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When Antivirus Scammers Call the Wrong Guy 473

ancientribe writes "Phony AV scammers posing as Microsoft dialed the wrong number when they inadvertently phoned a security researcher at home. He lured them into a honeypot to study their actions, and posted the video online here. His main takeaway: they were 'Stone Age' when it came to their tech know-how."
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When Antivirus Scammers Call the Wrong Guy

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  • by MrEricSir ( 398214 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:21PM (#40104017) Homepage

    His main takeaway: they were 'Stone Age' when it came to their tech know-how."

    So they're exactly like Norton, McAfee, and CA?

    • Re:Sounds familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:43PM (#40104257) Homepage Journal

      His main takeaway: they were 'Stone Age' when it came to their tech know-how."

      So they're exactly like Norton, McAfee, and CA?

      How did this get modded 'Funny?'

      That shit ain't funny, it's fucking Insightful.

      • Re:Sounds familiar (Score:5, Informative)

        by dontmakemethink ( 1186169 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @06:21PM (#40104549)

        His main takeaway: they were 'Stone Age' when it came to their tech know-how."

        So they're exactly like Norton, McAfee, and CA?

        How did this get modded 'Funny?' That shit ain't funny, it's fucking Insightful.

        How did this get modded 'Insightful'?

        The GP was insightful. This shit ain't insightful, it's fucking Funny.

        [Hint: to break the chain, mod this 'Informative'.]

      • by sa1lnr ( 669048 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @07:23PM (#40105011)

        "That shit ain't funny, it's fucking Insightful."

        Great, now we're getting false funnies.

      • Re:Sounds familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <bassbeast1968@gm ... minus herbivore> on Thursday May 24, 2012 @08:07PM (#40105271) Journal

        No shit, I don't know how many times i have had people bring in a machine and complains "Its so slow it has GOT to be a virus" and I find they are right...its a virus called norton or McCrappy. It never fails to amaze me how bad some of these AVs get when it comes to hogging, especially on laptops. I'll give them Avast or Comodo or if they REALLY know what they are doing MSE, but Horton and mcCrap are just fucking terrible! I have been told their enterprise version, at least with Norton, isn't like that so i have to say WTF? why can't you do that with the consumer version?

        But the bitch is it isn't the PC bugs I've seen much of lately, win 7 and a decent AV have that problem pretty well handled, its the mobile scams. If you want to know more check my journal entry here but please folks, remember that many haven't got the exp we have so warn them about the phone scams, because the amount of variants i've seen in just the last week tell me this one is gonna spread and be nasty as all hell.

        • Re:Sounds familiar (Score:5, Interesting)

          by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Thursday May 24, 2012 @09:34PM (#40105711) Journal

          I have been told their enterprise version, at least with Norton, isn't like that so i have to say WTF?

          One of my (Fortune 100) clients has McAfee enterprise and I can vouch for the fact that it's horrible there too.

          Just an example; what they call "Wasted Wednesday" has nothing to do with substance abuse, and everything to do with mandatory virus scans that make computers unusable for hours.

          • by IICV ( 652597 )

            One of my (Fortune 100) clients has McAfee enterprise and I can vouch for the fact that it's horrible there too.

            Oooh ooh I have one too, one place where I worked used Symantec Endpoint Protection (which is kinda like more expensive Norton for paranoid CTOs). For some reason, trying to install stuff over the network from a shared drive would actually crash the firewall, rendering the computer unable to connect to the Internet until you rebooted it. There's got to be an exploit in there somewhere, I'm sure, b

    • Re:Sounds familiar (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @08:08PM (#40105277)

      These guys are dumber than that. The guy uses his personal email id for the payment gateway. His email is (Feel free to email him). He left is photograph at []. He has even posted a question "Can i use this payment gateway for my call center which provide online technical support to usa,canada? " in the forum. I can also point out some security holes in his website, but I guess, I would doing more harm than good. So I will leave that out.

    • by jd2112 ( 1535857 )
      Actually those use some rather sophisticated methods to ensure that every CPU cycle and byte of memory is consumed.
  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:25PM (#40104059)

    I got a similar call to the guy in the article. So I hung up.

    They called back, and I hung up again except the phone didn't hang up. I even held down the "on hook" button but the call would not terminate. Any ideas how the scammers accomplished this?

    • by SScorpio ( 595836 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:26PM (#40104083)

      In your rage you slammed down the receiver too hard and now the "on hook" button isn't registering correctly?

      • Um. No. My phone works just fine. I also disconnected the line which should have terminated the call immediate, but the scammer was still talking when I reconnected the line. (I figure they were using some override built into the POTS.)

        • by v1 ( 525388 )

          It can also be a part of your phone service features. If you have call waiting or call transfer for example, it can prevent you from disconnecting the caller.

        • by CanHasDIY ( 1672858 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:46PM (#40104275) Homepage Journal

          Um. No. My phone works just fine. I also disconnected the line which should have terminated the call immediate, but the scammer was still talking when I reconnected the line. (I figure they were using some override built into the POTS.)

          ...Which is precisely why man invented the airhorn.

          Next time those bastards grab your line and won't let go, give them a really, really fucking loud reason to.

        • by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @10:15PM (#40105985)

          Um. No. My phone works just fine. I also disconnected the line which should have terminated the call immediate, but the scammer was still talking when I reconnected the line. (I figure they were using some override built into the POTS.)

          Such a feature doesn't exist in DMS-100 (unless an engineer is doing a dialtone plunge, but that's not a DMS feature, that's an actual set or test head connected to the line keeping it open). More likely, you have a marginal short on your line, and when you "hung up", the short was low enough at the time to trick the DMS into thinking that there was still a phone of the hook, so it didn't close the line. Depending on the amount of T-R leak that's happening, you may never notice it when you're using the phone, but it could still be enough to trick the DMS into thinking your phone's off the hook.

          Of course, in a situation like that, chances are you'd have no dial tone at all, because the DMS would self-disconnect from the line to avoid being damaged, and they wouldn't have been able to ring your line at all, as it would sound busy (or forward to voicemail if you have that line option) with the DMS in PLO state. I suppose if it's a swinging short it could work the way you're describing, but the chances are slim enough that it's equally possible you're just making it up. I'd have to see a 12-point metallic test to know for sure what the problem is with your line, but assuming you're telling the truth, my money's on a swinging tip-ring short.

          I guess, maybe, if you're on FTTH and the ONT is bugged out (or you have a problem with your inside wiring), it could behave like that, too. Usually with FTTH I don't see anywhere near the kind of weird shit that I see on copperline, though.

          The other possibility is as folks have suggested, 3-way calling. If you hang up and pick up shortly afterwards, it's the same effect as pressing the "flash" or "link" button on your phone, and the DMS will put the first call on hold to allow you to dial a 2nd number. If it triggered when you hung up, it would suggest a defective phone.

          Obligatory disclaimer: I do work for the local phone company, and one of my many job functions has been troubleshooting/diagnosing this kind of weird behaviour in order to determine if a field tech visit is needed. I have seen the problem you're describing before, but usually it's followed by a loss of dialtone within an hour after the fact.

          • by wrook ( 134116 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @04:33AM (#40107361) Homepage

            Disclaimer: I used to work on the DMS-100 (perhaps I should post this as anonymous coward... :-P ) At least when i worked on it, there were plenty of bugs with respect to various features (especially 3-way call) and various agent types. Stupidly enough, although it was not the correct way to do things, the most common way to clear a call was to take down one end and then wait for the audit process to come around, notice that one end was down and take down the other end. If you hang up and then pick up the phone again, depending on what code paths you were going through, you could reconnect the call before the audit process tore it down. Unfortunately, it was a problem that was nearly impossible to fix because the DMS uses completely different code depending on agent types and features that are in use. You would practically have to go through all 30 million lines of code.

            It's been about 15 years since I worked there, so I can't remember very much any more, but I used to play party games demonstrating all the bizarre behaviour you could get your phone to do. The thing was that end users think of their phone as a kind of widget. They have no idea there's a computer in the switch directing things. When weird things happen they either blame themselves or come up with conclusions like the GP (the scammers figured out how to hold the line up). Just bad code, that's all.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:27PM (#40104091)

      the call is coming from inside the house!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'll use logmein to fix your phone issue.

    • by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:36PM (#40104165) Journal

      I had a similar call about a month ago. My wife answered it and then hung up. I wish she would have handed the phone to me. I would have had a field day, acting stupid, and getting as much info as I could so that I could return their "favor".

      • Wow, they are still at this. I did get to mess with one and tied him up for about 20 minutes. I had my netbook running Ubuntu Netbook Remix. I played along to see how long it would take for them to figure out I wasn't running windows. They didn't start trying to get me to look for Windows error messages. They started by trying to get me to go to a site for Remote Desktop Management so they could see my PC. I played along and got to the download. They wanted me to open it since I said I could not run

        • I spent nearly 15 minutes on the line to one guy who tried to talk me through pressing the Windows button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

          I didn't even have to lie; I repeatedly told him I was running Linux, so I didn't have a Windows button. He thought I was an idiot, kept on trying to explain how to bring up the Windows control panel so that I could see the "error messages". Eventually in frustration he put on his supervisor, who after learning I ran Linux, apologized and quickly hung up on

          • I spent nearly 15 minutes on the line to one guy who tried to talk me through pressing the Windows button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

            Do you run into Hebrew or Arabic Windows more than anything else? Because most localizations have the Windows button in the bottom LEFT hand corner...

      • by slew ( 2918 )

        I actually did this.

        Of course at first they assumed I had a windows machine so when I claimed to not know how to type in their url, they tried to get me to hit the windows key to bring up the start menu to open a browser. When I told them I didn't have a window key on my keyboard, they immediatly assumed that I had a mac, so then they transfered me to their "mac" guy, and after messing with that guy's head for a while, I let it slip that I think my brother-in-law set me up with a linux machine and they ha

    • by kammat ( 114899 )

      Most landlines won't disconnect until the sender hangs up. I learned this beauty last election cycle when robocampaigns would call and *not*fucking*drop*the*line* after I hung up right away. Two minutes later I picked back up and they were still going.

      • No mine (Bell Atlantic) doesn't work that way. I hang-up on telemarketers all the time, and they disappear. This one was the sole exception which is why it's stuck in my mind a year later.

    • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:46PM (#40104285)

      Well... There used to be a slight delay (like 10 seconds) between the "on hook" (current stops flowing in the loop) and the processing of the "on Hook" condition by the switch. This was to avoid disconnecting calls for momentary current breaks such as when you where dialing a rotary phone or if the user was doing a hook "flash" to switch between parties in a 3-way call. In some cases this delay has been emulated by recent phone system designs for compatibility reasons or simply because that's the way things used to work and the spec still calls for it. These days, I don't think there are many land line phones doing rotary dial and processing flash hook signals, at least in the industrialized world.

      This feature was what caused the "Telemarketers have total control of my phone when they call and I can't hang up on them!" rumor from yesteryear. I'm betting that this was the reason you couldn't hang up on them. Next time hang up and wait about 20 seconds and I'll bet you will get a dial tone when you pick up.

    • I'm not a Pheaker, but as I understand it, there is a way to reverse the roles of the caller and the callee. It's useful for the 911 and the police as they can maintain the connection long enough to preform a trace.

      • by slew ( 2918 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @08:55PM (#40105463)

        I'm not a Pheaker, but as I understand it, there is a way to reverse the roles of the caller and the callee. It's useful for the 911 and the police as they can maintain the connection long enough to preform a trace.

