He Fell for the Tech Support Scam Call - How to Check Computer?

My boyfriend is very computer illiterate. I consider myself an intermediate user but compared to him I am an expert, however I am not sure if he was infected when this happened or how to check the computer other than usual virus scans.

My BF just got a new computer, his last one was pretty much killed by viruses. Despite mine and his friend’s warnings he would click on those pop-ups that say “you’re infected!”. We’d install antiviruses and adblocks and so on but he’d still somehow fall victim. So when he got his new computer we both warned him repeatedly don’t click on any pop-ups and don’t download anything. Well, we didn’t think to warn him about the Tech Support Scam call.

So today he calls and tells me that he’s been getting numerous calls from Tech Support and he finally answered and the guy told him to hit the “fn” and “r” keys which he did but then the guy hung up and BF panicked and unplugged the computer.

I’ve been doing some research and I can’t see how they could access his computer typing those keys without him actually going to some site and allowing them access. I think the guy just got disconnected before he finished giving my BF the instructions. As proof of this, he called back while we were on the phone but this time the BF hung up. So I’m thinking they didn’t get access and that’s why they are still calling. I told him to disconnect from the internet, turn the computer on, run his AVG and then run Malwarebytes.

Reading up on this scam, it seems like they are after access and a credit card number. They try to get you to look at your event viewer and see the normal error log so you believe them and follow their instructions, then they access your computer and infect you and charge you exhorbitant fees to “fix” the computer. They have thick Indian accents and I think he misheard the scammer and he was supposed to hit “flag” and “r” to bring up the run box and then they would tell him to enter something which would give them control. Since he didn’t get that far I think he may be safe. As far as I know the fn key doesn’t really do anything unless you use it with another function key.

So I am looking for some more info on this. I have done some research on my own, I think he may be okay (as long as he doesn’t fall for it again - which I can’t guarantee), I would just like some more experienced computer user confirmation.

If that’s all he did, then there’s no conceivable way they could have gotten access to anything. If all it took was hitting two keys for a computer to become vulnerable to an attacker, then every computer in a house with a cat would already be a zombie.

My thoughts exactly, my cats have hit button combinations and done things I didn’t know how to do so I would hope they can’t also let hackers access my computer. I just wanted confirmation from someone with more computer knowledge than myself. I think I am going to let him run his computer scans and squirm a bit before I call him back and let him know he’s probably okay… for now.

My daughter’s in-laws fell for that, or a similar, scam. In their case they downloaded some software from where the ‘Windows’ guy told them. This software did allow them access to his computer and the scammers put a password that locked the computer. The scammers wanted something like $200 to give the in-laws the password.

It was a real PITA for me to fix. Basically I had a boot disk that allowed me to get into the computer and use System Restore back to a time before the software was installed. That fixed it. Then there was the matter of fixing all the other malware on the box.

If you are worried, use System Restore to reset the computer back to a time before the scam.

I think he does know how to use system restore. So he’d probably feel better if he did that.

If he didn’t type anything after hitting fn and r or flag and r, all he did was open a “run” box. That can be safely closed with no harm done.

Maybe it’s a just way to find easy marks / potential victims. If someone calls 1000 numbers and can get 100 people to press some keys on their computer, those people are likely targets for the “This is Windows calling, your computer has a virus…” scams. A list of those 100 numbers would be worth something to scammers.

Those assholes phoned me twice. They hang up on me, without another syllable, when I tell them I’m running a Mac.

I suppose that would prove their criminal intent, even if you’re running Windows.

When I asked them what OS I was running they hung up also. I cozied them along once to see what they are doing - they definitely are trying to get you to open a run box. I can only go so far with this until I get an urge to say something nasty about the guy’s mother though.

I am amazed that this kind of scam works.

I am also saddened to know that it does… I clearly am not a criminal mastermind. I would never have been able to even come up with this scam. I would never believe that I could cold-call a total stranger and have them do something on their computer. But now that I am thinking about it, I bet older folks, kids, and computer noobs all could get tricked if they were sitting in front of their computer when the phone rang.

I need to get out more.

I hope your bf has not been infected.

As in … you’re thinking of marrying this guy?