A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that


Monday, 13 April 2015

Hooptedoodle #170 - Donkey Award - Even the Scammers Are Crap


Phone rang at 9 o’clock this morning. It was almost like a long-lost friend had called. I had spoken briefly to this presence when I answered the phone at my mother’s house a year or two ago, but they’ve taken a long time to get round to me. Now they were calling – I felt almost honoured.

A gentleman from the Indian subcontinent asked for me by name – he was polite, though his English wasn’t very good. The number showed in the caller display

008045550164

He said that there was “a problem with the Windows” and if I was near my computer I must help him to fix it. It would just take a few minutes, and I had to do this.

I told him I knew who he was, and where he was, and what he was doing. I told him that the call was being recorded (untrue), and could he please give me his name, so that I could pass it to the police?

“Oh no,” he said, “no need to go to all that trouble – this is the Windows Support, this is what I told you already.”

I know what happens next – the caller gets the victim to fire up Windows, to run eventvwr, displaying a supposed pile of (spurious) error codes. Then he gets him to sign up to some fake extended guarantee, which will require a credit card payment, and then he persuades him to allow remote access to his computer, where they can implant any malware they wish, and through which they can (and will) delete key system files if the card details turn out to be invalid, often demanding immediate payment to undo the damage.


Monday mornings are a bit low on excitement here, but I was (frankly) disappointed that the young man was untroubled by being told that I knew he was a villain, and was quite prepared to carry on where we had left off. I got bored with him and hung up. I am surprised they keep this going – the scam is famous – it has been widely known as the Microsoft (sic) Scam since about 2007. Obviously it must still be making money for them, though I would have thought that a credit card transfer was traceable – mostly I am surprised that the scammers have not been arrested or dismembered.

So – action point for today – if it isn’t there already, put the number I noted above in your phone’s directory, with the name LOW LIFE SCUM against it, so you know not to speak to them if they ring you. I am vaguely interested in where they got my phone number and name, and how they know my BT account details, since my phones are ex-directory and BT’s records are supposed to be confidential. Not to worry, but bad people are not usually as limp as these guys – my brush with them wasn’t even entertaining.

Poor show all round.


15 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. They are indeed a collection of running sores on the backside of humanity - serious measures are called for. It is noted that BT customers are worst hit in the UK, and that the scammers seem to have free access to BT's customer files (though they may be a little out of date, since I was asked when they phoned my mum was I my father, who had been dead for some 5 years at the time).

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  2. Clearly one of The Old School Scammers (TOSSers - to the rest of the civilized world).

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    1. I fear that they are still more of a menace than I give them credit for - I have a tendency to find ineptitude endearing (no doubt because I can empathise with other Klutzes), but these follows are just vermin. The people they trick are the elderly and the naive. Ray is right - let us kill them all.

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  3. I'm still a big fan of the football whistle. Indiscriminate and misguided, maybe, but as satisfying as a pee in a bottle on the late night bus.

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    1. What - the football whistle down the telephone? Good heavens.

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    2. Oh yes. Recommmended by a policeman who gives the same advice to women who get 'that' sort of phone call.
      Another good one is the "I'll see if he's in" and leave the phone off the hook for a while. It's their bill.

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  4. Sounds familiar. Did go for that 'how long can I string them along' thin a while back, can't be bothered these days. I'll get back to it eventually.

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    Replies
    1. That's how I feel, but I can't stop thinking about the football whistle now. I've got a very big selection of percussion "toys", including a few excellent whistles, a deafening duck call and a fabby siren. Hmmm.

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  5. I recently took a batch of about 8 calls in one day from the same sub-continent. The person they asked for has never even lived at my house and I sure as heck wasn't going to give them my details when the asked for it.

    It gave me immense satisfaction when my good lady handed me her personal attack alarm. For the last caller I pretended to be the person they requested and I informed them that I had a sore throat so they would have to turn the volume up to hear my whispered croakey voice.....Oh they got the full wake up call that day, no doubt about it! Next time I let thing go off indoors I will wear my shooting ear defenders!

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    Replies
    1. Excellent - that's kind of scary from the point of view of collateral damage, but very good.

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  6. Could there be some connection with the fact that BT also has call centres in the Indian sub continent?

    We had one involving a genuine SKY Indian call centre when my wife was reinstating sky sports one for our son. We were told we would have to take four sport channels or nothing at all. Eventually when she got hold of a UK customer service manager they explained that the Indian call centre staff got commission for signing up full sports packages!

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    1. I try very hard to avoid coming to conclusions like that (not least since we could all end up in court), but it is an interesting coincidence.

      Sky have redefined morality in many directions over the years - one day after the revolution we'll laugh about it all. You don't suppose that nice Mr Murdoch gets nuisance calls, do you?

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  7. The "Windows scam" targets Australia, too. Since nearly everyone can tell they're sphincters they have clearly been getting frustrated by the hangups and abuse. One actually rang me back the other day after I hung up on him, to berate me and tell me how offensive my conduct was! Apparently they do this a lot now, hoping I guess to browbeat people into feeling bad for "misjudging" them. They also ring pretending to be a phone company or a bank. I have been tempted for some time to get an air horn or something. At least they wouldn't call back after sustaining a burst air drum!

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  8. Canada too - they must be touring the Commonwealth or something. I use a variation of the dog whistle or when I am feeling nicer, give them a long lecture about how their mum must feel knowing her son is a criminal.

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