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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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!

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).

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 :-)

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).

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.

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