October 14th, 2009

Talking of Scammers

Posted in The Job - General by 200

as we were yesterday…

Being a regular user of the Internet & a long-time email user, I’ve probably come across most of the online scams. The common ones are that someone very rich who was usually some kind of government minister for oil has died & left untold millions to a daughter who will, for some strange reason, share her new-found fortune with a complete stranger such as myself, if only I will give her my bank details so she can transfer the cash out of her country -it does seem an awful lot of effort when a couple of suitcases would do the trick.

Or the ones where I have been fortunate enough to win a lottery I never even entered, usually in Spain, where, for a few of my English pounds I can oil the wheels of money transference.

Or the beautiful Russian virgins who have fallen in love with me through seeing a photo or profile of me which doesn’t exist, who will leave her family behind in some little village in rural Russia to spend the rest of her life in my arms if I will only send her enough cash for the train journey to Moscow, oh & the plane ticket money, & the visa & the hotel bill for a few nights before the flight, & some cash for mother’s heart surgery.
Etc, etc, etc.

I came across a new one this week, reported by a couple of our residents.

What happens is you are sitting at home when the phone rings, you answer & a pleasantly helpful male tells you he is calling from Microsoft because the guys at Silicon Valley in California are receiving error messages from your computer (please note: you don’t have to have registered your Windows Software but somehow they can tell your phone number, you don’t have to be running Windows either & spookily, you don’t even have to own a computer to get these phone calls).

All you have to do for the helpful support assistant on the other end of the line to solve a problem you don’t actually have is to go to your PC, switch it on & follow a few simple instructions. These instructions involve being guided into downloading a helpful piece of software which will cure your ‘error messages’ and also helpfully go through your system looking for credit card details and all your passwords in the form of a Trojan virus.

Then they’ll have the cheek to flog you software to get rid of the virus they put there, presumably also giving them access to your credit card details if their virus couldn’t find it the first time round.

So beware. Microshaft never rings anyone offering to sort out a problem, hell, their whole industry revolves in them creating problems so you keep having to upgrade & make them even richer.

The Queensland Police in Australia issued a warning about this scam back in April, it’s reached the UK. Don’t forget to tell your granny who hasn’t got a PC not to log on to it & follow the instructions of some scummy fraudster pretending to fix what she ain’t got.

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  1. the_leander says:

    Heh, that’s a new one on me.

    Thanks for the heads up, I’ll pass it onto my sister as she’s the only one who I’ve not managed to get to switch over to Linux or MacOSX yet.

    October 14th, 2009 at 23:18

  2. copper bottom says:

    apple mac user…

    October 15th, 2009 at 05:46

  3. Brother Random says:

    Excellent, if I get one of these I shall quite happily tell him I use a Mac. I don’t, but it’s funnier that way.

    Thanks for the heads up 200, we all enjoy a good joke at the expense of the deserving.

    October 15th, 2009 at 09:50

  4. bunk says:

    also mac :)

    October 15th, 2009 at 10:32

  5. Fee says:

    PC … BUT my phone blocks calls from unidentified numbers. So they’re unlikely to get through.

    I also get the old “please help me get all this lolly out of my country and have a few bob for yourself” emails. My PC-literate friend treats them to a spam bomb. I have no idea how it’s done, but I assume it doesn’t involve little tins of preserved meat …

    October 15th, 2009 at 13:28

  6. Tony F says:

    Hey Fee, a ‘spam bomb’ sounds great….

    TPS blocks 99% cold calls, you do still get the odd one though. I brighten their day by asking where they got our number from, and then telling them that they have just won a £10,000 fine from the TPS….

    October 15th, 2009 at 16:19

  7. PC A HUNN says:

    I went to a very worrying one the other day. A guy who has an internet land line had his outgoing calls blocked and got a phone call from what he thought was his supplier. They stated he had not paid a £6.50 additional charge and so they had disconnected his landline until it was paid. He was given the option of paying by crdit card there and then which he thought “oh well its only £6.50″ and gave his details. They then said it would be 24 hours to reconnect by which time they had maxed his credit card in Nigeria.

    October 15th, 2009 at 17:24

  8. Fee says:

    Tony – yeah, registered with them as well, but our provider (for a quid a month) blocks calls from non 1471 numbers. Stops all those auto-diallers, as well!

    The aim of the spam bomb (I’m told) is to bombard them with so much junk mail their inbox crashes! Seems fair enough to me. There’s an urban legend that someone once got such an email and provided them with the bank details of the Nigerian Embassy (or High Commission, whatever) in London. I’d love it to be true.

    October 15th, 2009 at 17:25

  9. 200 says:

    Spammers don’t have inboxes, their email addresses are faked & they use false IP addresses, often hacking into other people’s servers to use as mass emailers, so returning email or ‘bombing’ them has completely no effect other than chogging up the ‘net with even more spam.
    As a victim whose email address was used to mass spam, it’s no fun getting literally thousands of bounced emails!

    October 15th, 2009 at 22:22

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