Two Hours Trolling A Windows Support Scammer

Megalith

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What do Ars writers do during their downtime? Troll technical support scammers, apparently. This writer spent two hours messing about with an “Albert Morris,” which may or may not be his real name based on his accent. I have better things to do, so I would have just told him it was "Debian Linux. The Kali distribution," off the bat.

Technical support scams are the bottom of the barrel for cyber-crime. Using well-worn social engineering techniques that generally only work on the least sophisticated computer users, these bootleg call-center operations use a collection of commercially available tools to either convince their victims to pay exorbitant fees for "security software" or extort them to gain control of their computer. And yet, these schemes continue to rake in cash for scammers. We've dealt with these scammers before at Ars, but this week I got an opportunity to personally engage with a scam operation—so naturally, I attempted to inflict as much damage on it as possible.
 
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I don't honestly know what's more pathetic: that someone tries to scam others in such ways, or the probably well paid Ars writer wasting time doing that even if it might have been on his own home or cellular phone service and doing it knowing he'll put up an article about it.
 

ZLoth

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Twist the knife really slowly. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Since I have worked too many years in a technical support field helping end users, it upsets me when someone turns around and trys to harm computer users who don't know better.
 

Spidey329

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I don't honestly know what's more pathetic: that someone tries to scam others in such ways, or the probably well paid Ars writer wasting time doing that even if it might have been on his own home or cellular phone service and doing it knowing he'll put up an article about it.

Business research .. but there's a lot of YouTube people who do this.

Surprised no-one has reversed hacked them and caused chaos on their networks. I doubt these operations have very good security protocols.
 

CaptNumbNutz

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I don't honestly know what's more pathetic: that someone tries to scam others in such ways, or the probably well paid Ars writer wasting time doing that even if it might have been on his own home or cellular phone service and doing it knowing he'll put up an article about it.
FWIW, he did try to contact several legitimate companies whose systems were being abused by the scammers...e.g. TeamViewer, Charter/TWC through a hacked customer VPN tunnel, and even a PBX belonging to a legit company in Nevada.
 

Dishpan

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FWIW, he did try to contact several legitimate companies whose systems were being abused by the scammers...e.g. TeamViewer, Charter/TWC through a hacked customer VPN tunnel, and even a PBX belonging to a legit company in Nevada.

Yeah, I thought it was interesting how he baited them into using TeamViewer and other remote clients and then reported it to these companies. Charter didn't care, a bunch of others didn't know what to do, and it was only TeamViewer who tried to actively fix the problem.

While it was satisfying to read them troll guys like this, it was also sad to know how little many of these companies care or know about these scammers using their products to steal from people.
 

Chance_P

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Whenever I get a call from scammers, I play dumb, reach for my wallet, but I can't find it. Then I tell the scammer to stay on the line while I run out to the parking garage to grab it. They usually stay on the line for 20-45 minutes before hanging up.
 
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Deleted member 88301

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I find it very strange that so many tech support people in India have names like "John," "Steve," "Frank," etc. Those aren't very "Indian" names, right?

Very odd.

(For those of you who might be sarcastically-challenged, just kidding.)
 

blurp

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Whenever I get a call from scammers, I play dumb, reach for my wallet, but I can't find it. Then I tell the scammer to stay on the line while I run out to the parking garage to grab it. They usually stay on the line for 20-45 minutes before hanging up.

I waste 20-30 mins of their time trolling them. Make them repeat multiple times the same word like... "event viewer". The time they spend with me, they don't mess with low tech people like my mother in law!
 
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I waste 20-30 mins of their time trolling them. Make them repeat multiple times the same word like... "event viewer". The time they spend with me, they don't mess with low tech people like my mother in law!

Same. Luckily when I got a call from them once I wasn't doing anything of importance so I kept them on the phone for about half an hour.
 

steakman1971

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I've stayed on the line with these jokers for maybe 20-30 minutes before. They are crooks trying to rip people off. Plain and simple. If I can waste some of their time, maybe I give them a little pay back.
I was on the line for a while with one guy telling him I had to type "win" to get into Windows. After I told him I had a Packard Bell 486 and was laid off from the poultry plant, he comforted me saying "money comes, money goes" and hung up on me.
I also used to "meow" every 3rd word. They don't seem to notice at first. After a while, they ask what they strange noise is. I usually have my kids laughing by that point. Ah, good times. I haven't been called by them in a long time...
 

