Microsoft Security Scam Callers On The Loose Again

Based on the number of queries I've had from friends and family over the weekend, fake callers pretending to be from Microsoft and offering to help "fix" a security problem on your PC are once again active in Australia. If you get one of these calls, don't even waste time chatting to these charlatans: hang up as noisily as possible.

It shouldn't come as news to regular Lifehacker readers that these callers have nothing to do with Microsoft, and nothing to do with fixing your machine. Instead, the caller will try and guide gullible computer owners through the process of installing a so-called "patch" which will actually add evil malware apps to the machine, monitoring passwords, stealing information and making your PC part of a "botnet" used to distribute spam and other nasties.

If you act as regular tech support for a family member, it's worth mentioning this: a quick message now is much easier than hours spent trying to fix up a compromised machine. The bottom line? Microsoft is NEVER going to ring anyone to tell them they have a security problem, and nor is any security software vendor you can think of.


Comments

    Troll worthy?

    Or alternatively, get some contact details for their business and report them to scamwatch.gov.au - obviously they might not be the correct details but at least it may help someone, somewhere track the scammers.

      This comment has been deemed inappropriate and has been deleted.

    Yeah, I got a couple of these calls awhile ago in Toowoomba. The first time they called, I quickly realized what it was, but I didn't have time to play, so I pretended that the line was so bad that I couldn't understand their accent, it was a pretty bad line though. The second time I realized that they weren't going to leave me alone, so I let him guide me through the system processes to see all the errors on my PC (errors, please,.. this is Windows,.. it full of errors)anyway after he'd wasted enough of my time and his, I told him I had now gathered enough info on him to report him to the authorities, he hung up on me :}

    It's amazing how some people can be as gullible to think that a company like Microsoft that is so inept when it comes to customer support, that all of a sudden they've chosen to start calling people to help them... duh.

    I ranted a little and inserted some big legal threatening words once, and never heard from them again. My brother says he makes screaming noises in the background, and that seems to be as affective.

    I have had them call me at least twice in Toowoomba, first time my wife answered and thought it sounded dodgy, so she put me on. I kept them talking for about 10 minutes, then, at the top of my voice, I told my wife that "these d#$^heads dont even know what operating system I am using. They hung up after that.

    The second time, I just said straight out, "I know who you guys are, stop calling me," the woman then said, "fine, get a virus, see if I care." Then she hung up on me

    Hilarious both times

    After a few of these calls, I was getting a bit sick and tired.

    The last time they called, I was a little bored, so decided to have a crack at them

    I followed them through all of their crap (looking in the System log and them telling me "They're all viruses) and played dumb.

    Once they'd "convinced me" I needed their help, the directed me to a LogMeIn Rescue page.

    At this point, I told them that my baby was crying, and to hold on for me.

    I then used my other phone to call LogMeIn, and asked them what information they would need me to get in order to have the account they were using shut down.

    I then let them log into my windows 7 virtual machine (I'm on a Mac) in order for a connection log to be created on the LogMeIn server. I collected the details (log in code, technician name, etc,) and emailed them to LogMeIn.

    Then the fun began :)

    The technician name in the connection window was "Deborah" or some such. I informed the Indian gentleman I was speaking to that I'd collected the connection info and had emailed it to LogMeIn, and that their account was about to be suspended, and that the IP address they were connecting from would be banned from the LogMeIn servers. He stammered for a minute, and the phone went silent. A new voice came on the phone. I said "Oh, so you must be Deborah". He hung up.

    Clearly they're using hijacked LogMeIn accounts. I hope this slowed them down a little.

      You are my hero. I've been called twice, here's hoping they try again. Copying vmware to my home machine now in anticipation.

    Just got a call from 'Steve' a 'certified Microsoft representative' from 'Tech-net support' about errors on my computer.

    I asked fro him phone number so my mother 'the tec person' to call him back.

    He hung up.

    Yeah, i got a call last saturday. told him to [email protected]# off and not call back. I'd already had a call a few months ago.

