# There is something wrong with my computer (phone scam)

1. Feb 6, 2016

### Averagesupernova

Got a phone call this morning from someone speaking very very broken English claiming that my computer had issues. I told him I used a Commodore 64 computer so I didn't see how that was possible. There was a long silence. Then he said something about that I was using genuine Microsoft windows and that is how they could know this. I told him he was full of s_it and not to call again. Several things strike me as funny. Obviously he didn't know my commodore 64 wouldn't be running Microsoft windows and seriously who the heck would be using a c64 unless they want to relive their childhood every now and then with some old school games or something in their man cave. Yet he took me seriously.

2. Feb 6, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Your story reminded me on an occasion many years ago. Someone called me in the middle of the night. I had already been sleeping. He requested to talk to Sgt. Brown. ... Until today, I have still not the slightest glue whether I answered to him in English or German ...

3. Feb 6, 2016

### Greg Bernhardt

Haha that is nice thinking on your feet! Next time go even further back and tell him you run a Z3 computer.

4. Feb 6, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

Awesome! And the costs to power it will kill you! And ask for a cheaper power supply company!

5. Feb 6, 2016

### Averagesupernova

I was surprised that he took me seriously although thinking about it I probably shouldn't have been. I don't know where these calls come from but my guess is that the person doing the calling knows very very little about computers and is just given a list of things to say. They are probably sought out as people that are quick thinking. Quick thinking rarely is able to compete with actually knowing something.

6. Feb 6, 2016

### collinsmark

Just so we're all on the same page (including others reading this thread who may not be familiar with the scam), the callers who called you were trying to scam you. It is highly illegal.

The scam is pretty much as follows:
1. They try to convince you that your computer is loaded with viruses. They use a number of ploys in this deception. One example might be such as asking you to look at your C:\Windows\INF folder, and claiming that all the files with the extension ".inf" corresponds to an "infection" (of course that's all a load of rubbish -- ".inf" stands for information here, not infection).
2. Next they ask you to go to a website that has remote desktop capabilities. Such websites are usually used by legitimate tech support organizations, but not in this case.
3. Once you type in the information on the website, and agree to the remote desktop session, they will hijack your computer and demand money. If you refuse to give them money they will delete lots and lots of files on your computer -- emails, photos, programs, whatever they like. Perhaps they might even install some real malware on your computer too.
And just to be completely clear, when I say "scam" I don't mean simply bad business practice. I mean something highly illegal and criminal. It does nothing to tell them to take you off their calling list. They are not running a legitimate yet shady business, rather they are criminals trying to extort money from you, plain and simple.

Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
7. Feb 6, 2016

### rootone

I knew about the scam before hand, but got one of these calls.
My response was to basically to tell them to feck orf since I knew what was happening,
I might be more creative next time and tell them to contact me on my office number instead of at home, and I will give them my local police number.
(I don't actually work in the police station though )

8. Feb 6, 2016

### Averagesupernova

Yep. I knew it was something like this. I had heard of the remote desktop scam before. In the past I have seen every email scam imaginable. Actually had emails claiming that they were a hit man and had been hired to kill me. Was told that they had done a little investigating on their own and determined that I was being wrongly marked. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Was told to watch my back, not to go out after dark, blah blah blah. And of course they wanted money. That is the only one I actually called the cops about. I thought some poor old lady might get the email and take it seriously. Surprisingly they said that was the first they had heard of it.

9. Feb 6, 2016

### collinsmark

Concerning this "Windows Technical Support" scam, there are some pretty funny YouTube videos of tech savvy victims who turn-the-tables, so to speak on the scammers.* These involved setting up a new virtual machine (VM) on a host computer -- a VM that you don't mind if it gets corrupted or messed up -- and certainly one that doesn't have any of your actual personal info on it.

*(fun things such as after setting up VM, reconfiguring the RUN prompt operation, Notepad operation, and/or Internet Explorer operation, just for the sake of crazy and unpredictable results and to confuse and frustrate the scammers.)

===========
Warning: Don't do this at home unless you know exactly what you are doing. Even if you are using your virtual machine (VM) instance on your computer, you also need to configure it correctly, otherwise there is the possibility that an actual tech-savvy scammer can break into the main OS or even other computers on your local network.
===========

Here is a video of one of them. It's not the funniest video, but I'll link it here because it gives you an idea of what the scammers try to do when they don't get their money (skip to around 22:00 if you are already familiar with the scam's modus operandi).

Caution: there is some foul language toward the end.

Last edited: Feb 7, 2016
10. Feb 7, 2016

### Psinter

I could never understand why people try to make a fool out of you and when they fail they insult you. Like not only you are trying to steal from me, but when you fail to achieve your goal you insult me?... Right... That's very kind. What do they expect, that after insulting me I'm going to say: "Oh my god you hurt my feelings, here have all my money. I'm so sorry for not letting you steal my money."

