Have you ever almost been scammed? I got a call the other day from a guy with a very strong Indian accent and broken English who claimed to be from Microsoft Support. The first thing I asked was how they got my home phone number because it’s not connected to my IP address. He responded that this information was confidential and asked if I’ve been getting a lot of Microsoft error messages lately, “No, not really” I replied, “Yes, you do!” he blurted out.
The fraudster then insisted on proving his case and asked if my computer was turned on. By this time I was wondering whether I should just hang up? But there was a part of me that was curious about the scam: how was he planning to get my money? So I acquiesced and went to my computer. He asked me to click on the Windows Start button, go to My Computer and click on Manage…all the while I had Google open and was reading about the scam. After I clicked on Manage a window popped up asking me to allow a program to access my computer. I hit continue. I get these pop ups a lot so I wasn’t too worried.
As I was waiting for something to happen I read that these fraudsters are able gain remote access to your computer and take control of it! I panicked and closed the program and shut down my computer and disconnected my internet. But I still had the fraudster on the line so I told him that I just Googled him and read all about the scam. He told me that he would get his supervisor to call me back and hung up the phone.
I was still a little worried that maybe I went one step too far and gave him access to my computer so I went on my ipad and continued to research the scam. What I came up with is quite astonishing.
Apparently the scam originated in India, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how they procure the phone numbers, with all the telecommunications customer service outsourcing that goes on nowadays. The scam started in 2008 and targets mostly British BT customers. There are numerous wiki posts about it. If I had been fooled, the next step would have been to show me a list of errors which I would then be told were a dire threat and I would be urged to give them remote access to my PC via the remote support system they’ve hacked. Following this I would be urgently advised to download some new virus software to get rid of the errors.
Next comes the exciting part where they take control of my computer and the anti-virus software that they ill-advised me to download infects my computer making it unusable. Then they issue a threat which amounts to blackmail by demanding £300 (or thereabouts) to fix my computer or lose all my data.
If you have been a victim of this scam then you can get advice from http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/
Below are a couple of articles written last year about the scam:
If you want more info check out this website http://www.digitaltoast.co.uk
Now here’s a video of an old lady and a douchebag in a sports car: