A Common Computer Fraud
I just received a scam phone call, and I want to warn you so you don't fall for it. The scammer pretends to be from Microsoft or some other legitimate company to trick you.
Even if you wouldn't be fooled, please warn friends and relatives (especially elderly ones) who might not be aware of scams like this. Victims of this fraud could suffer anything from identity theft to having their computer hijacked and used to send spam or viruses without their knowledge.
[Update 5/2012: or the scammer could bilk you out of $150 or more, see the experience of commenter LGNTexas in the guestbook at the end of this page.]
"Your Computer Has a Virus"
Here's my transcript of this scam phone call. In my case, they didn't pretend to be Microsoft, but that's the more common version of the fraud.
[Heavily-accented Indian volce]: Hello? Hello?
Me: Who's calling, please?
Him: IT Solutions. We are calling to warn you that your computer has been infected with a virus.
Me: My computer has a virus, eh?
Him: Yes, your computer has a virus.
Me: Where did you say you were calling from?
Him: IT Solutions.
Me: No, I mean, where is your company located?
Him [after I asked several times]: The United States.
Me: Where in the United States?
Him: New York. [My caller ID showed "Bellevue, WA."]
Me: And what's your company's phone number?
Him [Says number far too fast to understand].
Me: Whoa, too fast. Please say your phone number slowly so I can understand it.
Him (after dodging the question a few more times): 717-310-3925. [My caller ID showed 425-998-1533.]
Me: You say my computer has a virus. So, what kind of computer do I have?
Him: I'm sorry?
Me: If you know my computer has a virus, then you should know what kind of computer I'm using. What kind of computer do I have?
Him: Windows NT or Windows 7. [My computer is a Mac, so there are no Windows computers in my home.]
Me: Nope. This is a scam, and I'm reporting it to the police. Goodbye!
How This Scam Steals Your Information
Actually, I didn't call the police. I called the Washington State Attorney General's office, since the call appeared to be from Washington. The operator said that the number my caller ID showed was probably fake, too. These scammers are usually off-shore and have ways to reroute the number.
She also said she had just gotten off the phone with another victim of a "your computer is infected with a virus" scam call in which the fraudster claimed to be calling from Microsoft. In that case, the victim let the phony company install malicious software on her computer.
Malicious software lets a stranger do the following over your internet connection:
- Access all information and documents stored on your computer
- Track your typing so that they can log all your passwords, credit card numbers, or anything else you type
- Monitor your purchases, your email, your web browsing
- Control your computer without your knowledge, using it to send viruses out to everyone on your email contacts list
- Lock you out of your computer and damage or erase its contents
Usually they'd rather not erase your hard drive, since it's more useful to turn your computer into a "zombie," operating or accessing it remotely without your knowledge. Huge networks of "zombie" computers are pressed into service by scam companies for all kinds of purposes! The "zombie" computer's real user cannot tell their computer is serving another master, except perhaps by the fact that the computer seems to have slowed down slightly.
Looking online, I saw more reports of people being scammed by telemarketers claiming to be calling from Microsoft with, "Your computer has been infected with a virus." I'm sure the real IT Solutions isn't connected with this scam: my telemarketer just borrowed a respectable company's name to sound more convincing.
[Update: I initially suggested just hanging up on these con artists, but a commenter below has a good suggestion: tell them that are recording the conversation for your records. In at least one case, this stopped the calls for good.]
If you've been a victim of this scam, look up your state attorney general's website and search for a "fraud report" or "consumer complaints" area. Here's some useful links below (I reported this call to both of them):
Where to Report Phone Fraud
- National Do Not Call Registry
The U.S. National Do Not Call Registry allows you to register your phone number. U.S. telemarketers are legally required to check this list; if they call numbers on it, they're liable for prosecution. Enforcement isn't great, but every bit helps.
- FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection - Consumer Information
The Federal Trade Commission doesn't resolve individual consumer complaints, but if there's enough reports of the same fraud, they may be able to go after the scam and shut it down.
What If They Put a Virus on My Computer?
- How to Remove Malware From Your Windows PC | PCWorld
I am NOT a Windows user, so unfortunately I don't know how to clear out viruses and spyware on a PC. This article from PCWorld looks like an excellent guide; I hope it helps!
- Got a Computer Virus? Here's What to Do (and Not Do)
Here's another good guide, and the "What NOT to do" tips are worth checking. If it were my PC, I'd take it to a repair shop I trusted (assuming there is such a shop) to let an expert check it over.
Jamie jay1 on July 30, 2018:
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Daniel on April 19, 2018:
msn get up off your dead back sides and let your subscribers know about these schemes???That would be smart???
Barbara on August 10, 2017:
I get these calls from so called Microsoft Technicians almost every day. They tell me my computer has an abscess several viruses. I asked them to leave me alone and they get angry. They were just begging to get inside my computer. I know it's been hacked because they were able to give me the registration number to my computer. I've tried everything to get them to leave me alone but they won't take no for an answer. My number is also blocked but the calls keep coming. The odd thing is that I asked him his name and he gave me an American name but had a thick accent. I asked him why and he said he is South African, he was adopted when he was a baby. I went to add a call and tried his number and of course it was not a good number and it was blocked. I asked his real number and he hung up. He waited a few minutes and called me back but I'm not answering anymore. These people are Criminals and they want to steal all they can from your stored, private files on your computer.
Craig from Texas USA on July 07, 2016:
Someone called me with a similar scam a few days ago. It was a Robo Call and they said they were from Microsoft and that my Windows license had expired and it was an "emergency" and all my email and everything would stop working.
