Monday, March 23, 2015

Make Sure Your Mom and Dad Know What to Do When They Get the Call.

An older friend recently showed up for his annual visit.  As we had dinner on Friday evening he mentioned that he'd had a computer problem.

He didn't know he had a problem until he received a call from someone with a heavy, Indian accent who purported to be from Microsoft security.  The caller said Microsoft had detected a dangerous virus in my friend's computer.  All he needed to do was let them remotely access his computer and all would be well - or at least it would be well after he agreed to a $350 charge on his VISA card.

The next morning I trotted my friend into the local branch of his bank where they wasted no time in doing all the appropriate fixes.  Bank of Montreal security was alerted, new credit card and bank cards issued, a few other tweaks and my friend was good to go.

He called this morning with the next installment of  this saga.  A couple of weeks after his bank stopped the payment he received another call from another guy with an Indian accent who angrily demanded an explanation of why the credit card charge had been rejected.  My friend was told he'd get his comeuppance and that's when his computer froze or, more accurately, was frozen - remotely.

A computer techie with some familiarity of these things was called in.  $175-later the problem was resolved and it was definitely sabotage.  The techie mentioned he'd encountered the same problem with the computer of a recently retired RCMP officer.

A late buddy's widow received the same call from someone speaking in a heavy Indian accent purporting to represent Microsoft computer security.  She was told they had detected a virus on her computer.  This is where things get weird.

The widow informed the caller that she couldn't have a computer virus because - she didn't have a computer.  The fellow on the other end of the line began arguing with her, basically calling her out as a liar.  He wanted her credit card number and apparently wasn't going away without it.  She finally just hung up on the guy.

That wasn't the end of her problems.  Over the next two weeks she received more calls, all with the same accent, all wanting her credit card information and warning of unspecified problems that could arise if she refused.  It's no wonder she looked relieved when she left for 3-weeks in Hawaii.

These guys are upping their game.  They're becoming more persistent, even threatening, not to mention that they'll sabotage the computers of the unwary.

Talk to your folks.  Tell them that Microsoft doesn't call customers.  Tell them these callers are going to scam them.  Don't allow strangers access to their computers and don't give out any credit card information.


Toby said...

We are also getting calls pretending to be our bank and/or our credit card companies; all phony. What happened to Harper's anti junk phone call list?

Our phone companies and Internet suppliers could do a much better job of screening out the bad guys but they don't want to.

Related are the spammers. Check these links:

The World's Worst Spam Producing Countries

The World's Worst ISPs

The World's Worst Spammers

On the last one, note Canadian Pharmacy - Ukraine. For sure, this one is aimed at seniors. Also note that our neighbour to the south is the worst spam producing country. A couple of years ago Rogers was on the list of Worst ISPs.

The Mound of Sound said...

I find that I'm getting pfishing attacks three or four times daily. I've also received a few of these bogus Microsoft calls. Sometimes I cuss them out. Other times I ask them to hold for a minute, put the phone in my desk drawer, and go on my business.

Lorne said...

I can't tell you the number of times I have received such calls, Mound. I used to string them along for a while just to take up their time, but these days I tend to just hurl a few expletives and then hang up.

Grant G said...

I get one of those calls every week, so does my mother.

I simply say..Excuse my French..

"Fuck off and die"then hang up.

My mom does the same, not the curse part, just the hang up part.

Not sure how they affected your friend`s computer, unless they accessed code through serial numbers and brand name..

These scammers usually target old land lines...

Oops, gotta go, mom just called and she was informed that she won a free West jet trip, oh and by the way, I found out today I won the Irish lottery, gotta hurry up though, I have to send their representative $40 k for administration fees before they transfer the monies into my Canadian bank account.

Woo Hoo, I`m rich...


WILLY said...

These guys phoned me a couple of years ago.

I told him he was full of sh*t because I had Macs and he should stop ripping people off.

Similarly the guy became aggressive & offensive.

I told him to f**k off and hung up.

I got calls for the next two hours with threats to attack me & my family with knives.

And when I answered one of the calls and started laughing while explaining that he would have a rough time killing me with a knife from Pakistan, he got angrier.

The calls carried on for the next three days, leaving more threatening messages and then finally stopped.

Not very nice people.

Anonymous said...

Most of the time I hang up, but on a occasion, when I am in a good mood, I draw them in and then pretend to be mentally disturbed. (I do not have to pretend much ;-) Works like a charm. The drawback?
Cannot laugh, at least during phone conversation. They have my phone #...

Anonymous said...

Windows is the virus.

Cirze said...


Thanks for letting everyone know what's continually arising from the original virus shipped with our computers (Windows).

I've been down at least four or five hours each day this last week as my cursor stops working, nothing responds on my screens, and the internet connection becomes intermittent, or just dies outright, even though the router buttons are all green and flashing (meaning they are transmitting) and no problem with connections are shown on diagnostic screens.

Oh yes, I should mention that telephone calls from anyone representing themselves as computer fixers is met with the announcement from me that I worked in engineering/software for over 30 years and knew a scam when I heard one. You might want to adopt this gambit as I've not had any more calls.

You gotta give credit where it is due though. That Windows virus is pretty well designed.

We are doomed right now, though, as they've obtained all our data from the surveillance/marketing state and will use it against us any way they can.

The companies serving as intermediaries in these transactions will be very profitable (and highly praised in the MSM) until a newly empowered citizenry changes these laws/procedures once and for all.

Thanks for your reporting.

Purple library guy said...

I'm so happy I use Linux. Until recently I must admit there were some serious compromises I had to make because of that, but now I even get games. Was playing Civilization V last night, not using an emulator or nuthin', just bought the Linux version on Steam and played it.

On the other hand, I've never actually gotten a call from any of these scammers. Presumably that has nothing to do with Linux; maybe it's that I get my phone service from a little mom&pop shop that does internet phone stuff and they're too small for anyone to want to buy/steal their mailing lists. It's a mercy, but I feel almost snubbed.

Dana said...

Yeah, that's right the OS that opened up the personal computer market so that millions upon millions of middle class people around the world could afford to buy computers for themselves and their a virus.

Feckin' elitist Jobs worshipers.

Windows has problems. Yes. Guess what - everything has problems. Evebn feckin' apple products have problems. Gasp.

Feckin' elitists.

Anyong said...

Presently using a computer at the library...much more reliable.