Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Scam alert : The phone call from Microsoft



When I got in from work the other day, Madhouse Daddy told me that he'd had a very strange phone call. When he picked up the phone, someone said "Hi Mike" and claimed to be phoning from the Microsoft Corporation. Nothing overly strange, you may think, but they were phoning him in France and his actual name is Mickaël, even if everyone calls him Mike, so "Hi Mike" already had his bullshit-radar going into overdrive. Even more so because this person had a very strong Indian accent and he could hear that it was from a call centre because there were other people, with similar Indian accents, in the background.

The caller informed Madhouse Daddy that his computer had been infected and that he needed to hit the windows key and the "r" key to bring up a log that would show him all the errors and viruses on his computer. Madhouse Daddy did this (which I said he should never have done !) and sure enough, there was a log on his screen showing a load of errors.

At this point, he asked how the caller had got his name and number. She said she'd hand him over to her supervisor. The supervisor (also with a heavy Indian accent) again told Madhouse Daddy to hit windows and r and look at all the viruses on his computer. He then told him to type a prompt into a run command which Madhouse Daddy didn't do. Seeing that they weren't going to manage to scam him, things turned nasty with the caller saying "are you f***ing with me?", to which Madhouse Daddy replied, "no, are you f***ing with ME?". This was met with a parting shot of "f***ing a***hole" before the caller hung up.

I was a bit concerned about Madhouse Daddy having hit the windows and r key, in case this allowed them to do something to his computer, so I went to look on google. It doesn't - it just brings up the Windows Run box then they tell you to bring up the Event Viewer - but this did bring up zillions of other hits of people blogging about the scam.

If you play along, they ask you to log into paypal and pay a £75 fee (or whatever amount they decide on) for them to remotely fix your computer. For them to do that, you have to download a piece of software which allows them to take control of your computer. If you pay the fee, they'll be nice(ish) and fix the errors (which are always in the log, they're not anything to worry about). If you don't, they can basically do whatever they want - in this one, they started deleting files from his computer, including his ethernet card so he could no longer use internet. In this one - I wonder if's the same one as Madhouse Daddy?! - they just get very abusive.

Either way, it's very unpleasant and unnecessary. Microsoft have pointed out that they will never phone you, unless you ask them to, so if anyone from a Microsoft help centre rings, just hang up - it's always a scam.

Other blogposts you may be interested in :

Keeping children safe campaign - beware of the hidden dangers

Show Them It's Cool To Be Sun Sensible !

12 comments:

  1. That sounds awful! What do people think they're trying to achieve by scamming people, they're going to get caught out really quickly.

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    1. I bet they make a packet though, to be honest.

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  2. These things are so infuriating, I find it ridiculous and usually f*ck with them - they always get angry and abusive, they talk bull - but my job is somewhat in computers plus I'm quite technical so I know not to trust it but I do worry about all those people that don't. I had the same phone call months ago, my immediate response was "No it isn't" and so ensued a ridiculous but mildly entertaining argument.
    Using a computer is so easy these days that you don't need to have any technical knowledge to do so, it's awful that people get conned by these *expletives*. I always tell my parents not to believe anything, plus with most of these companies if you ask for the name and phone number they get incredibly rude, I just want to slap them.

    Sharon xx
    Beauty, Miscellany

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    1. It's like all the "you need to change your password -click here" or "you've won the lottery" emails that come in on a daily basis. There are always a few people willing to believe them and get sucked in though :-/

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  3. I used to have them ringing me all of the time.....I think they gave up on me in the end....I would play along with them acting dumb and one time I had them on the phone for about 25 minutes before they said to me I was wasting their time....lol
    They are infuriating....

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    1. LOL I always try to annoy them a bit too, just to get revenge for them wasting my time !

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  4. The # my calls came from was 731.494.2626.

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  5. I got this a while ago and told them I didnt have a computer which confused them

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    1. LOL I'll try that if they ring back !

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  6. I can't believe people fall for these. Microsoft is an operating system and software company. They are never going to call you. It is not a service provider, like your broadband supplier. We've been getting these calls for about six years and we get them about twice a month. Every time they call my husband either has fun with them for a few minutes or gives them some tasty language.

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    1. Not everyone is tech-savvy though, particularly older people who still see computers as new-fangled inventions that they can't get their heads around !

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  7. Pam Francis Gregory28 May 2014 at 19:53

    Unfortunately if lots of people did not fall for scams they wouldn't make any cash, so the fact they are still around means there are people who fall for them!

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