Virus phone scam being run from call centres in India

Linny40

TK LADY VETERAN
Taken from
Code:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/18/phone-scam-india-call-centres


The scam always starts the same way: the phone rings at someone's home, and the caller – usually with an Indian accent – asks for the householder, quoting their name and address before saying "I'm calling for Microsoft. We've had a report from your internet service provider of serious virus problems from your computer."

Dire forecasts are made that if the problem is not solved, the computer will become unusable.

The puzzled owner is then directed to their computer, and asked to open a program called "Windows Event Viewer". Its contents are, to the average user, worrying: they look like a long list of errors, some labelled "critical". "Yes, that's it," says the caller. "Now let me guide you through the steps to fixing it."

The computer owner is directed to a website and told to download a program that hands over remote control of the computer, and the caller "installs" various "fixes" for the problem. And then it's time to pay a fee: £185 for a "subscription" to the "preventative service".

The only catch: there was never anything wrong with the computer, the caller is not working for Microsoft or the internet service provider, and the owner has given a complete stranger access to every piece of data on their machine.

An investigation by the Guardian has established that this scam, which has been going on quietly since 2008 but has abruptly grown in scale this year, is being run from call centres based in Kolkata, by teams believed to have access to sales databases from computer and software companies.

Matt, a Londoner who has recently set up his own company, had just arrived home at 7pm when the phone rang and someone with an Indian accent asked for him by name, quoting his address. "It's Windows tech support here," said the caller. "We have reason to believe that there's a problem with your computer. There have been downloads of malware and spyware, and they're slowing down your computer."

He went along with the caller's demands to log into a website and enter a six-digit code into his computer. "I thought it was a new service from [Microsoft] Windows," he said. "I could see them moving the cursor about. It took about half an hour."

The caller could not have obtained Matt's name via HP or PC World, where he bought the machine, because he gave his business address, not his home address, during the purchase.

This suggests that the caller was using the phonebook to find names. Patrick McCarthy, who lives in Dublin, received a call from one of the companies – but they addressed him by the name of the apartment block where he lives instead of his own name, a longstanding error in the Irish phone book.

Often, the victims are inexperienced or elderly, convinced by the apparent authority of the callers and the worrying contents of the Event Viewer. In fact, such "errors" are not indicative of any problems.

Investigators who have spoken to the Guardian on condition of anonymity say that one man, based in the city of Kota in Rajasthan, is behind the centres running the scams.

He has provided fake documentation to a number of payment companies including PayPal and Alertpay, a Montreal-based online payment company, to set up accounts which route money to a bank account in Kota with Axis Bank.

Though people on dozens of web forums have recorded their experiences with the scammers, police and trading standards officers in the UK are powerless to stop them.

UK telephone numbers for contacting the company on the sites are not "geographical" ‑ tied to a location ‑ but instead allocated to voice-over-internet providers.

That means that the calls connect internationally, but cost the scammers almost nothing when anyone calls them.

In the same way, it costs them virtually nothing to make the calls because the international part of the call goes via the internet.

If the payment has been made on a debit card ‑ as many are ‑ there is no hope of reversing the payment. A number of payment organisations used by the scammers have shut down their accounts. PayPal, the eBay-owned credit transfer company, and AlertPay have both taken rapid action against scam sites which used them.

In March, site hosting company Hostgator shut down one of the longest-running sites used for the alleged scam, F1Compstepuk.com, after complaints.

After confirming with Microsoft that the site was not acting for it, Hostgator immediately shut it down. Josh Loe, Hostgator's co-founder, said that following the initial complaint, "we asked for more information regarding this to confirm. We received a message from a Microsoft representative via this particular person who contacted us first about this. At that time it was enough evidence to close the site and it was done so the same day."

But one investigator who has been tracking the growth of the scam says the challenge is that new sites offering the same fake "service" keep popping up "like mushrooms".

At first the scammers tried desperately to maintain the reputation of their sites, by flooding any forum which garnered enough criticism of their activities with postings claiming that the site helped fix their machine.

But the poor spelling and grammar of the replies – allied to internet addresses which show that the commenters are based in India – contrasted sharply with that of people in the UK, US and Australia complaining about the attempted scam.

Now they have shifted to creating multiple sites from templates, using stock phrases and photos. However, investigators are sure that the same man ‑ and central operation ‑ is behind all of the schemes. "I don't think that this could really have spread that far. Even if they can see that some of their friends are making money from this, the calls are too similar every time," said one. "It's got to be the same organisation each time."

Microsoft denies any connection with the companies that call people up offering these services.

When contacted about the scams, Microsoft said it was "currently investigating a series of instances in which the business practices of an organisation within the Microsoft Partner Network [that] have given rise to significant concerns from a number of sources. We take matters such as these extremely seriously and will take any action that is appropriate once our investigation is complete."

Three weeks after being contacted by the Guardian, it issued another statement: "We confirm that we have taken action to terminate our relationship with certain partners who are clearly misrepresenting their relationship with us and using our company name in order to facilitate their telephone scam operations."

However, this week, two sites alleged to be involved were still listed as "Microsoft Gold Certified Partners", which Microsoft says means that they must have "demonstrated expertise" and "must employ a minimum number of Microsoft Certified Professionals".

The company has noticed the problem. "Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer," it says on its website.

"If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support, hang up. We do not make these kinds of calls.
 