    Thanks for the heads up on the increase.
    As an employee for a large antivirus company with Melbourne offices, and we have been receiving calls from savvy customers that state that they have been called by "Microsoft" reporting that they have a virus on their machine.

    They contact us to query why our software didn't detect it, only to be enlightened to that fact that its a scammer.

    It peaked in October last year, and they must be resuming operations after the holiday break.

    Had a couple of these. They tend to hang up after being informed that they're absolutely terrible at their job of being lying scammers, and that maybe they should find another line of work that doesn't involve pretending to know what they're talking about.

    I've had 2 calls in the same amount of weeks. Both times were Indian speaking people. (probably a call centre in Delhi somewhere)I told them I don't own a computer, which confused the hell out of them and they hung up.

    I've had over a dozen calls from these dudes over a three week period in Jan/Feb (asking me for by name). Today I received another, in which I told them I wasnt interested ánd threatened to call the police. Two minutes later they called back AGAIN (!!!) and I lost my temper and told him to 'take a hike'(in rather ruder terms). This guy rang a third time and before I could say anything he threatened my family before hanging up. Take care - these guys are not nice. I've reported the matter to the police.

    It is actually Telstra giving our sacred personal details away without regard for our safety. We installed a brand new line a few months ago. ***NO ONE*** has been given this number since installation... the ONLY CALLS I RECEIVE on fortnightly basis are the "Microsoft" calls... how in this earth some Indian / Bangladeshi dude knows our surnames if NO ONE, not even family members have this number? and the calls started a few days after installation... I just got another one and in fact i had a bit of a chat to the idiot that called me!!... i wonder how many people get robbed of they hard earned money thanks to the irresponsible actions of third parties.
    Elsita, from Perth.

    just had one of these calls , the usual spiel "i'm from Micrsoft, blah blah" from Malyasia
    he started taliking me through it & then i said "but i have a Mac" then he says "why are you fucking with me?" hello? he hangs up!

    Not just Australia either, I've had to calls
    this weekend from them! Ontario, Canada

    Just got a call from a microsoft certified technician giving me support from Adelaide. I am not that computer literate..but just know a few things...when she (an indian lady) said that microsoft will call upon me every month to give me support..I thought what the! and said I don't need any help as I have Noron antivirus and bought the computer just 2 months ago...My computer is not at all slowing down as she said it was...I was so close to falling for this scam...Thank God.
    Kamali, Perth

    I had this call a couple of times at first I just cut them off. Now I let them sell their story for as long as I can be bothered and then inform them I run a MAC system to which they apologise and end the call "SIMPLE".

    Okay... we have one calling us right now.... they wont stop calling after the "I want your phone number" thing... we hung up... and thye keep calling back.... We are pretty sure its a scam.... HELP?!?!

      Tell them you only have a work computer and offer to give them the number to your work IT help desk. I haven't had another call since I did this.

    I always say you sound like a lovely person, why do you want to try and rip people off, and hurt them, and they always hang up.

    Hi, I just got the call from these guys tonight and stupid me believed them and let them connect to my compute for about 30 seconds, is it possible they have planted some sort of trojan or virus ??? Please help!,!

    You should check out the NSW Fair Trading Scam Buster App for smart phones and tablets. You can find out about current scams targeting Australians and get expert tips on how to bust the scams. It also has the option to report a scam. Best of all, its free! You can download it from the apple app store or android market! For more information visit the NSW Fair Trading website at http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/About_us/Online_services/Mobile_apps/Scam_Buster.html

    I'm aghast that this operation lasted as long as it did - the investment to make these calls on the scammers behalf is staggering. But inevitably people do fall for this outrageous scam.

    People, let me tell you, these calls are not nice. My partner just had death threats. I've rang the police twice. I'm waiting till morning to ring scam watch. Whilst some of their operations may have been shut down, I assure you these scammers are out in force and have really ruined my day. They are extremely rude, when you say that you are not interested. They ring back. They threaten your misses' life, and calling her the biggest prostitute in Australia. They said your name is Hellen Johnson and I am going to kill you. Nasty pieces, that need the law brought to them.

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