I came across a new version of the Microsoft Tech support scam today and ended up brightening my day by telling the guy on the other end of the phone that he was going to burn in hell for scamming people. Let’s check it out.
I was innocently surfing the web when this page popped up. Gotta admit, they did a nice job mimicking the Microsoft page right down to the logos and the graphic style. Note the words BLOCKED in giant letters.
I was warned that my computer has been BLOCKED (whatever the heck that means. Because that’s not a thing.) I was threatened with an illegal registration key, suspected of using pirated software, sending a virus, and more.
The number to call what is allegedly Microsoft support is all over the page.
There’s also an alert that files are being downloaded.
There really was a download with an ominous name.
Except this file is a document and not an executable file. Let’s check out the properties by right-clicking.
Clever to name it that, but this file does absolutely nothing.
If you click anywhere on this page the warning box will start flashing and a computer voice will tell you that you have “error number zero by eight zero.” The voice will go on to say that your computer has been infected with pornographic spyware which is not in the process of stealing your bank information, your Facebook information, and locking all of your files. If you don’t immediately call that number, your computer will be ‘blocked’ and they will be forced to send your IP address to law enforcement. You are reminded over and over again to call the number so their software engineers can walk you through removing the virus.
This is all garbage. Your computer is not locked or blocked. You probably will have a hard time getting off that page, but that’s only because the pop-up ad that’s taken over your browser is not showing you the legitimate way to exit it. Just close the page at the top or close your browser and you’ll be done with it. It’s not really a virus, your computer is not actually locked up.
Ya’ll know how I love to toy with scammers. I called the number and played along with a guy who told me three different times that he was from Microsoft. After he spent a good ten minutes attempting to both get me to give him remote access to my computer and give him my credit card number, I told him I was a tech journalist and was well aware it was a scam. He spent another five minutes trying to convince me otherwise. Then I began to scream at him. My voice is super-super loud. When I did the second-grade play, I didn’t need a microphone. I informed him that he was certainly going to hell for scamming the vulnerable and asked him just how he planned on explaining himself to God. Good times.
This is a scam. Anything like it is a scam. I know the voice yelling that your PC is about to be blocked and the flashing warning is scary. But it’s all fake. So don’t let that fear response prompt you to do something stupid. But if you are looking for something fun to do, go ahead and call the tech support number and waste their time. Then blow a whistle.
5 thoughts on “Noisy, scary tech support scam”
Some of the ways I have responded to the scam phone calls from Microsoft telling me that my computer is sending them signals that something is wrong or I have a virus:
(a) I thank the caller for his/her assistance and pretend to follow instructions. Eventually the caller asks me, “What does it say on your screen?” Then I reply, “It says S C A M.”
(b) I say that I have been away for a week or two and ask how my computer could be sending signals when I haven’t been at home and it hasn’t been turned on.
(c) Once I asked the caller to wait until I turned on the tracking machine that the police had given me. (I’ve never been hung up on so quickly before!)
(d) Once a call came as a TV program I wanted to watch was starting. I said I would get my laptop and left the phone off the hook. When the 30-minute program was over, I went back to the phone and wondered how long the caller had waited for me before hanging up. (She rang back the next day and said the connection must have dropped out!)
(e) Once I asked the male caller with an Indian accent if he was married. He said, “Yes.” I asked him if he had a family. He said, “Yes.” Then I said, “I know this is a scam. How would you feel if someone tried to do to your family what you are trying to do to others? After a pause he said, “You are right, Madam. I shall leave this job today and return to God.” (A couple of weeks later I had one of those calls where no one answers when you answer. I wondered if it was the usual case where multiple numbers are rung and the first one to answer gets the scam routine and the others are disconnected or, especially because there was a pause before the disconnection, whether it was the same man calling who had not left his job and returned to God but who recognised my voice — American accent here in Australia.)
A few days ago I had a call from someone saying she was from the Do Not Call Register and that they were going to stop the nuisance calls I had been getting. I said, “Oh, thank you very much. Have a good day.” Before I could hang up, she continued talking and then transferred me to her supervisor. He began telling me what I had to do on my computer. I played along for a bit, and eventually he realised I was doing that. He started yelling at me, “Are you lying to me?” Before I could make some kind of remark about him being allowed to lie to me but not liking it being done to him, he started swearing loudly at me. I hung up when he said, “F..k you.”
I got one over a Norton screen. I shut down immediately. Re-booted and got another one. Three times, I got the scam in a couple hrs time. I ran a full scan, then didn’t get any more. Cyn, had told us about scams before, so I shut down immediately. I didn’t think to run the scan, my husband told me to do it. I thank him & Cyn. Oh, mine had a seconds box ticking off before I lost all my files. Scary! Trish
You are so much nicer than I. After I do a round of what computer are you talking about, I curse them loudly and say not very nice things about their parentage. I get so sick of these calls…
I have asked them how I could have a virus when I don’t have a computer. All quite and then dial tone.
I tell them my computer is working ok. Listen closly. I then play the sound of a siren I have downloaded. Don’t get a lot of call backs.