        My information is pretty dated, but as I recall, although theoretically you can do pretty much anything in the exchange (say like reverse roles and perform a trace), in practice, you probably can't do too much at the calling or called side unless it was the same exchange that handled the caller and callee (esp if it is a crufty old 5ESS). Of course with the current telephone network, no phreaking signals are accepted as the voice path and the signalling path is now totally separate... (In the United States, the last exchange that kind of stuff worked on was wawina [] and that ended in June 15, 2006)

        Note that in SS7 (and it's messages, described by the ITU Q.764 standard which is freely available), either side can disconnect. If the calling party disconnects, a release request (REL) is sent to the terminating exchange and it's up to that exchange to release the line and send a release complete (RLC). If the terminating exchange is next to the police dept or 911**, that terminating exchange could theoretically could hold the line for a while for a trace (although intermediate exchanges may time this out, so you can't do this forever). The same is true for the called party disconnecting which initiates a REL going back to the originating exchange. In this case the originating exchange might hold the line for a while after receiving a REL, but even if the caller doesn't hang up, eventually it will release and send the RLC back to the terminating exchange and release the called line. For other than weird billing purposes, there's not much of a reason to switch caller and callee after a call starts as the caller's exchange is the one that usually initiates the billing record (unless you want to bill say both sides). I don't think you can cancel billing once it started on the caller's originating exchange on most systems.

        **911 doesn't work by tracing your call through the network, it works by the orignating exchange sending the correct network address information about the caller in a call-origination message to the 911 exchange (similar to callerID).

    • Jeez, you kids are young... Did you never wonder where the phrase "Hold the line, please" comes from? It's a request to keep the line open. The caller being able to keep the line open, is by design. Perhaps some providers no longer adhere to this standard but if yours do, there's your answer.
    • by mortonda ( 5175 )

      Just speak a little too loudly off phone: "Hey Fred, you got the FBI trace running on this call? 1 minute? I can keep him on for that long..."

  • by Toe, The ( 545098 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:26PM (#40104079)

    Scammers (and spammers) wouldn't do this stuff if it didn't pay off.

    Even though these guys were idiots, they still manage to scam people. So what does that say about their victims? Ugh.

    • I'd suspect comparative advantage in action: These were phone scammers. The techie scammers are out there dumping drive-by downloads and building attack toolkits for sale. The less technical ones are falling back on their people skills and doing social engineering attacks...
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Where are the calls coming from? Probably India or some impoverished nation. Some of the people working in those call centers really need the $2.00 a day that they make so that they can feed their family.

    I'd do some shady shit too if I had to in order to survive and so would you. So don't judge too harshly and don't yell or belittle the guy on the phone. Don't hate the player, hate the game...

    • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:39PM (#40104215) Homepage Journal

      Don't hate the player, hate the game...

      No. I hate both.

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:41PM (#40104233) Journal
      Your 'peak hatred' attitude is disguistingly defeatist.

      Hate player, the game, the phrase 'don't hate the player, hate the game' and anybody who uses that phrase. And you'll still have plenty to go around!
    • Where are the calls coming from? Probably India or some impoverished nation.

      Yes, from India. I've had them on the line more than a few times, and even strung them along in a VirtualBox session once, too. Except that I stopped it when they asked for actual money and explained to them that everything they said was a lie, starting with their names. They hung up that time. Another time I simply asked them why they liked scamming people, and the guy yelled at me as if to be offended by this. That was entertaining - knowing that I knew more about what they were talking about than th

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

      "Where are the calls coming from? "

      Voip service probably one of the several thousand of half Voip services that have POP lines in the USA. Hell you can do this with Skype.

      If they were true hackers, they would compromise a company phone system and then dial in and then back out to completely hide their location. but very few hackers are actually hackers anymore.

      • Ah the good old days when hacking meant connecting stepper motor to an Etch-a-sketch to use with the computer they had just finished wire-wrapping last week.

    • Oh Bo-Ho! Let's all live a life human predation?
    • by Jeng ( 926980 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:54PM (#40104361)

      Damn straight I can blame them.

      You don't see me trying to scam Bill Gates or some other bullshit.

      If you are at the level where you are pulling these scams internationally over not only the internet, but also calling your victims, then you are not starving and you are probably a little better educated than those around you. These are the people that are dragging down their societies instead of building them up.

