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Phone Scam

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 17:11
by Nuke
Just spent some time stringing along a scammer with a strong Indian accent who said he had been monitoring my internet connection for three weeks and detected problems. I went along with it for the laugh.

He said he was phoning from "Windows", like it's a company! So I fired up a copy of XP I have in VirtualBox, and took it as a challenge to string him along as long as possible without telling a lie.

He must have thought he was talking to a real noobie as he was quite long-winded about explaining how to start a browser (perhaps intended victims would need to be that dumb anyway). At one point he told me to find the key at the bottom left ("You mean the one with c-t-r-l on it?") and press the key immediately to its right. I said there was no key immediately to its right; I guess he meant the "Windows" key, but I use a 25 yo IBM model M which has a gap between the Ctrl and the Alt keys. We spent a 5 minutes, enjoyable for me, frustrating for him, while I described at his request my bottom key row, key-by-key. He'd obviously never seen a keyboard without the "Windows" key.

He laboriously worked round that problem, got Firefox running, took me to the Teamviewer website where I downloaded its remote contol software and ran it. It first displayed a numerical code that I had to read back to him, then a window opened showing a dialogue session. I think a technical accomplice was doing that part.

At that point I shut the VM. "What are you doing sir? What can you see on your screen now?". "It's blank", I said. "You must have made it crash!". About then my phone handset battery ran out. He phoned back a few minutes later (phone slightly recharged) "What happened sir, why did you put the phone down?" and I said "I think we have done enough for today".

Several times I prompted him "It concerns me that you have not yet asked me what version of Windows I'm running; it's quite old". "It doesn't matter sir" he said. If he'd asked I might have said it was in a VM. He did ask me what make of computer I had, and I replied that I had made it myself; you'd think that would give him a clue that I was not technically dumb.

He (unknowingly) had the last laugh though. In deleting the VM image and restoring an earlier snapshot, I accidentally deleted the whole lot! Never mind, I'd only put XP there as a trial of VirtualBox and it had nothing on it.

Re: Phone Scam

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 17:38
I have heard of these scams before. Be very careful with these people. They might be trying to hack into your system as soon as they get connected to it. I wouldn't do that again if I was you without being very sure about what you are getting into.
Good luck. I'm surprised they didn't try to get some money from you before they did anything.
You should have got a number from them that you could call them back and mess with them that way.

Re: Phone Scam

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 18:21
by grizzler
Phone scams are a well known problem in these parts. I usually don't have the time to keep them busy for too long (only managed about 10 minutes, once).

They're getting weirder and weirder, though. The last time I was very busy with something so I immediately told him I knew he was a con man and he could go BEEP himself. Would you believe he actually tried to convince me he was for real? He kept insisting he was "from Windows" (yes, him too).
I mean, how silly can you get, still trying to get a foot in when you already know the person you're speaking to is fully aware of what you really are... Crazy.

Re: Phone Scam

Posted: 02 Nov 2015 19:57
by ilu
Never heard about anything like that here. Probably because people who might be dumb enough to fall for something like this would never be able to understand an indian speaking english ...

Re: Phone Scam

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 05:03
by dawning
I think these scammers have been doing this job since several years ago. I even can find so many reports about Windows or Microsoft scams almost everyday at complaint boards like People should have been aware of them. It's not a new scam, dudes.

Re: Phone Scam

Posted: 03 Nov 2015 20:57
by SolydForEver
grizzler wrote: I mean, how silly can you get, still trying to get a foot in when you already know the person you're speaking to is fully aware of what you really are... Crazy.
Windows people are not that clever.

Re: Phone Scam

Posted: 04 Nov 2015 15:57
by Arjen Balfoort
SolydForEver wrote:Windows people are not that clever.
I was a Microsoft consultant. That's even worse.

Re: Phone Scam

Posted: 04 Nov 2015 23:32
by Fargo
I had never heard of this Windows scam before until about 2-3 years ago. I had just set my mother-in-law up with Linux for the first time. About 2 weeks after she started using Linux, she got the call from someone at 'WIndows'. They told her they could see she was having trouble with Windows and they could fix it for her. She was a bit confused at this point because she knew she just switched to Linux and did not have Windows any more. She was however having trouble with Adobe though, so she asked if they meant they were with Adobe. They assured her they were with Windows. After a couple of minutes she figured it must be a scam and hung up. I don't think she would have fallen for it anyway, but I like to give Linux credit for saving her that time.