Of course I hung up, but I found it disturbing. I bet some people are fooled by this.
usmansheikh on December 03, 2015:
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maria on June 04, 2015:
I got a call from 0118507859004 saying she was from Microsoft and my computer was sending messages about viruses I cursed her out and hung up
Johnny Telephone on March 10, 2015:
Too much time on your hands.
Geri Spurlock on January 14, 2015:
This E. Indian sounding guy says "you have paid $199.00 to Microsoft to repair your Computer. It has issues that cannot be repaired at this time and therefore we are refunding your money". From there he wanted my online banking info "because the money will be put directly into your checking account" Fortuneately, I was unconfortable with giving that info and hung up. This "REFUND" is all about getting your bank info.
billa on September 29, 2014:
i got curious a bout a call i received about this.. and wanted to see if others had it happen to them... my experience went like this..
after getting pop up warnings , supposedly Microsoft telling me my computer was infected..
evidently there is a computerized version of the scam and has been for a while.. a few days later i then got the phone call..
a woman supposedly form Microsoft, speaking extremely good English for a foreigner..
insisting that i had a virus.. naturally i asked what kind of virus and what's the name..
her response, sir if you turn on your computer.... what your registration number sir??
mm seeing i registered that info and your positive its form my computer you should all ready have that information on you computer siting in front of you.. dead silents for a good 20 second's
then a man got on the line and started to go back in to the you have virus.. and around we went again,,
firing off the same round of questions at them.. and them trying to talk over me..they were very persistent..
it was very unsettling and the tone hostile in the end when they became frustrated..after a bout 10 minutes of wasting..their time
i finally fired off the last nail.. i have 3 computers witch one is it?.. what's the serial number your supposed keep that on record correct???
hello?? .. hello???
they hung up..
Commonsensethink on September 18, 2014:
I am a British national living in Germany. This morning we received this same call from an international telephone number beginning 0051 (Peru!) from a woman who sounded Chinese! As I have spent the best part of 30 years working as an IT specialist, I dismissed the call immediately (I check for viruses with different tools a minimum of 3 times a week, I don't need advice from strangers on this subject). My only concern is that we have an ex-directory telephone number, and I would be interested to know where they got the number!
Snakesmum on September 14, 2014:
We have that scam here in Australian, but recently they seem to have moved on to another scenario. They claim to be from the IT dept. of Telstra, an ISP company, and tell us there is a virus on our PC which is causing problems to the Telstra servers so they will be shutting down our service in XX hours. (it varies)
Depending on my mood, I go along with it, play with them, or tell them it's a scam and hang up.
digger64 on August 26, 2014:
They are still out there and reproducing. Fred Curl just called me from 8552649273. Same Old Stuff
Jeff on July 24, 2014:
Just played along with one of these, who claimed to be from Microsoft calling because my computer reported to them that it's infected with errors. When I asked how they got my number, he said it's registered with my computer. Pretty sure I didn't register my number with this computer, but honestly can't remember for sure...beside the point...I knew it was a scam from the beginning. A couple sentences in, he asks me for my computer's serial number & tried to get me to open the command prompt & enter a command. I played along for a little while because I thought it was fun & I really wanted to know the answers to my questions. Makes me mad that people would do this.
Nancy on July 08, 2014:
I read many post in the net about phone scam. Better to be careful.
Vernon on June 30, 2014:
There's another variation coming up, just got the call from "PC Speedy"...
RWP on June 26, 2014:
I got a similar call. Had some time, so I thought I'd play. Kept them on the line for about 15 minutes. They tried to get me to go to a site, but I kept "mishearing them" - p's, bs, t's , and d's sound a lot alike, after all. Once I'd had them on enough, I informed them that I work in telecommunications, and that because of previous scams, I'd traced the packets on their call (made up some other technobabble, which I'm pretty good at), and informed the authorities. If they'd be so good to stay on the line, I'd be able to hear the knock on the door in a few minutes when the authorities got to their place.
Silence, followed by sputtering, followed by threats of dire things to be done to my family. Followed by me laughing and hanging up.
Maryann on May 10, 2014:
We just received this call, same stupid line - your computer is infected, etc. I played along for a little just to see how far they were going and then said, do you really think I'm that stupid! This really pisses me off!
kimmy on April 28, 2014:
I get these calls regularly, I just tell them I don't have a computer and they hang up on me lol
Daniel Bostick on April 21, 2014:
I have a CompTIA A+ certification and I just got a call from the same guy 3 times in 5 minutes. It was pretty funny how he kept insisting that my computer was infected with Junk Files...not viruses but Junk Files. I kept asking what he was talking about because I couldn't believe that said something that stupid. And I agree with dave61430 about CNET, I tend to use bleepingcomputer over CNET.
RP on April 02, 2014:
I received the call just today from a lady claiming to be a Windows rep. When I asked why Microsoft was calling she immediately replied she was not Microsoft but Windows which was a separate manufacturer. That was the trigger to immediately end the call and tell them not to call back. Microsoft support never calls unless you have contacted them at which time you will get a case number and they will only call back at your request. I wish these people would get a taste of their medicine and even spend some major jail time.
Kevin on April 02, 2014:
My Father just fell for the scam and then called me to check it out as he said he will be calling back tomorrow and he wanted to talk with his son first, after my Father already let the HARD to Understand India Sounding Tech Fake access his computer.
I told him it was too late. He is in computer, he left it on 5 hrs since the call he thought legit cause he printed out a virus statement from his Anti Virus on his printer....for validation.
I am not sure if they can get to his accounts, but he said he did check his bank account after the call and all was okay. I told him to GET OFF THE COMPUTER, SHUT IT DOWN, SEE A TECH Tomorrow, Check his banks alert them, and check other computer devices connected to same network and check CARBONITE since he uses that for AUTO BACK UP.
