I got another “Windows Technical Support” call on Friday evening. My caller ID said Minneapolis, and since I have coworkers in Minneapolis, I answered. But the guy on the other end was a long way from Minneapolis and probably doesn’t know diddly about ice hockey.
I’m pretty sure it was the same criminal as last time, but over a better VOIP connection. I remember the voice pretty well, because his parting lines from last time, “Enjoy your broken computer, Mr. Genius Man!” struck me as funny. And he started the conversation with, “I’m calling you again about your Windows 7 computer.”
My conversation with him revealed a few things about why this scam is likely to be profitable.
“Peggy” from “Computer Maintenance Department” (1-645-781-2458 on my caller ID) called again. Lots of people are aware of these phone calls. They call, make vague claims about receiving a report that your computer is running slow and giving you errors, and are very careful not to say who they are or who they work for. Usually I just do whatever I can to get them off the phone.
But after having lunch with some other computer security professionals last week, a couple of them talked me into finding out how these guys operate. So I fired up a PC that turned out to have a real, legitimate issue. After resolving that issue myself, I turned the caller loose on my semi-functional PC so I could see what these scammers actually do. He had me connect to Teamviewer.com and run their remote access software. I followed his instructions, watched him connect, then slyly unplugged my network cable.
When my network connection dropped, “Peggy” quickly transferred me to a “senior technician” who used the name “Roy.” Read more
Caller: “I calling from technical support. We found issue with your PC.”
Me: “What company are you with?”
Caller: “CSA is the name of my company.”
Me: “What’s our business relationship?”
Caller: “We found issue with your PC. Our technicians found your PC is running slow.”
Me: “Do you realize I wrote the book about PC performance? No, really, I wrote a book about it. I guarantee my computer is faster than yours. I also possess multiple security certifications.”
Caller: “Go on.”
Me: “You need to find someone else to social engineer.”
The caller stammered a little bit, tried to assure me it wasn’t a scam and wasn’t going to cost me money, then hung up.
This week I’ve had multiple people send me warnings they saw on Facebook about a new privacy threat, which, after I read about it, really appears just to be something that aggregates information already available about you.
Perhaps not coincidentally, PC Magazine has a piece telling you what you need to do if you’re really concerned about privacy and really want to disappear. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2376023,00.asp