Microsoft support scam continues to plague Australians

Australians continue to be contacted by scammers over the phone promoting themselves as official Microsoft support representatives and offering to fix their computer troubles.

The scam, which preys on the notion that most households have a computer running Windows, first began almost two years ago, and sees someone ring an Australian's home phone number claiming to be from Microsoft support and mentioning that a virus or problem has been discovered with their computer. The scammers then ask the person for remote access to their computer, assuring them the process is "completely safe" and that they'll do their best to fix the problem.

A short time later, after exploiting the computer and pretending to fix the problem which didn't exist in the first place, the scammers then ask the person to pay for the service with many Australians falling victim and handing the scammers their credit card details for payment.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, "thousands" of Australians have been targeted by the scam which in recent months appears to have resurfaced after widespread publicity raised awareness of the scam late last year. In December, Microsoft Australia told the paper the company was receiving between 2 and 50 complaints per day about the scam, but remains powerless to act against it.

"There's a number of different organisations doing this and they're changing their names almost constantly - we hear new names every week," Stuart Strathdee, Microsoft Australia's chief security advisor told the Sydney Morning Herald in December.

Australian authorities remain powerless to act against the scammers, who are based overseas and difficult to track down. Instead, they're urging Australians to hang up on the scammers and not allow them access to their personal computer.

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Please. For the love of God, can you find the spell check thing on whatever you are using to post you semi-literate bunch of morons.

This is now in the UK as well - Ive had worried calls from a few pensioners who have been targeted. Dispicable scum they are (callers, not pensioners).

Most people have no clue what a low-level format actually is. He probably thinks that recreating the partition table constitutes a low-level format. Or what is especially amusing is when people suggest running something like Boot and Nuke before doing a standard format, as if doing so somehow more fully kills the virus. I guess in that case you are safe in the virus writer brakes into your house and attempts to reinfect your computer by means of hard drive forensics to recover the deleted virus :-)

Instead, they're urging Australians to hang up on the scammers and not allow them access to their personal computer.

Australians must do exactly oposite - play dumb and keep scammer as long as possible on the phone so scammer will be charged more for the phone call.

Australia isn't the only country getting hit by this. I got a call a couple of days ago that was similar only the "tech" said he was from VMWare.

It was pretty obvious that "Alex" wasn't legit and was just reading from a script. The broken English was a nice touch though.

This is very old news, reported back in June 2009 and was widespread in Europe, and would eventually ask you to visit logmein123 (not gonna post it here as a URL) for a remote desktop session.
I'd get calls like that almost daily for a while, seems they've picked another country for a while.

Yea, me and my colleagues are still waiting for these people to call one of us up. Still hasen't happened yet they manage to call all the people who will actually give them money.

hahaha I had a guy ring up the other week. I followed on for awhile, until I let him know I've been running Macs for the past couple of years. He abused me, then hung up.

yowan said,
Some people are too stupid, seriously would MS call you if your PC is infected?

Number is really low, see 2 to max 50 a day.. as per Microsoft ..

Choto Cheeta said,

Number is really low, see 2 to max 50 a day.. as per Microsoft ..

Maybe in a comparison to how many people are running a Windows machine but compared to the fact that 2 - 50 PHONE calls/Credit Cards given is in fact quite a few.

yowan said,
Some people are too stupid, seriously would MS call you if your PC is infected?

Why can't the tech world realize that not everyone is computer literate? It doesn't mean they're stupid.

They are also callin new zealanders, they called me and I just have fun with them :> hopefully they call again, was gonna setup a vm for them to connect to lol

iascoot said,
They are also callin new zealanders, they called me and I just have fun with them :> hopefully they call again, was gonna setup a vm for them to connect to lol

Hopefully with session recording and network monitoring, so you can log what they're doing and where they're connecting from?

Yeah I got a call and I told my IP Address is 192.168.1.1 and asked him to go ahead and connect. Idiot even tried to connect not knowing that, that IP Address is a local routing IP.

I was bored...

wrack said,
Yeah I got a call and I told my IP Address is 192.168.1.1 and asked him to go ahead and connect. Idiot even tried to connect not knowing that, that IP Address is a local routing IP.

I was bored...

Hahahaha.

Haha there was a thread on Whirlpool about this. One guy told them he was running Linux and the scammers got confused and kept insisting he was using Windows.

I had this phone call the other day. I was quite offended actually when she said I had a virus on my network. Like I'd let that happen. :@

Pc_Madness said,
I had this phone call the other day. I was quite offended actually when she said I had a virus on my network. Like I'd let that happen. :@

You can report that phone number to the police or at least to Microsoft Australia. They may have a lead..

