What is this scam?

Phone rings. A man with a difficult-to-understand accent starts to gibber at me. After having him repeat a couple times, I finally realize that he claims that my computer is sending out error messages. I tell him (quite literally), “Go fuck yourself!” and hang up. I kind of regret not stringing him along to find out what he wanted me to do, but it was too painful to listen to him. And how was he able to associate my phone number with my computer (although it occurs to me as I write this that he was probably just calling phone numbers)? Any idea what we going on?

When he hooks a live one, he’ll then ask for passwords and login information to remotely “fix” the problem. Credit card number, too.

Yeah, he was trying to claim he’s with Microsoft (or something) and your computer (he just assumes you have one, he knows nothing) is broken/virus-infected/whatever and it’s bad enough that they can figure this out, but if you pay them with your credit card they’ll fix it/keep the NSA from breaking down your door/etc.

It’s all a scam, of course; they know nothing about your computer and how it’s working, and they just want to steal your money.

From what I understand, it’s highly profitable. Doesn’t work on 99 of 100, but the one that falls for it makes up for the rest.

You have to watch out for those illegitimate scams. And legitimate scams are no better. But it’s done so clumsily these days. Take a look at George C. Parker. If only he had been Nigerian he would have ended up owning the world, then selling it to someone.

Hmm. No true Scotsman would try to con you over the phone…

Actually I looked up this scam a while back. Istr that they were really selling a product but scaring you into buying it by getting you to look at an error log that looks scary but is meaningless.

There’s a detailed explanation of the scam here.

Basically they try to do two things: bill your credit card for their “help”; and infect or damage your computer, presumably so they can claim you need more “help” next time.

My partner played along with one of these to see where it was going. He hung up at the point where they were instructing him how to set-up a remote access login. They were walking him through it step-by-step, like a help desk.

Just one of many scams going around these days.

I don’t usually have a snappy comeback (I think of one about 10 minutes later) but I was rather satisfied with myself when I got one of those calls.

Him: (imagine any non-American accent except Indian.) Yes, I am calling from technical support to tell you there is a serious problem with your computer.

Me: There is? Thanks for telling me. I’ll get it checked immediately! click

Sounds good, but couldn’t you have strung 'im along a little longer, so he wouldn’t bother the rest of us? Like, maybe, 2 hours?

Try acting innocent and clueless. They love that. :slight_smile:

I pray to Og that one of those pus bags will call me, with that pitch! :smiley:

I might have strung him along longer if he wasn’t so hard to understand. It was not an Indian accent, BTW, nothing that I recognized. This is the first I’ve heard of this particular scam.

I get these calls now and then.

Next time, I’m gonna claim that my computers are all Macs, or are all running Linux, just to see what the response is.

Wow–I never knew that the Brooklyn Bridge scam was real. I always thought it was just an urban legend, invented by stand up comics.

Don’t get out much, eh?

I’ve had this scam.
As others have said, they don’t even know if you have a computer - they just want your money.

I told the criminal that not only I didn’t have a computer - I didn’t even have a phone. :confused:

I see I’m not the only ones who’s gotten this guy recently. What’s different about this scam is the horrible accent and the fact that he keeps calling back every hour–at least, according to my caller ID. I think they are hoping that, if you call often enough, people who screen their calls will assume it’s important. It worked for my mom.

What didn’t work was that she couldn’t understand what he said. I’d bet that alone makes this not work on even 0.1% of people.

(She also is smart enough to ask someone knowledgeable about anything she doesn’t know a lot about. I’m hoping this trait is becoming more widespread. If you don’t know, find out.)

I have done this, they just hang up and call a week later. These guys have called me at least 10 times. The last time I just interrupted them in the middle of their pitch and asked them what percentage of people they dupe and what kind of take they get. They just hung up and i have not heard from them in several months.

Another time I questioned them about the error messages and how they were receiving them.

*Our servers are receiving error messages from your computer.

What servers are those?

Global servers.

Global servers, you mean domain name servers?

Global servers.

Wait, are you talking about the windows software global Java servers, because that would mean that my compiler has lost http connectivity!

Exactly, sir. The servers…*
At this point I hung up, bored.