SCAM: Call from Computer Maintenance Department
This scam sucks and they seem to be getting out of control. Two years ago my Mom got scammed out of $300 on her credit card and we had to reimage her laptop after she had gotten a call from “Windows Tech Support” and, before checking with her son, the security guy, went ahead and let them remote to her laptop and enter her credit card information under the guise of helping rid her viruses. She got her money back from VISA and we reported to RCMP.
I get the calls often in the evenings and always someone with an Anglo-Saxon name with an obvious South Asian accent. I recently got a call from 1-989-686-3652 (reverse lookup shows Michigan, US) and here’s the dialog:
Aggressive South Asian Accent: “Sir, this is Mark from computer maintenance department and the computer is making errors and problems on the Internet!”
Me: “Oh, really. The computer?”
Aggressive South Asian Accent: “Do you have have a computer connected to the Internet?”
Me: “Yes, many. Which one is it?”
Aggressive South Asian Accent: “Many? How many PCs do you have?”
Me: “Sorry, I can’t tell you that. Tell me which one is causing the problem.”
Aggressive South Asian Accent: “Your PC is making big problems for us and you will get in trouble.”
Me: “Wow, we don’t want that to happen – which IP address or hostname are you referring to?”
Aggressive South Asian Accent: “Yes, that’s right so I can help you.”
Me: “Sir, you missed my question. Which IP address or hostname is causing you the problem?”
Aggressive South Asian Accent: “You know all your PC address on the Internet?”
Me: “Yes, I have an internal network connected through a range of NAT addresses on the Internet, I would know if the address is mine.”
Aggressive South Asian Accent: <CLICK> hung up…
Microsoft, RCMP, FBI and many other agencies are aware of the scam and have education and warnings that indicate “just hang up the phone” and I wouldn’t engage in baiting the perpetrator (the way I did) as these callers can get very aggressive and can go as far as death threats (as this British Columbia man found out here).
In Canada at least, you can report any suspicious calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by calling 1-888-495-8501 or by going to antifraudcentre.ca. However, it seems the agencies are more focused on dealing with the millions of dollars that have be bilked from Canadians that fall victim to the scam.