My wife got a call this evening on our phone from someone claiming to be from "Windows Technical Department" saying that my Windows computer had a virus. Knowing that this was some sort of scam, Nicole says let me give you to my husband so he can work with you. ;) Oh, goodie. I get to have fun with the guy. We exchange pleasantries over the phone and trying to be as pleasant and chipper as I could be. The poor sap does not know about what is going to hit him...
Me - "I will be happy to work with you to solve our virus problem."
Him - "Go ahead and turn on your computer." Okay....my first problem. He wants me to turn on my computer...I have 3 of them on in a 5 ft reach...all of them on. :)
"Okay - Turned on." I wonder if the 5 seconds it took me to "turn on my computer" was enough time. "My Ubuntu Linux box is turned on."
"Look at your keyboard. Do you see the 'C-T-R-L' key on the lower left of your keyboard?"
"I see the control key.'
"Do you see the key that looks like the Windows logo?"
"No, I see the Option key on my Apple keyboard."
"Uh...are you in front of your Windows computer?"
At that point I had enough. I told him to stop trying to scam me ("this is not a scam", "Let me get one of my Microsoft certified people."...give me their numbers and I will check them out). I told them if they Google their own company, there are many links that say they are a scam. Protest after protest until I was done with the call. The number of the caller ID shows up as 987654321 (spoofed caller ID).
I really have to get up a VM quicker next time so I can try to see what they want me to do and better understand the scam. They will call back (obviously) because they called here 2 weeks ago from 0256592258.
Microsoft has even put up their own site to avoid these kind of phone scams. The US site on this can be found here.
I received another one of these types of calls on September 22 from an organization calling themselves the "Software and Maintenance Department of OnlinPCCare" with the number 646-503-6605 in the caller id. They did not get much past "your event viewer errors are indications of a critical error from the internet" before I called them out again. Poor guy. :)
I did some more research on this type of scam and ran into some videos and information from Troy Hunt, a techie from down under. He has a particularly good blog post about it here.