I am so mad these criminals prey on my elderly parents.
DLK on March 26, 2014:
I just got a call a little while ago - actually several. The connection was bad on the first call so it was hard to make out what the guy was saying except that my computer had some sort of dangerous virus. I thought he was probably going to ask for personal information so he could fix the problem and I told him I was not interested. The guy wouldn't take "no" for an answer. I finally told him I was not interested and hung up. He called back insisting that it was very important that I fix the problem. Long story short, he called back a couple more times (a total of 4 I believe) telling me how important it was and why did I not wish to repair my computer? I told him I was not going to do anything based on a call someone made to me, that I could not identify - and if I needed to repair it I would get protection software or take it to the store where I bought it. All the while he was talking over me and refusing to listen, and being entirely TOO insistent, if you ask me. Finally I hung up and told everyone not to answer the phone for a while if it rang again.
Camille Gan on March 22, 2014:
Just got a call a few minutes ago from some lady claiming from microsoft with a heavy accent. Lots of background noise. She said that "oh our computer has been sending out signals that there are a lot of junk files". Fell for it at first but then she told me to go on this page with some "remote pc software". Yeah, like MS would do that.
They hung up after 2 minutes when I only replied with "I don't know" to all of their questions.
HateScammers on March 21, 2014:
The indian guy called me, the first time i hung up, the second time i didn't even answer. And i went on google and searched this up and wow, *surprise* i find out it's a scammer. Good thing the bastard didn't get too far. They're scammers don't even pick up the phone if u see the caller id has a fake number.
SnugglesMum on March 16, 2014:
The first time I was called I had no idea, so asked a friend & was told it was a scam. Told them (when they called back) that I had reported them to the Cyber Crimes Unit in Australia. They then phoned me approx. every 20 minutes for 2 hours telling me how they were going to come to my house (they knew my address) and belt me up & rape me & even went so far as to tell me how many of his cousins were going to be with him. They were not Indian, but some other foreign speaking nationality. Australian police and other authorities couldn't give a shit - although I did tell the police they may change their views when I phoned them to say I had dead bodies in my house as I had used my hubby's (legal) shotgun. They were not amused & told me I didn't have the right attitude (there's a correct one????). I am also on the 'Do Not Call Register' - another thing the authorities don't give a shit about pursuing. Last time they phoned I told them I didn't appreciate being threatened like the first time.. dumb woman hung up on me. Next time I won't have a computer, as it's against my religion & ask them for personal details so I can send them information that will save their immortal souls.
Tom on March 10, 2014:
I got the same phone call this morning, the guy had a very thick indian accent and told me that my computed was infected with a very dangerous corrupt piece of software that my antivirus would not block . Of course I knew immediately this was a scam because :
1) Microsoft or whatever company he claimed to represent would never address its customers in English in my country (France)
2) All my computers are running Linux
Just out of curiosity I played ball for a little while to see how far he would go, and I found his alarmist speech to be completely laughable.
ddrcdt83 on March 06, 2014:
I just had a call today, caller ID # 1 000 000 000, I have caller ID for a reason, I don't answer numbers I don't recognize, someone claiming to be with Microsoft Windows Tech Support, informed me that my registered computer (my computer is so not registered with Microsoft, its a Mac) has been sending error reports to their Tech division and if I didn't follow his directions and do something quickly my computer was likely to crash. Yeah ok... I played along for a while feeling quite certain this was a scam, asking lots of questions, pretending not to know how to do what he wanted. When he directed me to a web address, inextsupport.com so he could access my computer remotely, I googled it instead and found warnings upon warnings about this scam. So glad I listened to my gut about this, it just seemed sketchy from the start. I kept him on the line for a while pretending not to be able to get to the website, while I filed a report with the FTC and shared a warning about the scam with all my facebook friends, then informed him of what I had just done and that I would be filing a report with the police and not to call me again before I hung up. Scum!! UGH!!
Bob on March 05, 2014:
I was just called today and this heavy accent lady was telling me there was a virus. She said that it was infected and to press the start button, I was like: My computer isn't even on. She kept saying the whole thing over and over. I asked her for the address and the phone she was calling and they were completely wrong and she told me that she was talking to some guy named(I forgot the name) I told her that this was all wrong. After about a minute of fighting I just hung up. The first thing she said was that she was from Microsoft then later I asked again and she said she worked for a company called Mr. Tech. Do NOT fall for these scams.
Katie Armstrong from Lincoln, Nebraska on February 28, 2014:
When I got this call, I told the guy all the computers in my house run Linux. It took him five minutes to convince him that, if I'm running Linux, I have no need for his fake Microsoft tech support, because I wouldn't have any viruses--let alone viruses that my non-existent Windows error report system would be alerting him about.
Sadly, I've never gotten a call back. I had to give all of my brilliant ideas for pranking the fake Microsoft guys to my friends and family, but I don't think any of them have been called yet, either.
jack on February 25, 2014:
I just got the call ..from the unintelligible East Indian.
Told him my computer wasn't on..and I wasn't interested.I hung up!
Got suspicious when he told me he was from 'Microsoft' They don't
carry out such base activities. Lucky for him I left unsaid what I was really thinking.....
Tre on February 24, 2014:
I live with my grandmother and she received a call like this today, except the phone number came up ad 000-000-0000 (the first give away). She's in her 70's and the laptop belongs to her deceased daughter, I just use it every once in a while. You know how the elderly are (they believe anything) so the last thing I was going to do was let a dumbass scammer ruin my computer privileges.
He had a thick Indian accent and kept trying to convince me that he was from Microsoft technical support in Nevada. After getting frustrated with his failed attempts of getting us to believe him, I decided to ask for his name, number, and company address and I would call a legitimate Microsoft number to verify what he was telling me. If it came back legit, I would've gladly called back and completed the process. He didn't give me the info I asked for, and kept trying to convince me of some deadly internet virus that even my anti-virus couldn't stop and millions of computers were leaking info because of it (yea right). If this was really true, it would be all over the news, google, etc. Long story short, he got pissed off at me and told me "if I didn't want to follow his directions to protect my computer, then I can go to hell." Lol, not professional at all! Please people, DO NOT BELIEVE THIS CRAP! IF THEY CAN'T PROVIDE THEIR NAME, CALL BACK #, AND COMPANY ADDRESS SO YOU CAN MAKE A VERIFICATION WITH MICROSOFT'S REAL CUSTOMER SUPPORT REPRESENTATIVES DO NOT FALL FOR IT!
Riza on February 24, 2014:
I got the "microsoft" call and on the caller I.D. was 000-000-0000. Really? Nobody has that phone number. I knew instantly they were scammers and I told them that was the number on the caller I. D. and told them I know they're scammers and not to call again and hung up.
Randy on February 20, 2014:
The Indian scammers have called twice in the last wo days. My approach in dealing with them is to waste their time as I watch TV or play my favorite computer game. Wasting their time is the only way to make their scam less profitable.
MacFan on February 19, 2014:
Sounds like this scam is still going strong. We just got a call from "Microsoft" stating that the PC had a virus and would be crashing soon. Didn't fall for it but it was a good reminder to run the virus software and it found a Trojan.
MRS on February 11, 2014:
This just happened to my father in Kansas. The number that showed up was 661-476-3070. I'm sure they just bump numbers all around because I can't find much on this number online. He fell for this of course. I suppose we will either have the computer checked or just trash it. Hopefully his identity is safe.
Susan on February 08, 2014:
I get so frustrated with these calls, I decided I was going to turn the tables and may as well get a laugh. I asked him who he worked for and he said Microsoft. My reply... Oh that is funny, I work for Microsoft and have not heard of you...lol. Right away he said he had a wrong number and was gone! Lol. They pretty much consistently call 1 to 2 times a week.
Orlando on February 07, 2014:
I just got a call with no caller Id. The guy has a thick accent similar to Indian accent. Says he is from New York and was ready to give his number. I asked him not to call again and I don't have any computer at home.
Barb Gerhard from Chilliwack, British Columbia on January 31, 2014:
I just received a call from an indian man claiming I had a very dangerous malisous virus in my computer that was coming directly from the internet, and I said that I have Norton security, and I haven't noticed any problems,
He said Norton can't detect this virus, its coming staight from the internet, i thought hmmmm, don't all viruses come from the net?
so I said, I'd take it in to the future shop and have the technisons look at it he said they wouldn't be able to detect it, so anyway I said I'll have someone I know look at it, and hung up. what does he think I'am, born yesterday?? lol
laxxcoach on January 31, 2014:
My wife just got a call, but it came in with a private number. Would like to report it but not having a number to trace it I think would make it impossible.
Choijiyoon on January 28, 2014:
"Wait, a program called 'United States department of defense cyber security' just popped up."
Caller hangs up.
Do not answer on January 23, 2014:
Yes I receive a call just like the one above but the person calling was a woman with a heavy accent, She said she was calling from microsoft in washington saying that my computer has been sending reports to them of virus. But I already knew it was someone who was trying to scam. I even ask her what was my name and she reply my name or my parents and I said both and She started a new conversation by saying that it was very important for me to fix this problem so then I said I was going to turn on my PC and I hang up.
anonymous on January 22, 2014:
I just got the same call a few minutes ago.
I just hung up.. a lil sketchy since it's past 9 pm
Matt on January 18, 2014:
I have a rather extensive knowledge of computing systems from being in IT for many years (decades) and I have a limited amount of patient for scams but this time I said enough. After the 5th time being called by an unknown number and being asked the same question "Did you know your windows computer updates are not working?" that I decided to play for a while. I was able to talk to the same person for over an hour while he tried his best to phonetically spell the hacked version of a legit web site. I even let him see a desktop (briefly) since there was no harm in playing on a very old and controlled virtual host I keep for this purpose. During his call "Kevin" (not his real name I am sure) had to listen to my kids, including taking one to the potty. At no time did I tell him a lie but I do feel a little bad about misleading him. (Ok not so bad it will stick). The person waited while the host computer went through a number of real "reboots" and slow startups as the machine was a VM with very low memory and an outdated OS. I even asked questions about his religion of which he did not answer and they were generic such as "Do you go to church or have a specific religion". After over an hour of wasting his time, because I had nothing better to do, I told him that there was no reason for continuing the call since I had no intention of letting him gain access to a real system. Clearly he has my phone number because he called me at least four times due to wireless drops not all due to the carrier since he hung up once on me. At about 90 minutes I stated the system he saw was a VM and it would be scrapped that I would find him and have the proper authorities arrest him for trying to scam me. It was at this time he made mention of "911" and boy was he mad. In my job I talk to people in just about every time zone and I really appreciated them regardless of whether the country is India, Poland or Australia but if you are a scammer and I have time please by all means call me because the time you waste on me is time someone else gets a pass.
Barb on January 16, 2014:
I just got a call ~ they called the WRONG person! I outscammed the scammer because I was on to him from the start.
Ellen (author) from California on January 14, 2014:
Considering that this page gets 2500-3000 visitors a DAY -- which means there are at least that many victims looking it up online, probably many more that never look it up online or never land on my page -- I think this scam must be making tens of thousands of calls every day. I suppose it's multiple groups each employing the same basic scam blueprint.
The mind boggles. SO MANY.
