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Scam alert. Are you getting phone calls by people claiming to be tech support?

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / May 25, 2012 8:21 AM PDT
Question:
Scam alert. Are you getting phone calls by people claiming to be tech support?


Hi my name is Glenn, screen name Glenn51. I have a question for you and it might make a good
post on your CNet community page. I also read most all of your post and sometimes comment to
help answer problems.

I've been receiving phone calls to my home phone over the better part of 2 months on the average
of 2 sometimes 3 times per week regarding my Windows operating system. They claim to be from
Tech. Support. The first time I "almost fell for it" but as the session went on it got extremely fishy!

I then ended the phone session and called Microsoft directly via phone. They informed me that
Microsoft doesn't ever contact a person by phone. The MS call confirmed my suspicion.

At around 4 O'clock this evening, May 19th, 2012, I received yet another phone call from Harry
at Tech. Support saying he needs to check to see if I have any infected files on my computer. I actually
have 3 all running Windows 7. All are legitimate installations of Window 7.

I told Harry that I have talked directly to Microsoft who said they don't contact people via phone! He
yet again stated that he is/ was from Tech. Support. I asked him if this was from Microsoft Tech. Support
to which he danced around the subject. I then asked him outright to divulge the name of his employer
and phone number as I was going to file a complaint with Microsoft, the Federal Trade Commission
and the Federal Communications Commission!

He stated that he can't divulge that to me as he is not authorized to do so. I then told him that since
he isn't authorized to release that information, then I was not authorized to communicate with him. I
requested that he/ they stop bothering me at least 3 or 4 times till I finally hung up on him! He kept on
trying to get me to go along with him on checking my computer. I refused and then hung up.

This really isn't a question being asked but a heads up warning for all your followers. I'd like to know
if anyone else is being harassed or bothered by similar phone calls. What I'd really like to know is who
the Hades gave or sold them my home phone number so I could return the favor. Maybe sign them up
for dial-a-porn or something of the sorts.

If the caller can't identify the company or give me a phone number, then I refuse to give them my time.
By the way I told him I run Norton Internet Security 2012, Malwarebytes Anti-malware and have run msert
( the Windows Safe Scan that was downloaded directly from Microsoft's website), not to mention
that I download all updates on patch Tuesday which includes their malicious software removal tool as
part of the update process. Everything that I use to check, which are current on all updates, tell me I'm clean
as a new and never used whistle!

I apologize for the length of this e-mail. If you decide to post it feel free to edit as you see fit. Like I
stated earlier it was to be more of a informational alert for your followers and to see if anyone else has
been bothered by this pesty pain in the posterior! I personally DO NOT think this is a legitimate phone call,
maybe it's the new phishing/ scamming/ socially engineered drive by! The caller sounded to be from India.

P.S. Checking the caller I.D. only shows out of area. An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
I think Ben Franklin said that. Readers beware!!!!!! If they can't identify themselves TERMINATE the call!!!!!

Thanks.

-Submitted by: Glenn51
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Happened to my dad....

The same thing happened to my dad. They ALMOST convinced him to let them start snooping around on his computer. Thankfully he checked with me first.

Once they get in, then they start planting the very stuff they are claiming you have, and then charging you to "remove" it (which of course, they really won't). Their malware will also try and spread to people via your email lists, etc.

It's gotten so I no longer even answer my phone unless I know exactly who is calling. They can leave a message if it's important, otherwise, I am NOT obligated to speak with them just because they pick up a phone and call me. Long gone are the days of the "courtesy of a reply". I'll speak to only whom I wish, and usually because I call THEM.

~Ken

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These guys are the devil...
by Patiencebu / May 25, 2012 10:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Happened to my dad....

I'm in IT, so I knew when I got the first call that it was a scam... especially when the guy told me my computer had 'called them' and told them it was infected. I fished for a little information, and then hung up. They started to call every single day, and I got more and more frustrated, finally telling them that if they didn't remove me from their list I would report them - and the calls escalated to several times per day (I had stopped answering). I had the number blocked, and they started calling again several weeks later using Skype, which can not be blocked with existing technology. On the day I received an even DOZEN calls (yes, 12 calls in a single day), I called the RCMP - but was told that nothing could be done because the calls originated outside of Canada. At the end of my rope, I purchased a whistle and started picking up the calls again... not speaking, just blowing the whistle into the phone.

