Last week, the FTC shut down a major operator of tech support scam cold-callers. I’m heartbroken.
So I imagine you’re getting fewer of those calls lately. I know I am, but they seem to come in waves anyway. I don’t expect them to completely stop, at least not for a while, though.
I say that because I think more than one operation is doing it. I’ve noticed enough subtle differences in the calls I’ve received that I don’t think they’re all using the same playbook.
And that makes sense. When someone discovers a new business model, it doesn’t take long for someone else to do the same thing if it proves to be profitable–especially if it’s as simple as calling people to sell them dubious computer services. All you need is a simple playbook, a list of phone numbers, and a few people with good command of the language.
I’ve seen it. My wife and I started a small resale business a couple of days after we got married. It was my original idea–or so I thought. Once we were a couple of weeks in, we found a half dozen people who were selling the same thing, sourcing it the same way as us. Within a couple of years, thousands of people were doing it. Whether they all copied each other or all of us thought of it on our own doesn’t matter. When a business model works, more than one person is going to try it.
That’s why I think you and I are getting fewer scam calls. But when my phone rings and someone asks if he can talk to me about my computer, I’m still going to tell the guy with the fake western name that my name is Suchita.
David Farquhar is a computer security professional, entrepreneur, and author. He started his career as a part-time computer technician in 1994, worked his way up to system administrator by 1997, and has specialized in vulnerability management since 2013. He invests in real estate on the side and his hobbies include O gauge trains, baseball cards, and retro computers and video games. A University of Missouri graduate, he holds CISSP and Security+ certifications. He lives in St. Louis with his family.