?May 21, 2012 at 11:07 pm #32184
This is actually an old phishing scheme. It randomly rears it’s ugly head every so often. Best bet assume everyone is lying to you; especially if they want or need personal info. I’m glad you did your due diligence and checked up on them. I was a Microsoft Certified Tech. I know other certified techs. You need to call us. We don’t randomly call you.
If your computer was sending personal information (read: your IP and customer information) allowing Microsoft to directly contact you through those means it goes directly against their ELUA. There is a ton of privacy protection written in them just for that reason. I’m not suggesting it wouldn’t be possible for them TO spy on you; what I am suggesting is that if they in fact did then the last thing they would do is contact you and tell you as much.
-stay safe. Trust no one.
-On a related note they called the tech business I worked at once. It was Luzy.
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by dehietyi.
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