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A scam phone calls and emails discussion.

S&CLER

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11 Jan 2020
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southport
I was rung up this morning by someone with an Indian accent who claimed to be calling from "the technical department of the [sic]Microsoft". The number he rang from was 07909 400367. Something didn't sound right to me and I told the caller I didn't believe him, and hung up. Just thought it might be useful to warn others on the forum.

Fortunately I don't bank or shop on-line and use my on-line computer only for email and sources of on-line information, never for transactions. All my serious translation work, including 17 academic books, has been done for years on an off-line computer, effectively now a dedicated word processor which had a radical Windowsectomy and runs on MSDos and WordPerfect 5.1, since that was what I learned on. All the really important work files are on this, and essentials like the email address book are backed up in hard copy. I've had a new hard drive and keyboard (no euro symbol, alas) in that time, but still got the old Yanjen cathode-ray monitor from 1991! I found it easier to work in WP than Word. Old work can be kept safely on floppy, and anything that needs to be printed or go out as an email attachment can easily be converted to Word on the on-line computer, since I make sure I always have an external floppy drive whenever I replace the on-line computer. WP to Word conversion loses only one format code, in my experience, that is, a full para. indent changes to a hanging indent. Everything else converts easily. (The opposite is not the case.)
 
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Darandio

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The good old Indian Microsoft call centre scam. This has been going on for well over a decade.
 

341o2

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Your Paypal account has been suspended.
Another oldie doing the rounds again
Had two last week
 

The_Train

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Definitely a scam and as Darandio says, they've been at it for years. They won't have any of your personal details with regards to finances so no need to worry about that, they usually conduct the 'refund scam' - a scam where they claim you are eligible for a £100 refund and then they 'accidently' refund you £10,000 (they don't actually refund anything, they get you to log into your bank account using Google Chrome, get you to allow them access to your computer and then change the information using script so it appears your bank balance has changed). Once this has been done, they create a very dramatic act of desperation (claiming they could be sacked etc) and request that you return the money usually via gift cards.

A disgusting breed of humanity who are basically coached to see the West as being mega rich and therefore to not have any concerns over taking peoples money. If you stick 'scam baiters' into YouTube there are a few guys who actively seek them out and play along with them, sometimes accessing their computers and removing all of their data files with potential victims details on. Quite nice to see them getting irate when they've been found out :)
 
Joined
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Location
Blandford Forum
There is a problem with your Amazon Prime account

There is problem/suspicious activity on your BT account. If you do not contact us your internet will be cut off.

There is an arrest warrant out for you due to fraud.

I've had them all!
 

Geezertronic

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"Your BT broadband will be disconnected"

"I'm with Virgin Media and I work in Telecommunications so bugger off"

:)
 

507021

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Liverpool
Definitely a scam, I've had loads.

"There is a virus on your computer" - I either tell them I don't have a computer, or I have one and don't know how to turn it on.
"This is your bank, we need you to confirm your security code" - I ask them which bank.
"This is your internet company, you need to pay your bill or you'll be cut off" - I ask them who my internet provider is, and how much my monthly bill is.
"Your washing machine insurance is about to expire" - I point out their company doesn't list Whirlpool as a covered brand on their website.

The last time I had a scam call, I gave the phone to my three year old daughter, who talked to the caller about Balamory for a few minutes before they hung up.
 

eastwestdivide

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S Yorks, usually
Congratulations on getting this far without having one of these scam calls!
The caller ID number can be spoofed by the way, so it's not a reliable indicator of anything in such cases.
...Old work can be kept safely on floppy...
A few people would take issue with the relative safety of floppy disks. Copies on two floppies would be safer, and additional copies on some other media safer still.
 

SargeNpton

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19 Nov 2018
Messages
515
The Microsoft one is a slightly different modus operandi though. Whereas the others are generally after your bank details the Microsoft one wants to lead you into giving the caller at the other end remote access to your computer so that they can "fix a software problem" but just allows them complete control it to install whatever noxious software suits their aims.
 

Bletchleyite

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20 Oct 2014
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"Marston Vale mafia"
There's an argument that says that you should set your phone up to block any call that doesn't come from a known number. Important stuff that you don't know about doesn't come by telephone any more.
 

Trackman

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Lewisham
There's an argument that says that you should set your phone up to block any call that doesn't come from a known number. Important stuff that you don't know about doesn't come by telephone any more.
I've heard is answer the phone but dont say anything as the automatic dialler thingy is waiting to detect a voice.
 

Hardcastle

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21 Dec 2013
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Preston
I had a email yesterday from so called PayPal saying there had been usual activity on my account i followed the link to sign on only to find they where asking for credit card & bank account details there is no way i would give them details they should already have when i opened the account years ago i guess another scam.
 

Bletchleyite

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"Marston Vale mafia"
I had a email yesterday from so called PayPal saying there had been usual activity on my account i followed the link to sign on only to find they where asking for credit card & bank account details there is no way i would give them details they should already have when i opened the account years ago i guess another scam.

Another good one is "never click a link on an email". Note who sent it to you, then manually log onto that website.
 

JohnMcL7

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18 Apr 2018
Messages
586
I wonder what the hit rate is for people falling for this scam?

