OT: How to combat a repetitive scam phone call from "Windows Technical Support"

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Submitted by flu on July 6, 2015 - 9:01pm

So...Somehow I got on some scammer's calling list.
Everyday for the past few days at 9pm, I get a call from "Windows Technical Support" informing me that my windows installation either has a virus, or was deactived, or something like that. That's despite the fact that I primarily use linux and only use Windows on a rare occasion in a sandbox VM....

I guess they are trying to get me to either buy something or install some spyware. And everytime, I try to figure out who they are, but pretending to be a naive person that will do whatever they say. I do this to try to get a valid phone number, email, or something where I can trace them and turn them into the appropriate authorities. But every single time I'm getting close, the catch on, and hang up.

Unfortunately, the callback number is a dead number that is no longer in service. And judging thick accent, the call is coming from an overseas call center... and they are probably forwarding the call from there to a dead number in the U.S. So there's no way to trace the call back..

Normally, I'd let this go, but they are doing this every single day for the past week at 9-10pm. I'm about to spend money on OOMA premiere so I can use their blacklist feature to blacklist out numbers. But I really don't want to spend $9.99 just to do this and I don't want to give up my existing phone number.

Anyoen got any suggestions on how to deal with this?

Submitted by spdrun on July 6, 2015 - 9:21pm.

Caller ID might be random -- a VoIP PBX can be set up to transmit virtually any caller ID info to the provider. Honestly, just ignore it. Unless you know the number, don't pick up.

Or test the ability of their VoIP to transmit high-amplitude signals. If you're lucky, you might even give one of their smurfs a coronary.

Submitted by flu on July 6, 2015 - 9:27pm.

I know how these scams work. What they do is they try to convince people to give them remote share access to your computer, and then try to scam you out of money or mess up your system and than ask you to pay. I'm thinking of setting of a virtual instance and while they are trying to f up my virtual instance, try to trace back their ip address.....I wonder how hard that would be to do...

Submitted by spdrun on July 7, 2015 - 5:10am.

Stick the honeypot behind a firewall that logs all traffic and you should be able to get the IP. I'm not sure what their local constabulary would do with it, though.

Submitted by livinincali on July 7, 2015 - 8:38am.

spdrun wrote:
I'm not sure what their local constabulary would do with it, though.

They can't be bothered. They're busily planning their next drug raid with the new surplus military hardware they just got.

Submitted by spdrun on July 7, 2015 - 8:44am.

The scammmers are likely not in the US :)

Submitted by all on July 7, 2015 - 9:04am.

Tell them you don't run Windows?

Submitted by spdrun on July 7, 2015 - 9:07am.

But getting an IP to be able to DDoS or otherwise fawk with at your leisure might be worth it.

Submitted by bibsoconner on July 7, 2015 - 9:20am.

It may not be worth your time, but I wonder if this is a money making opportunity? You say they are consistently calling. Can you record them (you have to inform them that you are recording) or at least log the calls. You could put it on speaker phone so someone in your home can be a witness that the call happened. Tell them each time to remove you from the list. There is supposed to be agencies to deal with "do not call" violations. A few that came up with a Google search

https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/do-not-...

https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complai...
http://ag.ca.gov/donotcall/dnc_complaint...

I've never gotten consistent calls (after I told them to take me off the list), so I've never been in a position to make money, but perhaps you can!

I've gotten the Windows Technical Support call a few (<5) random times. So far I've just had fun with it by having them quote prices and then telling them I have nothing but Linux (not true) or my favorite, asking, "I don't have any Windows machines, but can I pay you some money anyhow?"

Good luck.
Dave

Submitted by flu on July 7, 2015 - 9:40am.

all wrote:
Tell them you don't run Windows?

Already did that, and they hung up and called back the next day.

Submitted by flu on July 7, 2015 - 9:45am.

bibsoconner wrote:
It may not be worth your time, but I wonder if this is a money making opportunity? You say they are consistently calling. Can you record them (you have to inform them that you are recording) or at least log the calls. You could put it on speaker phone so someone in your home can be a witness that the call happened. Tell them each time to remove you from the list. There is supposed to be agencies to deal with "do not call" violations. A few that came up with a Google search

https://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/do-not-...

https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complai...
http://ag.ca.gov/donotcall/dnc_complaint...

I've never gotten consistent calls (after I told them to take me off the list), so I've never been in a position to make money, but perhaps you can!

I've gotten the Windows Technical Support call a few (<5) random times. So far I've just had fun with it by having them quote prices and then telling them I have nothing but Linux (not true) or my favorite, asking, "I don't have any Windows machines, but can I pay you some money anyhow?"

Good luck.
Dave

They aren't based in the U.S. It sounds like the people running this scam are using a call center out of India (and I don't mean this in any disrespect to folks from India), but I was able to trick one "agent" into giving me a callback number, and it was an international number based in India.

