Hello I'm from Microsoft!!!
I find that calling me at 9:02am and trying to scam me is not the best way to get on my good side.
Fair enough, you might have decided on a life of low-base crime is the way to go and even better when you are calling from India to rip off the Imperialistic West. You are a man of passion about what you do and you don’t want to be seen to be shirking by the boss (and I’m sure there is a Boss) so starting early is good. It does show a level of commitment that has to be applauded and somewhat respected, if I didn’t know where the phone call was going and that’s only 2pm in India.
Ring Ring (ok phones don’t go ring ring, but I didn’t know what else to put)
I pick up the phone:
Strong Indian accent man: Hello I’m calling from Microsoft (oh yeah :) )
Strong Indian accent man: Hello I’m calling from Microsoft
Me: Hello again
This went on for a little while but I did feel that maybe he had lost his script and was playing for time or this was a new version of the scam that I hadn’t seen (heard) that was just being done to keep me on the phone while someone stole my house.
Strong Indian accent man: Your computer is sending our server messages that it has a virus and has lots of errors.
Me: Ok that sounds really bad (I always find it very hard not to just start screaming at this point)
Strong Indian accent man: Yes sir, you are the owner of the computer right? I need you to go to the computer and look at the keyboard. Once at the computer I need you to press the Windows key +r and I will show you the error.
Sure enough and good to his word he showed me the event log and then some other files that are found on every PC, that he said were very dangerous to me and my computer and I had to close the folder very slowly and carefully.
I don’t know if you have every tried to close a folder on a computer slowly and carefully but I would be grateful if you could tell me how as every time I tried ‘click’ and it snaps shut. Well I wasted about 5 mins of his time trying to close this file ‘slowly and then carefully’. I then tried putting the two together but it made no difference. The guy at the other end was starting to get a little ratty with me and told me off for not taking the issues seriously and the danger that my computer was in and I would have to buy a new one.
He now suggested that now he had shown me the errors and the only way forward was to escalate my case to another member of the team who could login into my PC and fix these errors. This was the bit I was looking forward to. I like people who come up with clever ideas that find ways around a problem that you shouldn’t or can’t just walk through. It’s a little of what I have done for most of my life at work.
I should point out that I knew what this was all about and from the moment that he said “Hello” or that’s a lie… from the moment he said “Hello I’m from Microsoft” so there was no way that I’m going to load anything from them or even visit any sites they want me to visit. I suggest that if you get one of these people on the phone you just hang up. Don’t be surprised if they do phone back. This is a very successful scam and makes a lot of money. It’s worth phoning back to tell the person that they have made a mistake, just in case they let you in.
Now if I was from Microsoft and I was going to remote access you PC I think I would have a few little bits of software that I could use to get in. I wouldn’t tell you to go to the teamviewer.com website and try and get you to download and install a 3rd party application. I have to say at this point I felt betrayed, let down, cheated. We had built up a relationship; almost a friendship and it turned out to be all lies and false promises. I had given up my time to listen and sometimes do what he said and in return what do I get? An unsophisticated sledge hammer to open the door approach of an entry. No nice little Trojan or such like, not even a “Please can you tell me your IP and we’ll try and hack you”. NO! Just a “Please can you be stupid enough to download this piece of software and then give me the ID and password to let me in”.
I’m sorry to say that at this point I said a few bad words, a few of which might mean I burn in hell for a while. What did he say? Well as mentioned before this was obviously a man of dedication and resolve who when he set out to finish something, makes sure it’s finished. He protested for a few seconds and then hung up.
This is just one of the many scams that people try and pull on you if you are connected to the internet. If anyone calls you and want you to give out information such as user names date of birth or even the most innocuous information think very long and hard before you do.
I hope that no one has fallen for this but if you have don’t feel silly they are very good at doing this it’s how they make a living and do get your PC sorted out. Not only do you risk losing lots of time and money but it also put the websites and it’s visitors at risk.