Which means we had better warn every one we know. :/
Ellen (author) from California on January 14, 2014:
Oh, that's a good one.
dave on January 14, 2014:
just had the same call number was 007038093482 said he was with isecure vap he said his mane was francies, l told him to F___ off
Kimberly Finlaw on January 13, 2014:
I have had 5 calls in 3 days now from 234-567-89 this is a new number. Today I had the time to have some fun with them...a guy with a heavy Indian accent, I told him I could not understand him with his accent so he put another guy on but not as much of an accent. He told me he was from Mic. Soft and my pc was sending out error messages. I then said "Oh really that is funny, why would you call this number when it has nothing to do with the home pc? Our internet is hooked up in my husband name and phone number so if there was a problem then the call should of gone to his phone and not mine." When ever I took a breath they kept saying "Mam I am from Mic. Soft." I cut them off and kept going on with what I was saying. "I know this is a scam and I am not some dumb ass you can scam so quit calling me." I then hung up.
I think next time I will just have some fun with them even ask for a date LOL. I will post this site on my FB page and let all my friends know about it....... I get calls all the time from scammers.
Victoria Van Ness from Fountain, CO on January 10, 2014:
This is definitely not the first time I've heard about this. I'm so glad that someone is spreading the word and letting others know about this horrible scam. Great article! Nice job!
Colby Simpson on January 09, 2014:
Yes, this happened to my Granpa's computer. This same sceneario happened. He had just got a computer and he didn't know so he bought into it and they scammers put the FBI Money Pak Virus onto his computer and i had to remove it. When you boot up the computer you have to put it into safe mode and locate the virus and delete it. I can make a HubPage on how to remove his virus at home if anybody needs me to. The phonenumber the scammer gave my grandpa was from the otherside of the country than from where he said he was. I was ammsued at how amazingly stupid these hackers are. The whole FBI MoneyPak deal wanted you give tthem money and send it through a Walmart, Walgrees, CVS, etc. giftcard. Why in the world would the FBI want a giftcard from Walmart or etc. It's amazing how stupid people think we are. Last week when I was at my other grandma's house she got a phone call and I heard her say,
"I don't have a virus on my computer". So I grabbed the phone and had a little talk with the little jokers. It's really amusing how dumb they are on the phone, they can hack our PC's but they can't carry on a decent phone conversation.
Janie Wernert on January 09, 2014:
I just got a call and he sounded from India. He was really hard to understand. He said my computer was not acting right. I told him that it was not on and I had not used it in months. I use my iPhone and iPad to get on the internet. He wanted me to turn it on and he would help me fix it. I said no and then he hung up on me.
Rebecca Mealey from Northeastern Georgia, USA on January 09, 2014:
Very Interesting. Thanks for the heads up, and shared.
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on January 09, 2014:
BTW - my other favorite way of handling them is to sound old and feeble (not that difficult these days), and start asking what kind of virus I have, and what sort of doctor I should see.
James Richton from USA on January 09, 2014:
I freaking hate scam. They are doing all they can to mess my computer up.
Marcy Goodfleisch from Planet Earth on January 09, 2014:
I've had these calls at least twice. They always speak with a thick accent & claim to have a very USA-sounding name. I like to string them along for a while (I don't even tell them I'm on a Mac), and if possible, play a siren-sounding ringtone into the receiver.
alycalideli on January 08, 2014:
They literally just called me about 10 minutes ago. I knew it was a scam since calling at 9:30 at night just seems sketchy for a "legitimate" IT company - as they claimed to be. There was heavy background noise, and they guy on the phone had a HEAVY Indian accent. I let the guy talk and asked him a few questions. Here is a quick synopsis of the condo:
ME: Hi, what company did you say you're from?
scammer: Hi ma'am I'm from IT. There is a virus on your computer.
ME: Oh ok. And how did you know that there is a virus?
Scammer: Yes, ok. I need your serial number.
ME: …um.. ok. But how did you know that there was a virus?
scammer: Yes ma'am. you have a virus. you just need to boot your computer ma'am.
ME: oh ok, sure no problem. Which computer has the virus? I have four in the house.
Scammer: yes ma'am. Any computer.
ME: …But i thought only one computer had a virus.. so wouldn't i need to reboot that specific computer. I'm sorry, could you tell me where your business is located?
Scammer: yes ma'am. We are from (mumbles quickly) California city.
ME: and what is your number? (after about 5 times of me asking for his number he finally gave it to me)
ME: OK. Your missing a number sir. You need 10 numbers. Also you mentioned you were from california city? But california is a state, so what city are you from?
Scammer: united states ma'am.
ME: No what city?
Scammer: *hangs up*
found the whole thing a little amusing.
MoxieSammie on January 08, 2014:
Just got the same call. Assumed scam from onset, but let him talk, asked him (he had heavy Indian accent with a lot of background noise) how he knew there was an issue, and was very unclear in his response. So I said, as requested, "ok, i rebooted my computer" (it wasn't on) and he started instructing me to do stuff…I just hung up. He called back 3 times….I have a Mac also by the way, so none of what he said made sense...
Pam Decker Roth on January 07, 2014:
They have called me before and it is fun to mess with them..today when they called I was busy so I let the guy yammer on for a few min.Then said in a very calm voice..does your mother know what you do for a living? Taking advantage of the elderly and scamming people?Do you think you will be entered into Heaven by being a crook and a liar?He said NOTHING LOL I then told him I would pray that he grew a conscious ..He was like wait let me start over...I said good day...3 hours later he called back and I said How can it be a MS problem--I have a MAC-- he was like Oh really wow I have the wrong info...he hung up.They are idiots.