Pc_Madness said,
I had this phone call the other day. I was quite offended actually when she said I had a virus on my network. Like I'd let that happen. :@
You should've played along and started asking if she thought the virus might have come from all the midget porn you were watching yesterday. You know, go into graphic detail and see how uncomfortable you could make her. I mean, if they're going to call you then you might as well have a little fun with them (not to mention wasting their time).

The first big glaring warning sign that I see here is that the "support rep" magically knows that you have an issue with your computer.

If I got this call I'd be pretty scared since Microsoft must be watching my computer without my knowledge or something.

Yeah it's too bad the general population isn't that smart. They think MS *must* know. After all, it's Microsoft we're talking about here!

TRC said,
I can't believe Microsoft is supporting a scam, they should know better.

Not quite sure if you're serious...

They arn't supporting it, they're just saying that theres nothing they can do to prevent it

TRC said,
I can't believe Microsoft is supporting a scam, they should know better.

omganinja said,
I hope that was a bad joke...
In his defense, that is quite a misleading headline.

In his offense, RTFA before posting, TRC, you <<snipped>>

Edited by xendrome, Jan 17 2011, 3:32pm : No personal attacks please.

omganinja said,
I hope that was a bad joke...

Of course it's a bad joke, I thought that would be obvious. Lighten up people.

I've had 2 reports of this today alone. Quite frustrating that i've already fixed one of their computers then they got "targeted" with this.

I'm a computer technician in australia and iv looked at a couple of computers that have been targeted..

Strangely enough they actually do clean up the computer a bit, and they have not left any viruses behind from what i have seen. Seems to just be about getting the money and leaving, with no follow through

Holey said,
I'm a computer technician in australia and iv looked at a couple of computers that have been targeted..

Strangely enough they actually do clean up the computer a bit, and they have not left any viruses behind from what i have seen. Seems to just be about getting the money and leaving, with no follow through

At least they're getting SOMETHING hehe. Sounds like something I would do, should I be so evil. May as well reward the people who're stupid enough to reward me, eh?

Holey said,
I'm a computer technician in australia and iv looked at a couple of computers that have been targeted..

Strangely enough they actually do clean up the computer a bit, and they have not left any viruses behind from what i have seen. Seems to just be about getting the money and leaving, with no follow through

Yeah I wouldn't trust any virus scan if I were you (or them). They could've root kit'd the machine making any AV scan useless. Or they may have their own custom viral code that's not widespread and not in any of the AV signature databases. A low level format and reload would be the least I would do.

Tim Dawg said,
Yeah I wouldn't trust any virus scan if I were you (or them). They could've root kit'd the machine making any AV scan useless. Or they may have their own custom viral code that's not widespread and not in any of the AV signature databases. A low level format and reload would be the least I would do.

Low level format?

That's something you shouldn't be recommending

Holey said,
I'm a computer technician in australia and iv looked at a couple of computers that have been targeted..

Strangely enough they actually do clean up the computer a bit, and they have not left any viruses behind from what i have seen. Seems to just be about getting the money and leaving, with no follow through

You can't be serious.

Holey said,
I'm a computer technician in australia and iv looked at a couple of computers that have been targeted..
Seems to just be about getting the money and leaving, with no follow through

Sort of like Symantec and McAfee - you pay money and get essentially no effect.

Jared- said,

You can't be serious.

Deadly serious lol, we recommended that she did reinstall windows anyways, but she didnt want to.

We ran all kinds of rootkit scanners and antiviruses, we didn't just pass it through one and give it back, that system was clean

still1 said,

yeah lol...... but y r Australian people so dumb???? dont f'n tell that american's r dumb

PROTIP: When making fun of Australians make sure you spell correctly because you just look like a joke.

mackenziepricee said,

PROTIP: When making fun of Australians make sure you spell correctly because you just look like a joke.


Exactly, this place is full of racist 10 year olds.

mackenziepricee said,

PROTIP: When making fun of Australians make sure you spell correctly because you just look like a joke.

+1
My partner is a Nurse Practitioner and Australian, Do'h! next think before you start insalting.

Why do you think a scam is called a scam in the first place. because people are put in a position of trust. it's not about being inane, it's about some tool fooling decent people into handing over money. this is why it's called a scam. I work with extremely intelligent people, because they call the IT department when something goes a miss, does that mean they are thick, when they ask me about an email asking them for their bank details, and should I open and click on the link within the email. does that mean that they are thick. No it does not. anybody can be fooled into believing anything if it presents itself as being believable.

Northgrove said,

I am insalted but now I can't get all those animals to stop licking me.

At least the slugs and snails have bogged off

mackenziepricee said,

PROTIP: When making fun of Australians make sure you spell correctly because you just look like a joke.


sorry for making fun of Australians... i was completely drunk when i made that comment lol... i feel stupid

still1 said,

sorry for making fun of Australians... i was completely drunk when i made that comment lol... i feel stupid
You should look into one of those programs that block your access to the internet when drunk.