Scam phone calls

Awoke today at 5:00AM by a call from Microsoft Security saying they had found a virus in my computer and they they could eliminate it for me. Sounded like it was from Microsoft's Mumbai call center but could have been the Islamabad office, I am not good at accents.
 

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Awoke today at 5:00AM by a call from Microsoft Security saying they had found a virus in my computer and they they could eliminate it for me. Sounded like it was from Microsoft's Mumbai call center but could have been the Islamabad office, I am not good at accents.
I hope they fixed it for you. You'd have to wonder just how many people Microsoft employ in their very proactive Security division to stay ahead of all the problems Windows users are having...

While many estimates suggest there are more than 1 billion Windows-powered PCs in use in the world,
Full credit goes to Microsoft - an awful lot of man hours are needed to fix a billion infected PCs. How on earth do they ever turn a profit?
 
I hope they fixed it for you. You'd have to wonder just how many people Microsoft employ in their very proactive Security division to stay ahead of all the problems Windows users are having...

Full credit goes to Microsoft - an awful lot of man hours are needed to fix a billion infected PCs. How on earth do they ever turn a profit?

This morning I just hung up because of the hour. I have no Microsoft in the house, just two Macs. If the call had come at a better hour I would have told him I have no Microsoft products. In response the usual "Oh no sir! all computers have Microsoft operating software" I go into a lengthy discussion as to how I have three computers and one runs on Mac OS X, a pentium box that runs Red Hat Linux, and an old 286 that I use for an old game that runs on IBM Xenix. I figure the longer I keep him on the line the less time he has to scam someone else.
I never knew that so many Indians were named Bruce, George, Charles etc.
 
Blocking this stuff is not easy. In a previous job, I worked on a network version of the Truecall technology, so no customer premise equipment would be needed. As part of that, I sat on an industry body that was looking to address the robocall problem.

The hard bit is that the calls nearly always originate overseas, and typically went through 14 different carriers to get to the target number. You can't just say "all calls from carrier X in country Y to be dropped", because that would impact many many more calls that are legitimate.

Spoofing the caller ID is child's play; that's the easy bit. For a good 10-20 years, there has been a spot rate for international call minutes. There are markets, just like the stock markets, or metals exchanges, where the call minutes are traded. Arbinet is a good example of this. So Sayeed the Bangladeshi scammer sets up his sweat shop call center, with cheap Chinese or Indian telecom gear, and connects through some backwater telecom company with a license issued by a corrupt official. Dodgy telecom company has an interconnect with a slightly less dodgy company. Less dodgy company buys the transit minutes from Arbinet. The price changes, Arbinet swaps provider from one minute to the next. Call A goes from Bangladesh through Kazakhstan and Russia, call B goes through the Middle East. Completely different points of entry into the target network, so they can't be traced. Arbinet might end up using France Telecom or Deutsche Telekom to connect to BT (unlikely, but possible), so the calls coming in to the network could come from a highly reputable carrier. Or a respected wholesale carrier.

Eventually it becomes clear that there is a pattern of some sort, and perhaps there is pressure brought to bear to shut Sayeed down. Which indeed he does. Meantime, his brother has got wind of it and sets up a parallel operation with a different dodgy carrier and on and on it goes.
Mimicking local numbers is epidemic here on both landline and mobiles. No way to prevent them but we can block them after the fact.
 
Mimicking local numbers is epidemic here on both landline and mobiles. No way to prevent them but we can block them after the fact.
Which doesn't help if they've just picked a random number in a particular NPA-NXX block. Blocking those numbers could have undesired consequences. For example, let's say my mobile is 770-652-1234.

770-652 will be allocated to say T-Mobile, and the bad guys will call all 1000 770-652 numbers sequentially, using a random number of that block as the Caller ID. So the victim thinks it's a local number. Blocking the calling number does absolutely nothing They might call from 770-652-4052 next time. And 770-652-9845 the time after.
 
This morning I just hung up because of the hour. I have no Microsoft in the house, just two Macs. If the call had come at a better hour I would have told him I have no Microsoft products. In response the usual "Oh no sir! all computers have Microsoft operating software" I go into a lengthy discussion as to how I have three computers and one runs on Mac OS X, a pentium box that runs Red Hat Linux, and an old 286 that I use for an old game that runs on IBM Xenix. I figure the longer I keep him on the line the less time he has to scam someone else.
I never knew that so many Indians were named Bruce, George, Charles etc.
I've had a couple of those calls. I ask them how they know there is a problem to which they usually reply the computer sent an error or problem report to Microsoft. It's at that point I tell them that is really clever seeing as I own neither a computer nor a cell phone. The line usually goes dead at that point.

My favourite one though is just after tax filing time when we get the messages saying a warrant has been issued for my arrest due to me owing the IRS thousands of dollars and I had better call the number they leave right now or else.
 
I've had a couple of those calls. I ask them how they know there is a problem to which they usually reply the computer sent an error or problem report to Microsoft. It's at that point I tell them that is really clever seeing as I own neither a computer nor a cell phone. The line usually goes dead at that point.

My favourite one though is just after tax filing time when we get the messages saying a warrant has been issued for my arrest due to me owing the IRS thousands of dollars and I had better call the number they leave right now or else.
I particularly enjoy the Microsoft ones. I let them make their dire predictions and threats, asking confirmatory questions as they go.

"Oh dear, that sounds terrible. It's a bit odd though. None of my computers run Windows."
 
I watched a video a couple of years back when some girl supposedly from the Indian Microsoft call centre called a guy about a virus on his computer and said that if he allowed them access to the computer they would fix it and get rid of the virus.

Problem for the call centre though was that the guy they called was a hacker and he somehow turned the tables on them and hacked their computer. He started wiping their hard drive and you could hear the scammers on the other end all panicking and shouting at each other to turn the computer off.
 
My favourite one though is just after tax filing time when we get the messages saying a warrant has been issued for my arrest due to me owing the IRS thousands of dollars and I had better call the number they leave right now or else.
The interesting thing is that usually the Mumbai office of the IRS asks for payments by having you go out and buy $1500 in Amazon gift cards and call them back with the numbers on the cards. Even if the number is spoofed it has to get to them somehow so I call my local PD and give them the number.

I get an average of 5 or 6 spam calls a day. Some want my Medicare number (Fed insurance for all over 65's) They say they are from the pharmacy and and I can get a free (back brace, knee brace, hearing aid,...) which will be sent to me. They use the Medicare numbers to scam the medicare agency.

The scammers of all sorts seem to target older, over 65, people. They think we are gullible. Not the case, as we are older we are more likely to know a scammer when we hear one.

My cousins daughter has had fun with the Microsoft tech support scammers. She is a software engineer who leads a team at Apple that ensures their Safari browser is compliant with HTML standards. She can get those guys running in circles as unlike the caller she know far more about IT than they do.
 
@ObnoxiousJockGit -

Thanks for that, you have to love Captain Stephens of the ApexPD.
 
I watched a video a couple of years back when some girl supposedly from the Indian Microsoft call centre called a guy about a virus on his computer and said that if he allowed them access to the computer they would fix it and get rid of the virus.

Problem for the call centre though was that the guy they called was a hacker and he somehow turned the tables on them and hacked their computer. He started wiping their hard drive and you could hear the scammers on the other end all panicking and shouting at each other to turn the computer off.
Like these ...


The voice has been changed within the video

Usually have a virtual Computer for them to connect to
 

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