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.
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