11. Feb 27, 2016

### Staff: Mentor

I got one of these calls the other night, and decided I would have some fun and annoy the person on the other end almost as much as he was annoying me. So, when he started with his story, I responded with comments like "oh," "hmmm" and "that's not good," etc. This went on for about 5 minutes. Finally, when he asked me to get my computer out and get online, I responded with "But I don't have a computer." He called me an MF, and hung up. Honest. True story. I couldn't stop laughing.

Chet

12. Feb 28, 2016

### Thomas Thelen

I had fun with one. His basic strategy was to open up a log of computer events. There are naturally errors which he claimed was "the virus". I acted super surprised and baited him further for the solution (I was after his malware). At this point I opened up a virtual machine and prepared the environment for contamination. When I obtained the malicious website I told him I was a reverse engineer and then there was silence... I downloaded the file, obtained the checksum, opened it up in x64dbg, found the c&c servers, and then submitted all of the info to Google, Symantec, Yahoo, Microsoft, and an ids database.

All in all it was a good time!

Edit: It was only after the call that I remembered another scam they could have stacked on top of this was charging $20 a minute for the international call. He could have nailed me with that as the call was around 5 minutes. Stay safe out there! Last edited: Feb 28, 2016 13. Mar 2, 2016 ### Mark44 ### Staff: Mentor The cop in this video was not all that computer savvy. "Ryan," the tech on the other end of the phone line, was trying to get the cop to run Event Viewer, and the cop was apparently unaware of this tool. The scammer hadn't yet gotten to the point where the cop was being asked to allow remote access to the computer. I received one of these calls one evening. The person on the phone, who had a pretty obvious Indian or Pakistani accent, told me he was from Microsoft Technical Support (or some other "official"-sounding group) that they had received a notice that my computer was infected with a virus. Playing along, I said, "No it isn't." He tried again, and I repeated that, no, my computer was just fine. When he figured out that he wasn't talking to someone who was going to be sucked into his crap, he hung up. The response by a previous poster in this thread about a Commodore 64 was priceless! 14. Mar 2, 2016 ### Averagesupernova Only because he continued and tried to tell me I was running Windows. LOL 15. Dec 17, 2016 ### Averagesupernova Ok had another one of those calls today. After I answered there was a long silence and then the very broken English and announcement that they knew my windows computer was having problems by the "errors and signals" they were getting from it. I said: "Oh I know, it's an awful mess!" The caller asked what type of problems I was having with it. My reply was: "Well, to start with there is water leaking out of it." The background noise on the line changed and there was silence. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't mess with this scammer a bit longer but I probably should have started with something more believable than a leaky CPU. 16. Dec 17, 2016 ### StevieTNZ Heh.... I wish more rang us. I want to have a bit of fun with them. Have you heard of Lewis's Tech Youtube channel? He calls "technical support" lines and allows them to connect to his virtual machines. 17. Dec 23, 2016 ### Averagesupernova Another call today. This one got pretty interesting. Same deal, long silence after I answered and then very broken English voice comes on claiming they are getting signals and messages from my computer indicating problems. I play along. Then I am asked if I have been having computer problems as of recent. I admit that I certainly was. Naturally I was asked what type of problems I was having. I told him that it simply would not turn on. So I was asked to verify this and I claimed that I did. Was told to check all cords and I claimed that I did. I thought this would end the call since this type of scam needs to have a computer turned on. Then I was asked if there were any other computers in the house. I said yes as a matter of fact there is. - Now I see where this is going. They think they have a live one so they are going to try to get me to give them access to ANY computer. I was asked to go to this computer. I said sure no problem. I apologized that it would take a me a while to get to it since the house was very dark and I had to be careful to not fall. Ok so now I am thinking they would start to get wise and just hang up. No such luck. I was reassured that it was no problem at all and to take all the time I needed. - So at this point I almost have to spell it out to him. The reason the house is so dark is that I have not had any electricity for about 5 days. Good explanation for why the computer does not turn on right? Didn't seem to make a difference to him but he did seem to acknowledge that it would not be possible to run a computer without power. So he tells me he has to talk with a supervisor. At this point I assume he will just hang up but no, I hear voices in the background. - Someone returns. I am not sure it was the original caller or not. I was asked to go back to the first computer. At this point I am wondering just what the next move is. So I pretend to do this and am told that they could install software to take care of ALL of my computer problems. I said sure no problem but was wondering what the cost was. I was told it is$100 for the first year. I asked what web-site I could go to in order to take care of this. And of course the reply was that they would do it ALL from there. No need for me to do anything. Well that is certainly no big surprise since they won't do anything either. I asked when this would happen and I was told immediately. Yeah, funny. I must have sounded pretty stupid.
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At this point I told them that as soon as I answered the call I knew what they were up to and rather enjoyed wasting 10 minutes of their time and hung up. What they are up to is of course the same thing explained previously in this thread.
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@StevieTNZ you can have all these calls you want, I suspect I will grow tired of them soon. It appears though that they will talk to you if you do what they ask. Matters none that the computer my be disassembled into 71 pieces, if you are willing to do a few simple things they ask (such as walking around a supposed dark house) then they will hold out hoping for a credit card number.