      I not only blame them, I would like to shoot them for the betterment of their communities.

    • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:59PM (#40104407)

      You realize that fraud and scamming people in india is a crime too right?

      I don't begrudge and indian guy a job at Infosys or IBM or actual microsoft. You may not like outsourcing, but you can't fault someone for taking a decent job that's a step up from what they have, and you can't expect them to feel bad about taking your job when you get paid 50x as much as they do.

      But you still don't feel bad for the guy trying to rob you on the street in New Delhi. He's as much a criminal by indian standards as by western ones.

      I admit, there *is* a grey area. Not the area you talked about. But there is a grey area. I feel bad for people there who have to pay bribes to buy a train ticket (which is everyone), and I feel worse when they come here and think they have to do the same thing. But there is a matter of different cultures, and pervasive corruption and ciminality that honest people can't avoid. Fine, I'll forgive some of that. But trying to theft is theft, and I have relatively little tolerance for it, and none at all when it's an intentional organized corporate activity.

    • Apparently no so impoverished as to be unable to afford a call center.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @07:10PM (#40104917)

      I'm going to setup a VM with a desktop showing me raping Shiva, shooting and dismembering a cow while holding the Pakistani flag and taking a shit on a set of cricket stumps. The audio would be interesting.

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth ( 2370816 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:35PM (#40104161)

    Hardly surprising their tech know-how was stone-age. If they were actually competent, they wouldn't be running some lame over-the-phone scam like this. They would either be working a legitimate job or running a large-scale botnet somewhere. The vast majority of criminals are stupid, because smart people either don't get into crime or don't do low-level crap like this.

    • by oxdas ( 2447598 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:51PM (#40104325)

      There are much better outlets for exceptional scammers and thieves; politics and wall street seem popular right now.

    • What was the point of destroying the Windows install by erasing services? That makes no sense because, even if they did manage to sell the customer on the product, they'd never be able to recover the machine.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Their goal is to sell the "product", not recover the machine. As soon as they have the victim's money, their job is finished.

      • They got to a safe mode command prompt. They should be able to (maybe?) run msconfig from the command prompt and re-enable everything. This would, admittedly, look pretty funny, after having just disabled it due to "malware."
  • Happened just the other day. They didn't claim to be from Microsoft, though. I asked the caller what OS was on my computer, and she said "Either XP or 7". I don't have any Windows systems in my house, and the call was interrupting something else I wanted to do, so I just said "Wrong!" and hung up.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:54PM (#40104357) Homepage

      Now see this would be fun, fire up a VM with Ubuntu 11 on it and let them have a go.

      Or better yet, a windows Skinned XFCE. it looks right but nothing is right......

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @06:39PM (#40104705)

        I had a call from these guys once.

        I set up a new user account in Ubuntu, and then ran the remote access software they asked me to download in Wine.
        The remote software sort of started to work, and connected to something their end, but didn't work enough to give any desktop access.
        I was running wireshark too, so could see which IP addresses it was talking to.

        So, I just kept babbling stuff, and pretending I did not know how to set up the remote access software properly. Then I started dropping hints about 'the base firewall' and 'asking the officer on duty' to make it seem like I was on a militery base. Then I said that the commander of the computer section wanted to talk the them, and the phone went dead.

    • by jamesh ( 87723 )

      Me too, only i do have windows. I played dumb for a bit - she asked me to open event viewer and look for any warning or error messages (there always are) which would indicate my computer was infected. I told her there were none. We went around in circles for ages with her getting me to re-open event viewer, scroll down, etc, to find this "proof" that my computer was infected. After a while she started asking every few minutes if I still wanted to continue the call. Eventually I told her i'm bored of this an

    • I think a good tactic is to do what this guy did or something similar. Waste as much of their time as you can because they're not going to make any money off of you and the longer you tie them up the less profitable they are.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 25, 2012 @02:42AM (#40106999)

      My Mum, continously gets these... One day when I was at her house, she got a call... This is when the fun began... The call goes as follows.