Probably not that high but it doesn't need to be since they can make hundreds from a single successful call and they'll often manage to scam the same people multiple times. Jim Browning's videos are a good look at how the scams work and how much money they're making, how many people they're scamming etc:


The scammers are smart working to get their search results promoted to look like they are the support numbers for genuine companies to catch people out. I had a friend insist to me when he recently bought a Garmin unit that he had to call them to get it updated and they had to remote control his PC and even when I explained to him it's a complete scam he wasn't convinced and was sure it was Garmin.

There's an argument that says that you should set your phone up to block any call that doesn't come from a known number. Important stuff that you don't know about doesn't come by telephone any more.

I find BT's Call Guardian service works well where it allows certain numbers through but for unknown ones they have to give their name at which point the phone rings and it plays back what they've just said and you can accept or reject the call. It trips up many of the auto diallers and those that do connect don't bother proceeding since they know it's likely the call will be rejected anyway. When I disabled the service while my Dad was in hospital to make sure they could get through I was surprised in just a few days how many scam calls there were.

Congratulations on getting this far without having one of these scam calls!
The caller ID number can be spoofed by the way, so it's not a reliable indicator of anything in such cases.

A few people would take issue with the relative safety of floppy disks. Copies on two floppies would be safer, and additional copies on some other media safer still.

Agreed, there's few storage formats I'd trust less than a floppy disk apart from perhaps cassette tape and smartmedia.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Another planet...
If you're a bit bored during lockdown, I'd recommend Jim Browning's YouTube channel. He's an IT guy from Northern Ireland who does "scambaiting": basically wasting the time of scammers to stop them exploiting vulnerable people, and exposing who they really are and how they operate. Quite fascinating if a little worrying.

(Edit: Basically, what he^ said. :oops: :lol: )
 

Typhoon

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I wonder what the hit rate is for people falling for this scam?
Surely very low, its been going on so long. I'm always surprised, considering they are (supposedly) from the 'technical department' of Microsoft or BT, how technically illiterate they are. You would think they would have been given a few basic facts so they could talk for not even a minute without repetition, deviation or talking bs.
If you're a bit bored during lockdown, I'd recommend Jim Browning's YouTube channel. He's an IT guy from Northern Ireland who does "scambaiting": basically wasting the time of scammers to stop them exploiting vulnerable people, and exposing who they really are and how they operate. Quite fascinating if a little worrying.

(Basically, what he^ said. :oops: :lol: )
I don't know this one but there are others probably as amusing. If I have the time I try to waste their time, leading them on; unfortunately I'm unable to keep it up for too long before they realise that I am wasting their time. Still, every second counts.

EDIT: I've now watched one of the clips. He should get an MBE at least. More than wasting their time and exposing them, he got the money back to the victims. Hero is much over used, but he's a hero!
 
Last edited:

JohnMcL7

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Surely very low, its been going on so long. I'm always surprised, considering they are (supposedly) from the 'technical department' of Microsoft or BT, how technically illiterate they are. You would think they would have been given a few basic facts so they could talk for not even a minute without repetition, deviation or talking bs.

They don't need to be technically literate because they are targeting people who are not technically literate so they can easily do the scam with cheap staff reading nonsense off a script. It's likely a user with any level of technical literacy is going to spot the scam and it's going to be a waste of time.

Also the genuine support for most large companies is poor with the staff having a poor level of technical literacy and unable to solve basic problems because they're just reading off a script.
 

S&CLER

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There's an argument that says that you should set your phone up to block any call that doesn't come from a known number. Important stuff that you don't know about doesn't come by telephone any more.
Yes, I have anonymous call reject on the (landline) phone; I've never needed, wanted or acquired a mobile phone of any description, because when working at home as I have for 40 years, I hated the idea of being pursued by phone calls even when outside the house.
 

John Webb

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....I find BT's Call Guardian service works well where it allows certain numbers through but for unknown ones they have to give their name at which point the phone rings and it plays back what they've just said and you can accept or reject the call. It trips up many of the auto diallers and those that do connect don't bother proceeding since they know it's likely the call will be rejected anyway. When I disabled the service while my Dad was in hospital to make sure they could get through I was surprised in just a few days how many scam calls there were.....
I agree - couple of years ago I was being plagued by unwanted calls on the land line and invested in a new phone with 'Call Guardian' built in (you don't have to be using BT's network to use it). Within a year unwanted calls had dropped to about a quarter of their previous number, and the need to announce themselves meant I'd hardly ever been interrupted.

Yes, I have anonymous call reject on the (landline) phone; I've never needed, wanted or acquired a mobile phone of any description, because when working at home as I have for 40 years, I hated the idea of being pursued by phone calls even when outside the house.
I have a mobile, mainly for use when I'm 'lone working' for a couple of charities I do things for. Curiously I hardly ever get an unwanted call on it.
 

Gloster

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I keep my ‘phone switched off unless I am expecting a call, but from time to time I check the missed calls option. I don’t buy much over the internet, preferring the ‘phone, but anything I do buy over the net is through my No. 2 account: its balance is always kept fairly low and often has to be topped up before a transaction. Not perfect, but I hope it will avoid serious problems. And if someone did catch me when the ‘phone was switched on...I probably wouldn’t understand what they were on about, even if they were genuine.
 