Kaziu on January 07, 2014:
Hi, thanks for positing this. I just had a similar experience 10 minutes ago. Some guy with a very heavy Indian accent called me saying: the phone number was "Out of Area 3249"
He told me that he is calling from a "Microsoft Technical Windows Support" or something like that and told me that some viruses have been upload onto my computer and that it will soon cause my computer to crash.
Note: He did not ask my name or did he give me his.
Then, I asked him "Ok, which computer are you referring to? And he asked "How many computers is there in your household?" I said 4, because we own 4 Microsoft computers. He asked me "So I understand you are a owner of all 4, is that correct?" I said "No, just one, so which one is the infected one?" And then he said "Your own personal computer"
I had a feeling this was a SCAM but this is where he got me. He called my house number and anyone could answer. My mom or my grandma and he did not ask MY NAME so how did he know "My personal computer" was infected? I told him that I have a spyware and virus protection and then he just kept talking and I told him that I don't need protection and I know what he is saying "isn't the truth" and just hung up.
I got scammed once by another Indian guy over the phone about winning some free vouchers or gift cards but you had to give your credit card info for the shipping costs.
I don't want to be racist or anything but next time a guy with an Indian accent called you and tells you his name is Bill or John or something like that, it is probably a scam.
STAY SAFE! :)
angryelf from Tennessee on December 20, 2013:
I heard about this- but never got one of the calls. It's ridiculous that scammers go to these levels.
torrilynn on December 20, 2013:
I've noticed how more and more people are being scammed all over the world. its sickening and ridiculous. thanks for this informative hub. voted up shared and pinned
Marc Master on December 12, 2013:
I just got the call from "Windows... support" I just said thank you for the call and I will run my virus protection program and hung up.
Michelle on December 07, 2013:
I've been getting these calls for weeks here in New Jersey. I have told them time after time that my husband is a LAN administrator he has even told them. When they first started calling and wouldn't explain what they wanted we would just hang up. Then we googled it and discovered all of this. I have hung up on them, screamed at them telling them not to call back. Today I actually got them to hang up on me after informing them that I knew they weren't from Microsoft, Microsoft doesn't have my phone number. That threw them off their script. Plus I would not be installing any key logger software on my computer so they may as well stop calling. I can't stop answering the phone it comes up as unavailable and I have friends overseas. This is very annoying.
Ditto in MA on December 07, 2013:
I lead them on. I knew it was a scam. I was making the beds so I had time to screw with them.
I told him I was typing exactly what he said. Eventually the guy said that I should talk to their tech expert. I hung up as they transferred the called. I figured they would think it was a line issue and call back.
When they called back I made clinking noises into the phone for a bit then hung up. Again, I figured they would believe it was a tech issue.
After a few more calls like that, I picked up the phone and spoke with them. I would dutifully type in what they told me, but drag it out with typos. Then I would say that the computer would not let me install the program they had me download.
They directed me to another site to control my PC remotely. It took many tries for me (I am bad at typing, right?)
My wife was in the room laughing. You could hear her in background, but they kept at it.
Finally, after about 25 minutes of screwing with them, I made more clicking noises, muted the call and let them wait. Eventually they clued in that I was screwing with them.
Fun time all in all. Their number was 725-2239. I hope they call back again so I can answer it "Boston Fraud Unit. This line is recorded. How may I direct your call?"
George Winston on December 06, 2013:
Just got one of these calls from an individual, sounding like he was from India and claiming to be from MS. After several pointed questions he was still claiming that he was an employee of MS. I told him I had absolutely no reason to believe him, but he persisted. He told me he could demonstrate that he knew about my computer, by reading back a unique code generated by my computer. he had me curious, so I went along with him for a while. He had me go to the CMD screen and type assoc which generated many lines of text. he had me look for a line of text at the end of the string, and was able to read back an long identifier number which he claimed was unique to my computer and proved that he was who he said he was. He applauded me for being as skeptical as he would be in this circumstance - It made my day, to get the affirmation from him. I continued to express skepticism and told him I would listen to what he said, as long as he didn't ask to access my computer. He indicated he could help me remove the malware on my computer, but the best way was to allow him to access my computer. He suggested verifying who he was by Googling his phone number. He read off an 800 number and told me exactly what I would find. The second item was a Tech support firm in NJ. I pointed out that this was not a MS listing, and that he had said he worked for MS. He then changed his position and said "No, we are THE authorized tech support for MS" I got bored and hung up. I was however impressed with how clever and persistent these scammers are becoming.
dave61430 on December 06, 2013:
Conduit is not really a virus, my name for this and other stuff like it is unwanted guest. Trouble is they can be difficult to get rid of, do a google search for specifics.
You need to be careful when you download software, most times these days a third party does the download. Look for text asking if you want to install other software and click decline. If you are offered auto install or custom, select custom.
CNET are the worst offenders, you can still use them, just be careful.
ABDUL MOQUEEM on December 04, 2013:
when i start my computer it shows there was a problem starting
c:/users/user/app data/local/conduit/back ground container/back ground container.dll
the specified module couid not be found.
it computer effects.....what to do ...pls help me....
Ellen (author) from California on December 03, 2013:
That's ironic. Most telemarketers at least who who they've called!
Andy on December 02, 2013:
Just now got a call at 6:30am guy telling my mother our computer was being hacked as they spoke but got flustered when she asked which of the three laptops was being hacked
Terry on November 30, 2013:
I get several of these calls. Finally decided to play around with them and piss them off. Got some funny audio confusing them.
jensen on November 23, 2013:
Just had the same call. Said he had my number because I registered with Microsoft and my home computer was sending 1-2k error msgs to microsoft :) I asked which computer...we have 4. He said all of them. I asked for his company name and phone # and could not understand anything he was saying.