The calls have stopped now, but I'm amazed at the persistence of these morons. I hope everyone here is aware that your computer isn't calling ANYONE and asking for help even if it IS infected with a virus, and that no reputable company will ever call you on the phone to suggest that you need to install stuff. Any critical security updates for software you already have will be pushed through automatically, and as long as you're smart about not visiting questionable sites, opening email attachments, and having an antivirus program installed, you will be fine.

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iYogi
by mchainmchain / May 26, 2012 1:56 AM PDT

Avast! terminated iYogi customer assistance because of too many incidents such as the above.

The rationale was that Avast! was providing a free antivirus scanner at the time (still does) and this service was provided to help customers with installation/error problems with Avast!. High-pressure sales and scareware tactics were sometimes used and resulted in a subscription of $165.00 per year being sold to the caller. As this service was supposedly free, the callers often felt they had been scammed.

Here, the avast user called them, so...

Identical tactics. Identical results. Only difference is, now they are calling you.

Service Techs were from India as well.

Coincidence?

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iyogi
by jhaenle / June 1, 2012 1:21 PM PDT
In reply to: iYogi

I am glad to hear Avast does not use them anymore. I had the worst experience with them. I signed up for the help with a virus I had. Twice on the phone with them for 4 HOURS each time. After the first call I couldn't even get on the internet. The next call was too fix what the first tech had done! They could never fix it and then got on to my other older computer to help with the other and continued to try to get me to sign up for that one too. I had a hard time finding a manager to stop my payment which i finally did and then erased any sign of them in my computer. I thought these calls were from them and going through old names to get business. I have had 7 calls in the last week.

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Yes mine was also from the same part of the world.
by sidsen / June 1, 2012 10:01 PM PDT
In reply to: iYogi

I got this unsolicited call a couple of weeks back.
The caller asked me if I was the owner of the phone.
I ducked that question and gradually led him to come out with what exactly he wanted without giving out any more. Same sort of drivel that my PC was compromised etc. etc.
After about three minutes of mindless drivel when he wanted to poke around my computer, I realized that he was a scammer.
Finally and abruptly I decided to stop him calling by saying that he was definitely, absolutely and surely a m##########r (one of the worst expletives known to man).
He immediately took umbrage and replied that I had no right to say that.
I agreed by letting him know that I was not present during the act, but all indications were that I was not wrong.
He wanted to continue with his righteous indignation, but I thought I had enough and hung up.
Few minutes later another person rang. This time it was a girl.
I told her that at the moment I was busy, but if she cared to leave her phone number, I would ring her back.
Needless to say that freephone number did not exist.
I wonder why I was not surprised.............

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IT Scam
by kenedy123 / May 29, 2012 2:14 PM PDT

This would be experienced by each every It guy I guess and your experience is really an interesting one

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*69 or 1471 or your country's equivalent.
by Hartiq / June 2, 2012 2:01 AM PDT

Then go to www.whocallsme.com and share with the world your experiences with whatever number you get back. That site has useful advice, too.
It's heavily weighted towards UKland, but there's probably a USAlien equivalent.

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Use their number to spam them
by Tellusa / August 15, 2012 12:42 AM PDT

Most cold callers use a 'Withheld', 'Unavailable' or 'International' number but, if you can get their phone number, use it in several comparison sites to search for car insurance. Don't forget to select the option for potential insurance companies to contact you by phone.

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I GET THESE CALLS TOO
by joydav3 / June 12, 2012 2:11 AM PDT

I am fed up with the calls one of them even called me back when I put the phone down on him, I too am a pensioner but like to think I'm ahead of the game but can understand some people falling for these scams if they are new to computers. Most of the callers appear to be phoning from India I tell them to get a proper job.

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hit them where it hurts
by new8ie / June 29, 2012 3:40 PM PDT

I get these same phone calls and spend spare time when I have the spare time pretending to soft boot and run through the instructions the IT techs provide for me. I act like a novice goof computer user and make several mistakes repeating things to them at least five different times. I sometimes ask them off-the-wall questions about any number of variety of topics. A few times once they have called me I started a monologue about the importance of insurance provisions for our loved ones in the unfortunate event of our demise. I was surprised how one of them gave me all his personal information expecting to receive a safety package about insurance. I just remembered about one time I was talking nasty about porn on one of the phone calls. Another time I asked the caller if his soul has been saved for eternity. Another time I asked the caller to ping my computer, while turning off my computer but not telling him, and listen to him tell me what sort of ping speeds he was receiving. Some times I love getting these phone calls because I love wasting their time ...