Linny40

TK LADY VETERAN
Thread starter
when it comes to the phone if i dont know the person or not expecting a call about a delivery i tell them where to go LOL!! IF they ask me to confirm who i am and i dont know them well lets say im not exactly polite and say stuff like " you rang me etc" obviously not as nice as that :):) I never say yes thats me, or its my house. IF they feel they need to know who the owner is i say its the council and that im on benefits lol that usually shuts em up. Im as good as they are at telling fibs on either the phone or doorstep :)
 

Mooley

TK Veteran
I have received 20+ calls from these muppets! All starting with 'Hello is this blah blah blah? I'm calling from Onecare.....' and you know the rest. The first time I got the call I immediately asked where they had gotten my number and he said 'We are not allowed say!' so I replied with 'So you know my name and my phone number and you called me and you want me to install random unknown software on my pc and you won't tell me where you got my number or your full name and address!! Take a hike pal!!' After being annoyed another 5+ times in the following 3 days by them calling again and again I have now started to blow as loud as I can with a whistle into the phone as soon as they say Hello!!! And they still call!! If I could get my hands on them a serious kicking would be in order I tell you!! :bang head::bang head::censored:
 

Linny40

TK LADY VETERAN
Thread starter
there is a website where you can get your number taken off mailing lists etc TPS -
tpsonline.org.uk
virmin gave it to me many years ago. The only time i dint work was when it was an automated call via a pc. I have lsited our home and mobile numbers on there and its FREE

Its for the UK so not sure if it will work in your area, but its worth looking it up or contacting them
20+ calls is taking the wotsit!!!!!! if that was me id tell them to F off! and if they dont like it let them report you - they are the ones breaking the law not you for using pretty words lol! its invading your privacy
 

Mooley

TK Veteran
Cheers Linny I'll have a look at that. Got that it was definitely a scam after I let them yap away one of the times just to see what process they were using but didn't actually do anything they said just kept agreeing with them. The gets! And I guarantee many people have and will be sucked in and that includes elderly and people with very little will be ripped off. :hop mad:
 

axxxo

VIP Member
I just repaired one of my friends laptops yesterday. Today this call came through to his wife on this exact topic. Luckily she told the person their computer had just been repaired.
He thought it was something i had done but luckily i had read this before so i knew exactly what he was talking about.
Bas#*rds!
 

Linny40

TK LADY VETERAN
Thread starter
so they still at it then? i also keep getting texts and calls about "my accident" and how i could claim. funny i have no idea how they know about my accident - coz even i dont know about it lol!!!!
According to the calls and texts ive had i must be in hospital permanently lol!
 

noelyf

VIP Member
Me niece just got scammed by these bastards tonight. They told her they were microsoft technicians.

Gonna go through her laptop tomorrow to make sure everythings ok.

Fookers!!
 
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wheelo

Admin
Staff member
TK Supporter
These people will never stop, until there are no more soft touches, then they will just move on to the next scam. you have to be very vigilant, both online and off.
Sorry to hear about that noely, may they get what they deserve
 

anto1969

Super Moderator
Staff member
TK Supporter
My friend got scammed by these a month or so back :(

They rang her and said she had a problem with her PC and that they could give her protection and anti virus blah blah for 240 euro, been the gullible so n so she is she gave them her visa details :(

and is 240 euro lighter.
 

wheelo

Admin
Staff member
TK Supporter
let's hope it is a lesson well learnt, cheap if that stops you being scammed again.
 

anto1969

Super Moderator
Staff member
TK Supporter
she falls for anything wheelo, I'd just tell them to feck off I'll sort it meself ;)
 

wheelo

Admin
Staff member
TK Supporter
but it is so easy for you and any regular on here, we are tech savvy, and if I don't know how to fix a problem, i can just ask one of you gang and between us we will find the answers. others have to rely on proffessional help, and this is the land that these bastiches inhabit. :boo:
 

noelyf

VIP Member
Me niece is only 17 so she panicked and let them on her pc :(

Its a learning curve for her and hopefully people read this thread and will then have the savvy to tell them to fook off if they ring them.
 

anto1969

Super Moderator
Staff member
TK Supporter
did they get money from her Noel (please say no)

its terrible and as you say if people see this thread and tell them to F off well job done ;)

At least your niece had the cop to get straight to you to inspect laptop Noel ;)
 

noelyf

VIP Member
I`ll find out exactly tomorrow anto as she was in a panic and just told me the basics.

She had to head off elsewhere and just waffled for a minute lol

I`ll get the info tomorrow and have a look at the laptop ;)
 

Linny40

TK LADY VETERAN
Thread starter
Me niece just got scammed by these bastards tonight. They told her they were microsoft technicians.

Gonna go through her laptop tomorrow to make sure everythings ok.

Fookers!!

BAAASTARDS!!!!! hope they not done nothing to her lappy! Can she contact the police or someone to say she is getting scam/nuisance calls etc, not sure if they can do anything about it BUT IT SHOULD BE STOPPED!!!!

I am still getting called texts re an accidnet ive had or about trying to get me to give details of loans ive had so they can claim back mnoey for me. They are so thick i tell them i dont work so dont have nay loans, and they tell me i must have done in the past. I tell them im old and havnt works for 10-20 yrs and they STILL go on. I have given up the amount of times ive told them to take my number off their systems.
I have now changed my name to Mrs Smith im elderly/disabled and tell them to FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOK OFF, yup that upsets them!!!
OH and apparently a few weeks ago i did a survey and that s how they got my number - Survey?? erm i dont think so they are the biggest scams going!! How much do you earn, what car you got, what hrs do you work = lets go rob your house then!!!
 

dee

TK Veteran
that was the very first call i got when i had sky installed, waffled on about some mallicouse software i had downloaded with a film, the funny part was i can`t upload a picture let alone download a film told him to feck off.
 
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