A scam is a good old fashioned swindle, a confidence trick (con for short). A con can only take place once the “scammer” wins the victim’s trust. Once they have your trust, they swindle money, goods, etc., persuading you to entrust something of value to them.
Scam artists mislead their victims in their selfish efforts to get ahead. They have no scruples and don’t have an once of respect for anyone but themselves. They thrive on trickery and cheating. I really hate dishonest and deceptive people. They are no better than toilet scum.
It is completely beyond my comprehension how anyone could demonstrate such a lack of compassion towards another human being. I simply cannot comprehend the act of purposely inserting malicious crap into websites, email, computers, etc.! Yet here we are.
Ohhhh… I get that there are “black hat” marketing tactics to steal traffic to divert attention and attempt conversions, but that still does not make it right! Seriously!? Is the whole world really this ugly all of the time? It is a sad but true fact that legitimate people are getting attacked regularly – not only physically, but virtually as well.
I read a lot of posts about internet security, malware protection and all of the different scams that are out there every day but I still wanted to share the following correspondence. Mostly because it still happens, and did again, today.
I recently got this email message from one of my contacts. I was particularly pleased that this contact concluded correctly, albeit a little bit late. I wanted to get to the bottom of the intent and find any solutions, if needed.
I also thought it would be a great reminder to those of us who interact with clients, who are not online as often as we are, to keep them informed about these types of potential threats. The more people we can warn regarding particular scams, the harder we make the scammer’s job – and trust me, it is their job because they ARE getting paid at our expense!
The Scam in Question
I need some computer advice on the following story, although my intuition is waving red flags.
Last night around 8:30 p.m. I get a call from a guy who says he’s a Microsoft support person and he is calling customers to save their computers from crashing. According to him, Windows has been deluged with an “infection” problem, and is providing a warning and guided solution. I wasn’t on the computer, so I logged in.
While I was firing up, I heard a lot of noise in the background…various people voices. He then instructed me to hold down the lower left keyboard flag logo and press the letter R on the keyboard. This resulted in a box labeled inf. He then said to type inf into the instruction line and press OK. This resulted in a window with many folders. He asked me if I recognized any of the folders, which of course I didn’t because they were all probably internal computer codes, but he insinuated they were viruses. Because of his shift hours he could not do the extended solution. He said he would “back call” me on Monday.
This man had a heavy mid-east accent which was hard to follow. When I asked his name, he gave me Jay Smith and balked at a Monday “back call” of 9:00 p.m. As I read this message, I wonder how stupid I can get. I doubt he will call back. My question is what are those files and what did he gain?
I would appreciate any feedback.
Here was my reply:
My first instinct is that you are right to be suspicious and certainly should not have met any of his requests if you did not ask for any support service.
I have done some research and found the following articles that CONFIRM that this is a SCAM. Support Scam Using inf (explains your initial contact) AND Fake Support for Products Scam (The reason for the follow-up).
The good news is that it is unlikely they “got” anything to use against you or access to your computer. The first article explains what the files are (and that they should be there). And the second article explains what they hope to gain (selling you services you do not need).
The second article sums it up in the last sentence and this should be your “trigger” to avoid this from happening again. He said. “Personally, I’d suggest that you regard any unsolicited phone call from a company claiming to offer antivirus support, even for a product you actually have, as a probable scam.”
The Scam Lives On
Did you notice the dates of these articles? This particular scam has been around for a long time! Obviously this ploy is still tricking unsuspecting victims into paying the scammers and getting nothing in return. You can also be sure that this ploy is still profitable to the swindlers – if it were not, then it would no longer be used and a new more technical scam would have already replaced it.
I work with a network of web professionals online everyday. The network often shares scam stories as we become aware of them in an effort to learn what to look for and how to prevent ourselves and others from becoming scam victims. No one is above becoming a victim of malicious intent. The fact is, we ourselves have fallen victim from time to time. Falling prey to a scam is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. The best defense is keeping yourself aware and relying on that intuition as soon as any red flag is raised.
For all of the negativity associated with malicious scams, it is somewhat comforting to know that there are many people willing to share their experience, warn others and/or provide solutions. Searching out answers to lessen your loss and prevent recurrence is also a great way to learn and keep yourself informed.
If you found this information to helpful, I would appreciate it if you would pass it on to others, in hopes that it will help them (and piss-off the scammers)! If you have ever encountered a scam yourself, please share below in a comment or reply. Who knows, maybe you will be able to prevent someone from being swindled from a scam.