      Indian Woman: Hello I am calling from Windows. We have seen that your pc has a virus. We would like to remove the virus from Microsoft.
      My Mum: I don't understand my computer is fine. Where are you calling from?
      Indian Woman: I am calling from Windows. Our software has informed us that you have a virus, and needs to be removed?
      My Mum: I'm just going to put someone else on the phone.
      Indian Woman: OK
      My Mum: *passes phone to me
      Me: *mash 6 random phone buttons.* Hello Madam, you have fallen into a continuously monitored phone number. You have made so many calls pretending to represent Microsoft falsly, that we at Microsoft are now starting to monitor these calls, and have provided a service to record and trace calls.
      Indian Woman: I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG! (screamed)
      Me: Never the less madam you have twice used our trademarked name Windows. and presented yourself as an employee of Microsoft. Therefore you are breaching various trademark rules and copyright rules. In addition you are liable in the uk for libel as the calls are being recorded.
      Indian Woman: I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG!!! (screamed even louder in a higher pitched voice)
      Me: Never the less you have broken the law. These calls are being recorded, and you have been on the call for a long enough period now for our technical team to have traced the call back to your place of operations. The Indian police should be contacting you within the next few days. To assist them with our joint operations to stop this scam.
      Indian Woman: I HAVE DONE NOTHING WRONG!!! (now shouted in such a pitch that it hurt my ears)
      Phone: click duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu .

  • What I do (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mortimer82 ( 746766 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:43PM (#40104259)

    I say "Okay, hold on a moment please." I then leave the phone call active, put the phone on my desk or something and do something else until they get bored.

    • Re:What I do (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:52PM (#40104329) Journal

      I do that, except I'll go back every couple minutes or so and say .. can you hold on, I really want to talk to you, but I have to finish this one thing ..

      I keep a log of how long they will hang on ... the current record, for some insurance company, was nearly 35 minutes before they hung up. They did call back three time afterwards ... but didn't hold on much more than a couple minutes.

      My goal, keep them online, but not making a sale for as long as I can. If everyone took 30 minutes for each of these sales type calls and never actually buying, then they would stop calling, as the profit margins would sink.

      • by jamesh ( 87723 )

        "Hang on, I just need to find my credit card" will get them waiting for longer.

      • Re:What I do (Score:5, Interesting)

        by The Mister Purple ( 2525152 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @06:10PM (#40104495) Homepage

        I once worked for a place that was going through a bankruptcy. Even though all creditors had theoretically been dealt with, there were still a couple collection agencies that chose to not understand that. Because I'm not intimidated by veiled lawsuit threats (or unveiled ones, for that matter), I wound up being "the guy who screens calls". I got quite good at stalling, getting "interrupted" and generally dragging out calls. This eliminated most of the collection calls with a couple of weeks of this treatment. However, there was one collector who, despite getting worked into a frothing rage on a regular basis, kept calling. Eventually, after he had raged for a bit and was catching his breath (I like to think I shortened his life by several years), I explained my tactics to him. At first, he didn't get it, but after I explained that I knew about call time metrics and that I was messing his up on purpose, he REALLY freaked out. After another 5 minutes or so, I pointed out that keeping on the line with me wasn't improving his numbers. He never called back after that.

        Just remember: at a certain point, they aren't wasting your time - they are wasting their own time and amusing you in the process.

        • Re:What I do (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @07:04PM (#40104879)

          One time the woman wouldn't take no for an answer.

          "Listen, do you get paid by the hour or by the call?"

          "By the call."

          "So I've told you I'm not interested, why waste your time? Hang up and move on."

          "Well, I..." *lightbulb on sound* "Good night, sir."

      • by dasunt ( 249686 )

        My goal, keep them online, but not making a sale for as long as I can. If everyone took 30 minutes for each of these sales type calls and never actually buying, then they would stop calling, as the profit margins would sink.

