Posted by Matt on Jul 12, 2011 - 09:47 PM
As a follow up to our last post regarding the Microsoft Call Scam, we thought we would review what has changed and the trends we are seeing.
We had a very good customer come to us tonight after finding that a family member had fallen for this scam and spent over 30 minutes with the scammer connected to their computer. He disconnected the machine and hung up the phone. We are just about to inspect the machine.
Here are the details:
The scammer called and said that they had viruses. They said they were from Microsoft eProtection - They specifically mentioned and made a point to say/imply that they were from Microsoft or at least an authorised representative.
Their phone number: 02 5809 7072
His "name": Ron Wilson -Surely not this Ron Wilson? (joke)
His "ID": 0129
It turns out that he was most likely from: eprotectionz
Despite clearly saying at the bottom of their site that they are not an authorised rep of Microsoft - they are cold calling people and saying they are. If they have offices here in Australia, I am pretty sure that they are skirting the very edge of what is legal, not to mention how Microsoft feels about this sort of thing.
On the rise
If anything, the call volume seems to be increasing. We have received a larger amount of 1st hand accounts of the scam, including people who have been called multiple times in the space of a month.
It seems as if the Microsoft Call Scam has attracted more scammers to the market.
There has obviously been an increase in the amount of mainstream media attention, but I don’t think it has put the scammers off one bit.
The good news is that a lot more people seem to be aware of the scam. Our analytics system shows us that several people per day are finding our site searching “Microsoft Call Scam” or “Windows Call Scam”, so people are obviously looking for information on how the scam works.
This is good as it means people are starting to be educated against the tricks.
One of the programmers here said she was called twice in a month, possibly by the same group. She strung them along for 20 or 30 minutes to waste their time. She then proceeded to tell them that she only has Apple Macs at her home. They said "no problem, we will transfer you to Mac software warranty support".
This was the first time we had heard of them varying the scam for Apple users.
From the public
We have received some information, which may help people identify these scammers:
Alan H sent us the following URL: http://www.windowslivesupport.com and phone number 61 3 90018685 (Victoria, Australia)
Deanne S told us that she was told by a man claiming to be from Microsoft and based in Melbourne, that her machine had a “major” problem and he could fix it. Unfortunately, he called from a private number.
Sue F let us know that she received 2 calls in the space of a week from the number we noted in our last post: 02 8091 5005
An anonymous woman informed us that she received a call from 61 3 90018685 (the same as above) and knew it was a scam straight away. She strung them along for 20 minutes before telling them they were an Apple Mac only house. This scared off this particular group.
Change of tactic?
We are seeing “Software Warranty” being used more and more – they seem to be moving away from “Virus Infections” – at least from our observations – this is probably due to most people having anti-virus and feeling protected.
We are currently trying to draw some media attention to this issue, so if anyone has any more phone numbers, names or information that could help, we would appreciate it. Also, anyone who wants to write a letter to their local news publication can reference information from this site.
We are also available to quote or for comment on this issue if any journalists are interested.