Call # was from DC USA.
I asked him if he knew who he just called. He said yes and so I asked him to tell me my name. No idea. Commical.
Lisa on November 15, 2013:
I am an elderly disabled woman who just got her first computer, unfortunately I also got a call like the one described. I had be so confused, I did not know any of the technology terms that they were using. Thank God I realized before I went to far that this just did not sound right. I hung up and they called me back 4 times, I told them I was calling the police and to leave me alone. I am so worried they have done something to my computer. When they called me they seemed to know that it had been saying "High CPU Usage", I have no idea what that is, but that is how they got me to listen to them.. I was so shaken by this. No one thinks that this could happen to them. Please tell your family and friends, especially the elderly ones that might be more trusting and could get into a lot of trouble with this....
bluenite on November 14, 2013:
Microsoft is greedy. it could care less about your computers. that's how I know those calls are fake. the Guy called me too, he sounded Indonesian so the line got messed up and I told him so. I was like " you're not in the USA.. the lines screwed up. so he hung up.
ken on November 13, 2013:
Got this call today after not hearing from the hindu IT guy for almost a year now, it's almost a dead give away from the word go. Love messing with them! If they get shut down, there goes my fun.
Don Z, Rochester, NY on November 06, 2013:
Just received a call variation on this scam. Instead of a virus on my computer, my computer is sending 1000 to 2000 problem reports to Microsoft. Also said they were a company in India that had just been bought by Microsoft.
But I would believe that my computer is sending problem reports, I am using Windows 7. ;)
stu on November 05, 2013:
you can spoof numbers just as people spoof IP addresses...it's a bit of a tricky process but this is how they get american numbers and don't know how to answer when you ask where they are calling from (because they don't know themselves)
Ellen (author) from California on November 03, 2013:
Well, as I can barely remember any Français and don't know Flemish, your language skills beat mine by several miles. ;)
There's probably some way to make your phone stop calls from a specific phone number, if they keep calling back.
Jean-Charles on November 02, 2013:
HUNG up, English is my third language :-)
Jean-Charles on November 02, 2013:
They called me three times today - in Belgium (Europe) and I said I was sleeping and hang up. 2 hours later they called back, still with the Indian accent.
She wanted me to start my computer, of course I knew it was scam. Why would Microsoft ( she claimed to be a Microsoft employee ) call me for that ?
She insisted and I just said that I knew it was scam and would call the police right away. She hand up immediately..... Never heard them back!
Lorie on October 31, 2013:
Ive received 2 different calls from so called Microsoft rep, 2 different telephone numbers, sounded like he was from India. I started asking him different questions, and he seemed more confused than I about the call, he ended up hanging up on me. HOW RUDE! Ha, ha
Dean Walsh from Birmingham, England on October 30, 2013:
My ageing father gets calls like this most months. Its really annoying, but fortunately he didn't fall for it.
Carl on October 28, 2013:
I had a call from a foreign-sounding voice, my id-caller showed the number 58-974-5625, who insisted that my computer had been hacked and all my information had been stolen and that I was ruined. He offered no help nor asked for money. My son guesses that since this is a premium number in Venezuela, the idea is to cause me to call back and end up with a big charge on my phone bill. Still, it is pretty weird.
Kattzz Lewis from Interlachen, Florida on October 27, 2013:
I've received these calls in the past couple of weeks. Female with accent. New call I received yesterday, money grant I never have to pay back, just download some "paperwork", fill out and return to a "local" government agency. (I live in a very small town) So when I asked what agency, they kept saying they would give it at the end of the conversation...wanted $3...didn't get that far to see how I was going to send that money...I said scam, the guy actually told me to suck his d%^k. So much for the call being recorded for quality assurance.
angeljen33082 on October 25, 2013:
I am so glad to see that I am not the only person this is happening to. I received a phone call from a guy with a heavy India accent guy with a private number. He asked me if I was aware that my IP address was sending out a virus and he was calling to help me get protected. He told me that it had been happening for over a year now...(well it's funny that I only got a computer a month ago) He also told me that he got my information from the IP address (which it was funny that he didn't know my first name) I knew this was all a scam so I immediately hung up on the guy. Don't get scammed by these people calling!
RR+LC on October 23, 2013:
We Recieved this call today!! Heavy Indian Accent supposedly from NJ. cryptic and dodgey when we asked specific questions and then he became very aggravated and rude even yelling into the phone when we weren't doing what he asked. When asked his name he answered (in a very think accent)" Jack.., Jack Dawson". Feeling uncomfortable and suspiciou I said "tha name sounds right out of a movie" (Titanic) he assured me that was his real name. Jack Dawson. Moments later he blew his cover by saying "have you ever seen the movie Titanic?" I replied "isn't that where it came from?" he replied emphatically "NO!" he eventually just kept saying he had lots of other customers and could only spend a little bit more time with us. But he did say they were open 24/7. Hmm.... When we asked what our computer's specific issues were he said hackers were accessing the information on the computer. So then we asked what he had as indications for this? So the best intelligent technical answer he gave us was we had a "badly and slowly ip address". We kept him on the phone for a good 40 min. Maybe we have knocked a few more victims from his list by wasting his time. BUT we were seconds away from following his instructions and instead followed our instincts and just kept questioning him. Beware future potential victims of this rampant scam!! Hang up or question him to death like we did to stop him from preying on more innocent people. Also contact your internet provider and attorney general immediately to warn them about this scam.
Trav on October 21, 2013:
My wife has been getting these calls. A man with and indian accent calls and says that he works for microsoft and asks her to get on the computer and follow his instructions. She says that he needs to speak with me and so next time he called I answered and he just asked for her by name. I said no that he could speak with me he hung up and called back 3 more times. The number that came up on her cell phone was weird. It was like 900-10 and thats it.