PeterC

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My late mother could never grasp how cheap phone calls had become and was convinced that any spam phone call had to be local and explicitly targeted at her and was frightened of being rude or even just putting the phone down as they "knew where she lived". I never succeeded in persuading her otherwise.

I usually let calls from unrecognised numbers go to the answerphone. The only problem is that doctors and hospitals never leave messages.

I used to volunteer for a local arts organisations and all my legit non-family calls were about that so I always answered the phone with the organisation's name. I could have great fun trying to sell concert tickets or advertising in our newsletter to the caller.
 

Typhoon

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They don't need to be technically literate because they are targeting people who are not technically literate so they can easily do the scam with cheap staff reading nonsense off a script. It's likely a user with any level of technical literacy is going to spot the scam and it's going to be a waste of time.
As IT has been widely taught in schools for 35 years, you would think that a significant number of people would know enough to see them off - and be able to warn parents of the risk. My late mother could recognise them as scams and she was 96 and her IT skills were restricted to the 'up arrow', 'down arrow' and 'Esc'(when she had pressed the wrong key), I suspect because she knew they were reading but not fluently.enough fot it to come across as a real, concerned call.

Also the genuine support for most large companies is poor with the staff having a poor level of technical literacy and unable to solve basic problems because they're just reading off a script.
I suppose that is why the Covid-19 Track and Trace system went wrong!
 

SargeNpton

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There's an argument that says that you should set your phone up to block any call that doesn't come from a known number. Important stuff that you don't know about doesn't come by telephone any more.

A few weeks ago I placed an order on-line with a company for the first time but unknowingly made a mistake in one part of it with regards to quantity. Ten minutes later I got a call from an unknown number - which was that company's order department double-checking what I wanted.

If you never answer unknown numbers then eventually you will miss a genuine call. Far better to let it ring three times before picking up; which will see off the majority of auto-dialling scammers.
 

A Challenge

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There's an argument that says that you should set your phone up to block any call that doesn't come from a known number. Important stuff that you don't know about doesn't come by telephone any more.
You say that, but I received a genuine call from NS&I (not their published number) conducting a 'random security check' - which I ended up having to phone them back to do (I wasn't giving any details in the incoming call) and wait on hold for ages to get back through to them.
 

Kingspanner

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When i get spam calls I like to ask them for their mobile number and when they'll be home so I can call at at time inconvenient for them.

Slightly OT, I used to get a few calls on the landline all from the same person asking for "Bob the gardener". No amount of explaining that it was the wrong number worked, every few days another call. So one day I decided to pretend to be "Bob". I have to say that after "Aye this is Bob speaking" it got surprisingly hard to impersonate someone I knew nothing about.
 

JohnMcL7

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As IT has been widely taught in schools for 35 years, you would think that a significant number of people would know enough to see them off - and be able to warn parents of the risk. My late mother could recognise them as scams and she was 96 and her IT skills were restricted to the 'up arrow', 'down arrow' and 'Esc'(when she had pressed the wrong key), I suspect because she knew they were reading but not fluently.enough fot it to come across as a real, concerned call.

I think significant number of people do see them off but they only need a comparatively small number for their scams to work as they hit each one hard. I could never convince my Dad of these scams so when they phoned he treated them as genuine, he phoned me in a panic because he thought Microsoft had personally phoned him about a problem (!) and had a hard time believing it was just a scam. I've also come across a few people a similar age to mine who have gone through training on how to identify fraudulent callers and e-mails but have caught not just once but multiple times.
 

najaB

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I wonder what the hit rate is for people falling for this scam?
It doesn't have to be particularly high since the cost vs payoff ratio is very much in the scammer's favour.
There's an argument that says that you should set your phone up to block any call that doesn't come from a known number.
While you could go that route, it's entirely possible that an important call could come from an unknown number. Case in point, I almost didn't get my passport renewed in time for a work trip a couple years back because HMPO were trying to get in contact with me because they needed to see my birth certificate. Since I'd never had a call from them before I wouldn't have been able to add it to a whitelist.
 

Typhoon

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I could never convince my Dad of these scams so when they phoned he treated them as genuine, he phoned me in a panic because he thought Microsoft had personally phoned him about a problem (!) and had a hard time believing it was just a scam.
It may be here that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Mum wouldn't know anything about Microsoft, to her the computer (hardware and software) was one thing so it would be the name stuck on the top/ front that counted. Even if they had said they were Bill Gates she would have just told them that she didn't know them and hung up. She was also very good at playing dumb!

It could be that scams are still successful because people have a little knowledge, they know names, they have some kit, they know something about downloading, programs, viruses, how they are paid for but not enough to distinguish credible from dubious
 

507021

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I could never convince my Dad of these scams so when they phoned he treated them as genuine,

It was the same for my Dad at first, although thankfully he wised up to them after a while.

I wish I hadn't bothered with the Telephone Preference Service, because it did absolutely nothing to stop the nuisance calls.
 

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