"Your computer is sending us error messages" (scam

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"Your computer is sending us error messages" (scam

Post by dratkinson » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:30 am

Had an interesting phone call today. And blew the opportunity to have some fun.

Over a very bad phone connection, an Indian voice said, "Your computer has been sending us error messages for several days. Turn it on and I'll tell you how to fix it."

I had a very hard time hearing/understanding him (very weak signal) and had to ask him to repeat himself often. And he'd begin again, from the beginning using the same words, so I guessed he was using a script. (Alert! Potential scam?)

"What error message are you receiving from my computer?" He didn't say, but started the script again.

Not wanting to be bothered, I told him I'd have tech-support check it out and hung up. (I'm tech support.)

After I hung up and had a chance to think about it, I kicked myself for missing the opportunity to play with that guy.

"Thanks you for helping me to fix my problem. I really appreciate it. Are you sure you want to wait for me to turn on my computer? Can't you just tell me the steps and I'll write them down and fix it later?"

"How did you get my name and phone number? Did my computer tell you in the error message?

"Should I run my daily backup? It will only take a few minutes. Sorry, but it already started. How do I stop it? No, I don't know how to do that. Then we must wait for it to finish." (Xcopy32 operation embedded in a startup DOS batch file so a Ctrl-C would work to abort it, if needed.)

"We could play solitaire until the backup finishes. Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? Is your name Peggy?"

"Okay, my computer is up. No I don't see that screen. Where do I look to find it? No, I don't see that screen either. Are you sure your instructions are correct?" (My OS is Win98SE so I'm guessing he won't know my screen options.)

"No I don't know my OS version. It was like this when I got here. Where do I look to find it? Do you want me to call a tech support person?"

"No I don't know my IP address. Where do I look to find it. No, I don't see anything there. Are you sure you are giving me the correct instructions?" (My IP address is dynamically assigned by my ISP and unknowable until I log-in.)

"I'm pushing the button to go online, but my computer is not connecting. Are you sure you are telling me correctly how to do this?" (Dial up connection, here. Can't connect online while I'm on the phone.)

"Could you mail me a screen print of the error messages? You can mail it to me in care of General Delivery at my local post office. I'm sure I'll get it as I've often used that address." (When ever I suspected a scam.)

Oh what fun I could have had with him, if I'd only been a little sharper! I can be pretty dense some times... and denser when I need to be. :)

I'm curious what he was trying to get me to do. Disable my firewall? Enable file sharing? Recruit my computer to be a trojan server?

Wonder how he got my name, phone number? Am I on a "pimp this guy" list? I thought the "Do not call lists" were to prevent this. Don't foreign scamers respect our "Do Not Call" lists? :)

Oh, well. If any of you get a phone call from this guy, have fun, play with him, and tell us what he wanted from us.


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Post by joefarrell » Wed Dec 22, 2010 11:29 am

Hi Dr.:

Your post reminds me of a site dedicated to harrassing/frustrating/decommissioning perpetrators of advanced fee fraud. Members are known as scambaiters - the 419 in the name refers to a particular Nigerian code that is violated as part of advanced fee fraud. If you have a moment, take a look - the stories can be infectious time wasters!!!


I hope it is okay to post a link - sorry in advance if not.


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Post by neverknow » Wed Dec 22, 2010 12:02 pm

Last edited by neverknow on Mon Jan 17, 2011 5:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Imperabo » Wed Dec 22, 2010 1:46 pm

I'm guessing his time is worth less than yours.

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Post by dratkinson » Thu Feb 03, 2011 4:16 pm

Follow up.

On last night's news, the reporter told the story of a local woman called by someone saying they represented Microsoft and offering to fix her computer.

She gave them remote access to her computer and a credit card number for the service. But later had second thoughts and started investigating. This is were the local news learned the story.

Googling "Microsoft tech support scam" returns a lot of information. These scams seem to be coming from India.

From the Microsoft website: http://www.microsoft.com/protect/fraud/ ... sname.aspx
Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer

In this scam cybercriminals call you and claim to be from Microsoft Tech Support. They offer to help solve your computer problems. Once the crooks have gained your trust, they attempt to steal from you and damage your computer with malware including viruses and spyware.

Although law enforcement can trace phone numbers, perpetrators often use pay phones, disposable cellular phones, or stolen cellular phone numbers. It's better to avoid being conned rather than try to repair damage afterwards.

Treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism. Do not provide any personal information.

If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support, hang up. We do not make these kinds of calls.

If you think you might be a victim of fraud, you can report it. For more information, see: What to do if you've responded to a phishing scam.

So it appears Denver is being worked by these scammers.

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Post by tim1999 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 7:01 pm

I would catch on pretty quickly to a call like this, since it seems like computer or electronics tech support from one of the big titans (Apple, Microsoft, Dell, etc.) is never free.

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Post by youngt2 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:26 pm

HAHA! Since when has a tech support company ever reached out to a consumer?

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