-PK-

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FWIW, he did try to contact several legitimate companies whose systems were being abused by the scammers...e.g. TeamViewer, Charter/TWC through a hacked customer VPN tunnel, and even a PBX belonging to a legit company in Nevada.
A lot of scammers are using free TextNow accounts. I wouldn't be surprised if the company was aware of it, but it's hard to do anything about VoIP abuse when they can sign up by proxy.

That video is fake. However there are some hilarious channels on youtube that I recommend, such as The hoax hotel or petty pranks.
 

sirmonkey1985

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Business research .. but there's a lot of YouTube people who do this.

Surprised no-one has reversed hacked them and caused chaos on their networks. I doubt these operations have very good security protocols.


there was a guy that posted an article a couple months ago about reverse encrypting all the scammers computers.
 
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I like imitating their foreign accents while on the phone with them. Indian/Pakistani tech support scammers (who claim to be named Bob, Jack, and even Elvis) love nothing more than to hear the American infidels they're trying to scam emulate their funny sounding accents.
 

Spidey329

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A lot of scammers are using free TextNow accounts. I wouldn't be surprised if the company was aware of it, but it's hard to do anything about VoIP abuse when they can sign up by proxy.

That video is fake. However there are some hilarious channels on youtube that I recommend, such as The hoax hotel or petty pranks.

Although he doesn't do computer scammers, you should check out James Veitch's stuff. His Ted talk was hilarious.



And then there's the toaster one:

And Gary ..
 

DukenukemX

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I did a similar thing a couple of months ago. These guys are a dime a dozen. I run Linux Mint on most of my computers and got the phone call telling me my machine is vulnerable and needs help. I had a virtual machine setup for Coupons.com and just tried to mess with them there. Thing is the Windows Key + R doesn't work very well in VirtualBox and after 10 minutes I told the person I'm actually running Linux and should stop trying to trick people.
 

NeoNemesis

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I have a good natured Indian coworker that I usually just get to threaten them in Hindi. It's funny watching the exchange.
 
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TechLarry

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I just tell them I know their scam and call them a asshole. Then I hang up.
 

Exavior

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I always like when my test lines at work get scam calls. I have only tried to screw with them once as normally I am too busy and just tell them that they have reached test lines at a telephone company. Normally results with them hanging up. At which point I then check to see if that number has called any of our customers and block it in our switch for a few days from calling anyone again if it has been calling people.
 

Trimlock

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I'd screw with them for 2 hours too if I knew I could write a good article about it.
 

Shockey

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I screw with the "We can lower your credit card debt" people weekly. So much that they stopped calling me!!! :(
 

nightfly

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I like to keep them talking; the first thing of course is to feign being hard of hearing, so they need to yell into the phone the whole time. Then speak like Ben Carson, as slow as possible, with lots of um's and oh's, with a whoops thrown in and then drop something on the floor for effect. Don't forget to cough and wheeze. Fill in their day with stories of all kinds of nonsense. Tell them my wife of 60 years just died, describe the funeral and how sad each person was, how the neighbors were helping out, etc.. If it's computer related, of course, it all has to start with loose wire connections, starting with the power cord not being plugged in, etc.. Then eventually take the phone into the bathroom with me and describe what's coming out..... When I hear them mumble 'oh my god' or something to that effect, I've done my part to waste their time.
 
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FearTheCow

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I messed with one of the "I am calling from Microsoft" scammers a couple years ago because I was bored. The call ended pretty quick when I told the guy I knew he was a scammer and was in the middle of watching a video of his mom gettimg fucked by a donkey, that set the dude off and he started calling me every name in the book... So I told him to hold on because his mom is kind of hot and I needed to find some lotion, he hung up.
 

michalrz

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clsid_mother.png


Can anyone do the needful and explain it to me why it are mostly Indian people who do this.
Is it the poverty desperation combined with actual access to technology and some well-versed ringleaders?
There are hundreds of poor countries full of desperate techies, like here in Poland, but we don't really do stuff like this. Some do different stuff, but I'd call it more 'creative' and not so on the nose.
 

Killahurtz

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I quit the "messing" with them and went to a more direct response...I have my whistle ,an Acme Thunderer , by the phone and then at the first break in their opening talk I blow it into the phone . this thing is LOUD and I can only imagine the Hindu cuss words that are coming out of their curry eating mouths
 
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