On 2/8/17, Nicole received the following voicemail pretending to be from the IRS saying she is about to be arrested and property seized. Don't fall for the scam. The calling number is supposedly 360-824-5429.
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.
Just for giggles this evening, I decided to go into the spam mailbox and see what the latest scam people are trying to pull are. Tonight, there was over 20 in this one (unpublished) box with this theme....
Hmmm...all within the last day. I wonder if I am looking for a job? :)
As I open one up, you get what looks like the opportunity to be a money mule....oh joy!
Obviously, the only job opportunity is for an opportunity to either work for organized crime, or get your information stolen....probably both. At least Google warns you of this.
Friends don't let friends get pwned.
Ah...the joys of Saturday morning. I am sitting here this a.m., while trying to convince Joshua that going to his friend's birthday party might be fun (and not winning), when we get a call with caller ID reading UNAVAILABLE. It is election time, so I assume it is some campaign trying a last ditch effort to bull$**t me into voting for them. However, Nicole had mentioned that she had been receiving missing several of these calls recently and I was curious what the call was. I answer the call and have a large pause before I get an individual (ah...an autodialer, this is not a recorded message). Finally, on the other end, comes a voice with a thick accent (likely Indian).
The "fun" begins. The gentleman on the other end of the line picks up and asks for me by name. Here is how the conversation went (not verbatim, but close enough to get the gist of the call:
"May I speak to Kirk Becker...."
"This is (name forgotten) from Online PC Support," (I think that was the name). "I am calling you because you may be having a problem with your computer. "
"Okay...." I think I see where this is heading...***SCAM ALERT ALARM SOUNDS GOING THROUGH MY HEAD***
"Yes, your computer has been reporting errors online to us. Can you tell us what operating system you have?"
"Okay...um..." Do I have time to play around with the guy? Nah...I still have to help my youngest get dressed. "I somehow don't think so. You see, I am an IT professional that might have a clue on how my computer actually operates. Please take me off your calling list."
Turns out this scam may be more widespread than I had originally thought. Doing a quick google search brought me to the following website where at least 900 different people have commented about the scam, and there was a police crackdown in July in the UK on one of these outfits. The website has links to several videos where people are on the phone with these "PC support experts." Some reports from individuals getting called in the US can be found here.
Obviously, don't give them any more information or a credit card. They are out to steal something from you.
I do hope ignore me and call back. I would love to get help on an OS2 Warp system. :)
It is amazing that this scam is still taking place. My wife just received a call from this (or a similar) group trying the exact same script. She gave them a similar blowoff as I did in the original article (if you are legitimate, then contact my husband via email...no request for email address).
Scammers will be scammers.
About 2 weeks after I posted this information, the following article came out about the same issue. Share and enjoy.