I'm Calling From Windows Technical Support

Category: This is My Life

This morning I got The Call. The one I’d only read about all over the internet. It started with my telephone ringing but no number was displayed. Normally I don’t answer these calls in the first place, but I was expecting a call from a friend who keeps her number private.

“Hello?” I said. A long pause and a click - I was being connected to the next available operator - very subtle, guys.

A man with an Indian accent said “I would like to speak to {Garbled Name}.”

“I think you have the wrong number.” I said cheerfully, innocently, really. This stuff never happens to me.

“No!” he shouted urgently. “I am calling from Windows Technical Support! Understand you?”

Oh yes. Understood I. Immediately. Understood I that his tone and the implied imperative of his question was intended to startle me; to raise my adrenaline level and strike the first note of panic in my poor, user’s heart. That poisonous combination he hoped would keep me, concerned and pliable on the other end of the phone.

“Nope.” I said, still cheerful, in fact I was nearly flattered. After having been run around the bush by those smart guys at Ars Techinca the robot machine that picks telephone numbers for scammers picked me, me, lil-old me. You gotta love random.

In the US, the FTC began cracking down on these types of scams.

If you run Windows on your computer and you don’t know what I am talking about, please read the above linked articles and User, beware. You are your own gaping security hole and these guys want nothing less than full remote access to your computer. Once you click “run” and they have what they want, they will charge you a bundle of money to “remove the viruses” that are not there in the first place. If you refuse to pay, they will remind you that they have full remote access they can, and they will lock you out of your own machine.

Ars Technica advises:

if you have relatives and friends who lack the necessary dose of skepticism, and they receive unsolicited phone calls from people wanting to fix their computers, they should hang up and report the scam to the FTC or their PC security vendor.