Wednesday, July 10, 2013

TAKING THE BAIT ON A PHONE SCAM

I had a bit of fun with a scam artist via the telephone today. I  just wanted to see for myself how the scam was conducted and learn more about it.

The caller, with an Indian accent, pretending to be with Windows, says they have been receiving notices from my Windows computer regarding a virus. They are calling to correct the problem which is making my computer run slowly. 

I don't use any computers at home that run on a Microsoft Operating System. From the moment I answered the phone, I knew it was a sneaky practice called Phone Phishing.  Normally I would request he name of the company, where they are located, and their phone number. Today, I felt like having some fun.

In a very strong Newfoundland accent I posed as a senior with a hearing problem. When she asked me about my windows I replied that the cleaning job on my Windows was really good. That I had them all cleaned just the week prior but appreciated the call. The grime was gone. She struggled to inform me that she was talking to about windows on my computer - not the house!

My computer, I told her was not Windows, it was a Gateway my son had given me. She than explained that it runs windows and asked me to boot the system and report on the start up time. I told her it had been a while since I used it and asked her how to turn it on. After a few minutes of back and forth, the frustration building on her part, I told it was booting up. I could sense that she felt she had a gullible person on the line.

I followed her instructions, as best I could, making her repeat them over and over. She brought me to the event viewer where she said "see it, all of the errors"

At this point she  said that it would be easier to make the changes on her end and suggested that a tech could over control, I told her that was very kind of her. She began taking me through that process. After twenty minutes, just as I was supposed input the code, I dropped the act. I asked her if she thought I was stupid, that the activity was illegal and that I had taped the conversation.  She was literally shocked!  It took her a minute before she disconnected.

These scams are quite common. I know of a couple of people, seniors, who trusted the person on the other end. These scams keep going on because their success ratio is still worth their time and effort. They use a voice over IP (VoIP) technology that  hides their identity and costs them nothing in long distance charges. 

Some people have no morals

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