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Telemarketers
by rjcoffee47 / July 14, 2012 6:36 AM PDT

I like the insurance but one of the best ways to deal with a telemarketer or scam artist was a comedy bit, from a radio show, I heard by Tom Mabe now on you tube, just google it. His approach was to pretend he was a police officer investigating a murder scene and he starts to question the caller as if might be a suspect - hilarious!

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Happened at my dads
by grahamter / June 1, 2012 11:18 AM PDT
In reply to: Happened to my dad....

This happened at my dads house in Feb. I told them OK, (this had happened at my house a month earler and just hung up) let me boot it up. Then I said ok I am ready. So I pretened to go through it all with them and palyed along. A couple times I made them hold on while I went to the bathroom or got something to drink. I kept them on the phone for about 15-20 minutes. They then asked if I was all done? I said yes I have been done since you called. There is no computer and no internet in the house you stupid F***ing Idiot! Then hung up!

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(NT) LOL
by eddiespotty / June 1, 2012 3:38 PM PDT
In reply to: Happened at my dads
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Have some fun with them
by John Peddle / June 1, 2012 10:06 PM PDT
In reply to: Happened at my dads

I do that all the time; have some fun at their expense. I pretend I'm an elder person and I can't hear them very well or I speak with a really thick accent, pretend somebody is at the door, or my computer can't access the internet and try to get them to troubleshoot the problem, do a quick search for fart noises and play them during the call. When I'm tired of it I just tell them that I'm messing with them, that I know they're trying to rip me off, have a chuckle at their reaction and hang up.

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that is the best laugh i have had thank you.
by gabinness / June 2, 2012 10:02 AM PDT
In reply to: Happened at my dads

having been suffering from loan morons for months now who are adamant that there is a guy called dean murrey living at my telephone number and that he is desperate for a loan i fought back too. after two weeks of hell from them i started to saved every phone number [all mobiles] and named them loan1 loan2 loan3 etc [up to 15 at the mo] and every time i get one i forward it to all the rest of them. then i forward all the rest of them to the one i just got one from and name that number loan __ so it goes round and round. they are slowing down from eight a day to three a week now.. cant think why. but yes i know for a fact that your approach is what my son would have done. i have seen him do it with a windows company who was constantly phoning me, he actually gave [made up]credit card details to them for a deposit over the phone including his [none existent] address and a date he wanted the work to start on..........it just makes you feel a bit better really.

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Aluminum siding
by gitmo. / June 4, 2012 12:14 AM PDT

I once kept an aluminum siding guy on the phone for hours, really getting excited about how much money it was going to save me. Had him repeat the costs many times. Talked about colors, etc.

He then asked me what size my house was. I said "What do you mean?" He explained he needed the dimensions of the house. I explained I don't have a house. I live in an apartment.

He replied with a string of expletives.

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I have my number registered at:
by Darrell / July 16, 2012 5:45 AM PDT
donotcall.gov Darrell
PS - if I see an unknown number, I can delete it and turn my cell off
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Re: I have my number..................
by Glenn51 / July 16, 2012 10:05 PM PDT

The federal "Do Not Call" registry has been turned into a joke by scammers AND businesses. They use random call initiating devices.

Some of the calls say they are from Texas, New Hampshire or wherever. But you can still hear the VERY STRONG India accents to the point of BARELY being able to understand the person. Not to mention you can hear 5, 10 ,20 or more scammers in the background making their scam calls!

While the Federal Do Not Call was a great idea it has been pretty much been trashed. Now there are some legitimate businesses that will apologize and state we will take you off their list. I've been on the list for over 2 years and just last year I reapplied yet again as the calls started getting more frequent yet again from legit businesses. How exactly they get it I don't know but they're supposed to get a list of numbers NOT TO CALL and remove them from the auto dial computer!

What do you mean you'll take me off your list?????? I'm NOT supposed to be on it already!!!! So you shouldn't have to take it off!

Now the scammers couldn't care less!

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Great idea!
by pc-kitty / June 18, 2012 3:14 AM PDT
In reply to: Happened at my dads

Fantastic tip about keeping these scammers holding on the phone and wasting their time! They're scamming less people that way!

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Yes we get this a lot.

Yes we get these calls a lot. I don't think they necessarily got your number from anyone, I think this operates on a huge scale mostly out of India or Asia and they just call random numbers until they find somebody gullible. They have various tricks they use where they get you to bring up something most users are not familiar with such as the event log and use it to convince you that your computer is in great danger (for instance even a normal 100% healthy PC will have quite a few yellow exclamation marks in some sections of the event log) then they get you to pay and set up a logmein123 session or similar which they presumably use to pretend to do very complex "repairs".

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Yes, got one two days ago...

If I had to guess, I would say the caller was from India by the accent. He wanted me to open my "run" dialogue box and enter commands that he would give me. I told him I'm using Norton and all windows updates were in place, but he said they had received a message that my computer was infected and I couldn't trust those programs. I told him I didn't trust him and tried to get something out of him about who he worked for, etc., but none of it made any sense at all. There was a caller ID that i reported to the National "Do Not Call" enforcers, but it may have been forged, who knows?

TT

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Just say you don't have a computer
by pamelad / May 26, 2012 7:20 AM PDT

A call like that is almost certainly a scam, about 99.9% probability. Just say, "Computoor, I no have computoor." For extra fun, embellish with a few inquiries to the caller using your best fake accent.

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good idea
by herrbohnenn / June 1, 2012 4:57 PM PDT

Ive done this and it works a treat

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Just say you don't have a computer
by Hoofhearted / June 1, 2012 9:24 PM PDT

Better than that just keep saying Heeelllloooo in a weak voice of an old grandmother, that really pisses them off.
Don't say anything else except the long drawn out Heeelllloooo. They soon hang up.
Another good trick is if you know any other language like French or Dutch, use that, they seem to be only able to communicate in the English language.

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Answering machine
by skelax / June 4, 2012 9:01 AM PDT

I have an answering machine attached to my phone and if I do not recognize the caller, I do not answer. It is that simple.

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TPSonline.org.uk
by Hartiq / June 2, 2012 2:12 AM PDT

In UKland go to tpsonline.org.uk and register your number. Sometimes it helps for a while, but it doesn't cure calls from illegitimate scunners who don't obey laws, rules and trades organisation agreements. And the *69 or 1471 traceback I mentioned earlier does not, of course, work with the callers why scam us using VOIP. Those don't seem to have a traceable originating number. Well not one civilians can find, though The Law could probably track them.
I also found that my teleco would change my number once for free when I mentioned I was having scammer scunner issues. They gave me a number that had been dead for ages so the vermin had given up on trying it. I will probably be safe for at least a year, or until some UKlander Government department sells a list with my new number on it to a "trusted third party".

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Calls from people claiming to be Microsoft

Glenn51,
I to have been recieving these from people claiming they are from Microsoft.
I like you called Microsoft, and was informed the same by Microsoft.
These calls have not ceased, ever though I have applied and received from ACMA, a
note saying I will not receive phone calls like this.
I have been told third hand that my information plus others, even people with unlisted
phone numbers have been given out by a well named telecommunication company.
When ever I recieve these calls now, I slam the phone down hard.
Maybe I should get a loud whistle.

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Re: Calls from people claiming to be Microsoft
by onecalmmom / June 1, 2012 11:47 AM PDT

When I get calls from solicitors I either hang up immediately or just lay the phone down and let them chat to themselves. The best was the other day when some woman called about a political canditate. The next time I entered the room I heard her say "Hello, are you there?" Hello, hello, H - E - L - L - O -- as I continued to my destination. Now I don't answer my phone, which really aggravates my kids! I told them, they can either answer it or let the answering machine pick it up. If it's someone I care to talk to I'll pick it up while they're leaving a message, provided I'm in the vicinity of the answering machine to hear the message. And the bonus is that I'm getting a lot more done without the interruptions!

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Answering machine
by skelax / June 4, 2012 9:41 AM PDT

You can buy cheap phones with answering machine or caller ID's at Walmart, Kmart or Target and just ignore that calls that you don't recognize. It is that simple.

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Scam Alert
by Flip465 / June 1, 2012 1:00 PM PDT

The whistle is a great idea. High pitched whistles work wonders - especially if your caller has a head set on.
We where given that idea by a telephone technician (a real one) years ago when we started getting 'crank' calls at all hours of the day and night year ago on our unlisted home phone number.
One sharp, very loud burst from the whistle into your phones mouth piece then hang up usually does the trick - now we have an answering machine as part of the house telephone / intercom system.
This lets us 'vet' all incoming calls by simply listening to who or what on the base station's speaker, if the callers number shows up on the screen or not.

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