        Or we'd see telemarketers being the driving force behind a Turing-test-passing AI


      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2012 @06:40PM (#40104711)

        Time kept on line:
            2 days ago: 53 mins
            months ago: 1hr 47mins

        Useful lines ...
            "I've got my credit card and I really need your help"
            "yeah, I think it has a virus ... it takes literally 10mins to boot" (make 'em wait 10mins)
            "oh, you meant the PC, not the Mac, hold on" ... 10mins
            "The screen has gone blue and it's crashed... I'll reboot" ... 10mins
            "Someone's at the door, I'll be back" ... 5 mins
            "My wife turned it off while I was downstairs, sorry" ... 10mins
            "I bought a ferrari last week, I got a yellow one. Do you like ferraris"...5 mins
            "What's your job? I break legs for a living" (at this point they got suspicious)

      • Re:What I do (Score:4, Interesting)

        by houghi ( 78078 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @07:02PM (#40104865)
  • And the fix is easy (Score:5, Informative)

    by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:46PM (#40104277) Homepage

    Reboot the PC. Just after POST (power on self test), tap the F8 key once a second to invoke Windows boot options. Choose "Safe Mode". Click the Start button and type in MSCONFIG. Select "Normal Startup" under the General tab. Reboot again and all should be well. Assuming you didn't provide CC info or let them install any other application.

    I'd love to know what public IP they're hiding behind.

  • by whisper_jeff ( 680366 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @05:56PM (#40104375)

    I've been called by these morons five (yes, FIVE) times so far. Lately, they've taken to calling me at 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. Now, getting a call from a scammer is annoying - getting a call from a scammer in the middle of the night when you're sound asleep makes you want to stab someone in the throat. Or maybe that's just me...

    I hope these pricks die in a fire.

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @06:01PM (#40104423) Homepage

    I had one of these guys on the line a while back. Coincidentally while I was fixing some issues with the PC at my computer-illiterate parents' house. Apparently they called a few times before but they only spoke english (with a very heavy indian accent) and my dad wouldn't even know how to order a beer in english, so their "conversations" ended without any harm done.

    They directed me to try all different kinds of command line tools that would display long lists of errors (which is was supposed to do on a healthy system). I checked everything he told me to do by first searching on google and within a few minutes I got to a webpage detailing the phone script the scammers were using.

    Oddly enough I told him that I was checking everything on Google first and even told him I found this website, but we still went on for nearly 15 minutes or so (he was paying for the phone bill, I could see no harm in making it expensive). I kept asking him questions and calling him out on his lies (literally calling it lies), but still he kept going. At some point it was all some morbid curiosity trip for me, eager to find out how far this could possibly go. He even kept talking after I told him I had enough fun and was going to hang up. I can't quite understand why he kept wasting so much of his time when I identified him as a scammer after the first two minutes and told him so.

    I can understand how they could fool a less informed computer user though.

  • I recorded one (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Barryke ( 772876 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @06:32PM (#40104655) Homepage

    Three months ago i got a similar call, recorded the conversation (me playing the silly user and him trying to scam me) and forgot to put it online.

    So here it is slashdot, i created this page just for you: []

    (click the AMR file, its the original file my Android phone recorded and 10x smaller)

    • Re:I recorded one (Score:5, Informative)

      by anilg ( 961244 ) on Friday May 25, 2012 @07:30AM (#40107847)


      It's funnier to me because you probaby did not catch him swearing in hindi. At around 17:32 he goes "madarchod have you put the dot", which transates to "Motherf**ker have you put the dot", and you go "Dot, yes".

      Then at 19:28 he goes "kahan se ... behenchod" which is roughly "Where did this sisterf**ker come from?".

