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The Support Scam

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The Squidette is well versed in computer security, and it’s a good thing. Yesterday someone called to try and effect the Windows Support Scam.

What happens is that someone calls you and claims to be receiving messages from your Windows machine. They’ll even talk you through a look into the event logger to show you some failed processes:

Windows errors

Of course, these errors are normal enough even on a healthy machine, but if you don’t know that, it looks pretty daunting. That’s where they get the unsuspecting mark… You see all those read and yellow marks and get a bit freaked out. But you needn’t be – it’s normal.

They’ll tell you they can clean up your machine. Either for free, or for a fee. I’ve heard tell of people getting dinged up to $400 on their credit card for the “service” of having their machine professionally “cleaned” by the scammer, but they didn’t get that far with me and Squidette.

Whether they charge you or not, they’ll want you to give them remote access to your computer, during which time they’ll install malware, steal your personal information and so on. It’s a nasty, nasty process.

When they called here, I was just arriving home from work, so Squidette put them on hold for me to deal with. When I picked up the phone the East-Indian-sounding gentleman on the other end started into the spiel about how the windows machine “on this internet connection” was sending messages to him at Windows support.

So I told him “wow, I have an OC-512 here, and a 256-port switch. Which connection would that be?”… and he hung up. This was the test… Aside from passing myself off as a data centre, there is no such thing as an OC512. It was readily apparent this guy had no idea what I was talking about.

A few minutes later he called back, allegedly with a supervisor. I’ll give them props for balls on this one – the callback was a nice touch. The “supervisor” told me that the “windows machine on this line was sending the messages”, so I asked again “Sir, I have an OC-512 backbone connection with over 400 servers on here. Give me the machine name and I’ll send one of my techs to take a look.”

They hung up, and haven’t called back. Oh well. Consider yourself warned about these clowns.