It's just annoying that my phone rings late at night for the past few days...I guess I can turn off the ringer.

I'm going to try to snag one of their ip addresses. Unfortunately, I'm not a hacker type... If I were evil, I might be compelled to try to unlease a virus or two on THEIR systems.

Submitted by plm on July 7, 2015 - 10:35am.

Had the same problem a couple of years ago. Wife almost fell for it. Good thing she called me before she gave the credit card number. Anyhow they just will not stop calling. I'm guessing it was because they got close. Good thing was their caller id number even though it wasn't a real phone number was the same each time. Our cordless phone has a way to block phone numbers and that fixed the problem once I blocked it. Perhaps yours does as well? Drove me crazy until I figured out how to block it.

Submitted by Doofrat on July 7, 2015 - 5:41pm.

Here's what I do to avoid this. I'm on call pretty much all the time, so I can't just turn off the ringer on my iPhone. So when I would get a call with some Pakistani saying a bu daba or something like that at 3am it would really piss me off.
What I do is record ten seconds of silence then add it to my iTunes library. You can then convert this to AAC in iTunes (There are a bunch of articles on how to do this for different platforms, or you can just buy a silent ringtone for 99cents). You then set this silent ringtone as your default ringtone and set all your contacts with non-default ringtones. Your phone will never again ring unless it's from somebody you know. If it's important enough, they can still leave a message. I hate to say it, but I even have a family member on the silent ringtone since they forget they are in a different time zone and sometimes call at 7am on a Saturday.
The only issue is that any time you update your iPhone, it removes the silent ringtone for some reason, but it's pretty easy to set up again.

Submitted by joec on July 7, 2015 - 5:58pm.

Not sure why you keep picking up, but whenever I get a call from anyone, I just put it on auto-ignore on my phone and my phone doesn't even ring anymore for those people...Honestly, I'd probably move on to "white" lists soon and just delete all emails and phone calls from numbers I don't know.

Also, I screen all my calls so in general, I don't waste my time or pick up anything unless it's from a number I know...(and even then, I don't answer a lot of times)...

Just too many scammers (like your front door) that you're better off just ignoring all of it IMO.

Submitted by Hatfield on July 7, 2015 - 10:36pm.

My brother gets these calls all the time. Sometimes he toys with them, sometimes he berates them for not getting into an honest line of work. He think that some of them actually have no idea what they're doing, they just work in a call center and are working off a script. If you take them off script they're totally lost.

Submitted by dumbrenter on July 8, 2015 - 12:24pm.

You all seem to have a lot of time in your lives (and still use cordless phone).

Submitted by Doofrat on July 8, 2015 - 12:50pm.

Actually, the Do Not Call list is a good source for phone numbers for these scammers. DNC only needs to be honored by domestic companies whose assets are within arms reach of the US. These scammers obviously operate out of reach, so reporting them to the authorities will do absolutely nothing except waste more of the excess time we apparently all have.

Submitted by spdrun on July 8, 2015 - 2:14pm.

Ultimately, they do have to use US equipment to reach US customers. Is there any way for the US to deny such companies access to the US phone network?

Submitted by flu on July 8, 2015 - 2:27pm.

,...So the way I combatted this last night is I started speaking in heavy thick (make-believe) mandarin accent... I think today I will put on my heavy thick Indian call center accent...

I left the ringer off for the rest of the night. Unfortunately, one of the phone calls at midnight was from my alarm company to report someone smashed the window of one of my homes last night...Lol.. Good thing there was an alarm....Too bad I didn't pick it up...

Submitted by bibsoconner on July 8, 2015 - 4:07pm.

flu,

This might cheer you up. Even if you don't plan on (or can't) do anything yourself, it's sometimes nice to hear about a win for the little guy....

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/judge-awar...

Submitted by harvey on July 8, 2015 - 4:34pm.

This happened to my parents and my in-laws.

They must think that you're old.

Submitted by svelte on July 8, 2015 - 8:34pm.
Submitted by mike92104 on July 8, 2015 - 8:46pm.

Have you tried reporting it to your phone carrier? They may be able to track them down and deal with it.

Submitted by flu on July 9, 2015 - 10:54am.

mike92104 wrote:
Have you tried reporting it to your phone carrier? They may be able to track them down and deal with it.

OOMA.. so no help.

Submitted by Doofrat on July 9, 2015 - 11:12am.

mike92104 wrote:
Have you tried reporting it to your phone carrier? They may be able to track them down and deal with it.

There's really nothing you or the carrier or any authority can do as it's easy for the scammers to just move their virtual presence around. It would be like trying to block someone from sending you snail mail from Nigeria. You could even probably get the postal carrier to throw away anything with a Nigeria return address, then the sender could put an Australian return address, or even send it to Australia or Iowa first and then have someone there send it to you, except this is easier to do on the Internet.

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