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
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.