      And then the end was epic! A++ would hear more recorded conversations

  • by Teppy ( 105859 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @06:33PM (#40104665) Homepage
    I have a rule for dealing with telemarketers - if they admit they're telemarketing right away, I'll nicely tell them I'm not interested. If they lie, then anything goes. Here's what happened to someone that called me from a "security company:"

    Her: Is the business owner there?
    Me: Are you telemarketing?
    Her: No.
    Me: Ok, this is the owner, how can I help you?
    Her: Are you aware of the security threats faced by businesses that use the internet?
    Me: Oh, yes, I'm well aware of threats. There are all sorts of threats when you're in business.
    Her: Does your business use PCs?
    Me: Security is a big problem, lawsuits.
    Her: Ok, well, we offer a comprehensive...
    Me: Because you know, you can be sued for all sorts of things. Employers can be sued by their employees. Business owners have to be very careful.
    Her: (Trying to get back to her script) Yes, I'm aware of that. Well anyway, if your business is one of the millions...
    Me: For instance, sexual harassment lawsuits, those are a huge concern if you're in business.
    Her: I don't think that's ...
    Me: Do you realize that people can sue their employer for harassment just because they receive unwanted sexual advances while at work?
    Her: No, I didn't, but...
    Me: (whispering) So... what are you wearing?
    • by gman003 ( 1693318 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @08:46PM (#40105427)

      Oh, I do this all the time to political surveys. Started out just re-using some Monty Python bits ("I believe America should be an anarcho-syndicalist commune...")

      I'm pretty sure the Republicans' database lists me as a registered Communist and practicing Norse pagan who believes gay marriage should be mandatory, thinks abortion should be illegal "except for ugly chicks like Hillary", supports using nuclear weapons to secure the Canadian border, watches exclusively Fox News, and has voted for Ron Paul in every election since '92. They seem to have caught on - they haven't called at all since 2010 or so.

      If the Democrats ever call, I'm telling them I'm a monarchist, an ordained Coptic Orthodox deacon, and a veteran of the Third Punic War. I may even claim responsibility for the assassination of William McKinley.

  • by Necronomicode ( 859935 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @06:44PM (#40104739)

    I've had numerous calls like this. I've taken a number of different stances on dealing with it. On the last one I didn't really have the time or patience so it went like this:-
    Them: "Sir, we are ringing you about the errors on your computer".
    Me: "Oh, this scam again, trying to get money from people that don't know any better. I don't know how you get away with it, you should be ashamed or yourselves, ashamed!"
    Them: "Brrrrrrr....".

    Quickest hang up yet. Felt kinda sorry for the poor woman reading the script but if you're gonna work for 'Evil Inc.' then that's what you get.

    Other good tactics:
    "Oh, I'm out of work, actually could you lend me fifty quid?"
    "This is GCHQ madam, the UK government security center - it is a criminal offence to have access to our secure servers. Are you a terrorist?"
    "On mondays my papa sings my happy song, huh, huh, huh"

    Since they have a script maybe we should make one for us, just to see how they like it :-)

    • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @07:09PM (#40104907)

      One time I got a call from a guy trying to sell a travel service. I try to be polite, since my wife did telemarketing to get through school.

      "How often do you travel?"

      "I can not leave the country at this time."

      "Uh, okay, what about your family, kids?"

      "They are quite young, so they wouldn't travel without a parent."

      "Okay, what about your wife?"

      "I have been advised by my lawyer not to answer any questions about the whereabouts of my wife."



      "You, uh, you have a good night sir."

  • Most of them know better than to say actual company names so they usually start with something like:

    "Hello, Sir, I am calling from Windows Computer..."

    Which I usually state what's windows computer, never heard of em... etc. Some of the other posts do give me more ideas. :-D

  • by epp_b ( 944299 ) on Thursday May 24, 2012 @08:22PM (#40105341)
    I've gotten a few of these calls. Some idiot with a foreign accent claiming to be "from Windows" (seriously, those were their words).

    My mom gotten them too; she immediately hangs up the phone. One of the scammers actually the gall to call her not two seconds later to scold her that hanging up the phone was rude!

    I have a similar idea to this guy, except I'd make a little more fun, though I wasn't sure it would work until now. I'm delighted to see that they use a remote control program. My plan is to let them into a sandboxed VM where I'll have prepared a webpage that launches 500 goatse popups or something. I'll record my session, too, but, uh ... just the phone call ;)

    I can't wait to get another one of these calls.

    *rubs hands together with an evil grin*

Order and simplification are the first steps toward mastery of a subject -- the actual enemy is the unknown. -- Thomas Mann