Barbara on October 21, 2013:
I have received 2 of these kind of calls. I just calmly tell them I don't own a computer. They hang up on me.
Ellen (author) from California on October 16, 2013:
Well, there's so MUCH tech in India. We know it's not all that's happening over there! (And America has its own set of scammers -- I get phone calls several times a week from people claiming they can lower payments on my mortgage, when I don't HAVE a mortgage.)
Probably a few individuals figured out how to make it work, and then others learned from them. It's just a pity they're so hard to track down.
raj on October 13, 2013:
i work for a tech support company and im from india...dont know why these are ruining our nation's name. thats not a decent way to earn money..
inprincetonnj on October 09, 2013:
Yesterday, I was called, at 2:26 pm EST by a guy, who had a thick Indian accent. He said that "my computer was sending messages from my corrupted Microsoft Windows, and he was calling to help me fix the problem - if I would go to my computer and follow his instructions ". I said "Really - where are you calling from?"; he said "from California"; I asked "please give me your phone number, and I will call you back"; he gave me a number (I later checked, it was a phony number with an area code in California); them he hanged up. I called *69, and checked that the source of the call was from outside of the country. I called Comcast - my internet/phone service provider - and they first claimed that I was "the first one calling about the problem" - later, while I talked to Comcast high-end technical support, they said that they were familiar with the problem, but did not want to tell me more about (I am grateful that I found this post!). They advised me that if "I feel harassed, I should notify local police" - I said how I can notify police about a call with number that was not listed?. We went to my "answered calls log" and this call was registered with "from: no phone number". Comcast promised to initiate an investigation to try to follow the source of the call and to notify me in the next two days about the results. After checking on, if other had a similar problem, I found this wonderful site! Thank you Greekgeek! I advice everybody to broadcast information about the scam, and provide this post and discussion that shows that these attacks are worldwide. We can kill their business - I am sure that they would invent different tricks. (I run daily Symantec Endpoint Protection to make sure that my system is fine)
Hazel1976 on October 05, 2013:
I'm in the UK and just received a similar call. The caller, with a heavy Indian accent, pretended to be working for Microsoft. He claimed that viruses had been downloaded on my computer overnight (a feat indeed as it was neither connected to the internet or switched on - I supposed I was meant to believe that the viruses could be transmitted through the air)
He wanted to help me fix it by talking me through the process while I logged on to my computer.
Not believing him in the slightest, I hung up - but I can understand why some people get drawn in.
I'd not heard of this scam before - but I've warned my friends and relatives now.
You have to wonder how these people sleep at night. Have they no conscience?
PissedInNJ on October 04, 2013:
I got three of these calls today! Two on my land line and one on my cell. All three times the phone number read "Private Caller". They addressed me by first name. They obviously got my information from somewhere. No doubt bought it from another site who "promised not to sell your information..." Although they said something to make me believe they got my information from a software company (off-shore based) I once called when one of my first wireless routers stopped working. Back in the days before the Cable companies provided you with a wireless router.
Not to be offensive but due to their heavy Indian accents (I could barely understand them) I immediately knew it was a scam. That plus telling me they were from Microsoft AND that my computer was "sending out" something or other and it may be infected with virus. I told them "Look I work in IT. I know a scam when I hear it. Plus I'm a native New Yorker and don't have time for this bullsh*t! I know you have a script in front of you telling you what you have to say. If you're a legitimate company, hurry up and say what you have to say and get it over with it fast. " I also told them that's impossible that my pc was "sending messages" or "getting viruses" because I hadn't turned it on in weeks. I use an iPad most of the time, my windows PC has been off for about a month.
Each time they called they got so frustrated with me yelling at them (in my NY urban, road rage pitch voice) and me calling them on their BS, that they hung up on me! LOL It finally occurred to me to Google it and validated my gut feelings ... lo and behold, I was right!
Can't wait to see if they call back ... man I'm going to go ape shi*t on them! ;-P
J Andrews -South Africa on September 27, 2013:
Last night I had a call from so called Microsoft, I knew the scams with this so I said I dont give my computer details over the phone as its a scam.
He got quite offish and asked why did I take he call, well hello how can my landline tell me its a scam, then he slammed the phone down. This morning at work there was a chap called Jonathan asking if there was any british people working at my work, (I am British) but the receptionist said are you doing a servey he then was not sure what to say he gave a number and said he was from Debeeirs, we phoned back the company was some medical business. Maybe it was something else but I found it very funny someone asking that question after last night
P Lamb on September 25, 2013:
Sept. 25, 2013. I just got a call from the same scammers. It was a woman with an Indian accent. I challenged her about calling from India. She said she was calling from Las Vegas (the number on caller ID was 229 722 5608. I asked her how she could prove she was working for "Windows" as she claimed. When I repeatedly challenged her, she said "uh, bye, bye."
calypso_jimmy on September 25, 2013:
Here it is Sept. 25, 2013. I just got a call like this (from "unidentified caller), and the caller identified himself as a rep from Windows Tech Support, calling to say that their servers were detecting a trojan virus in my operating system. He then told me to turn on my computer. I asked him if he was a Microsoft employee. He said yes he was. I then told him I was not feeling good about this call, and that I would need to call him back .. he gave me the number 331.442.4285. I asked him if I could talk with him again, and asked him for his name. In a heavy Hindi accent, he replied that his name was Thomas Williams. At this point I started laughing & hung up. WTF.
Canadian on September 22, 2013:
My husband got the call a couple days ago. He is in IT and had some fun with it. He pretended he was clueless. He told them he was running windows 98. And that he keeps all his financial information on the computer. He kept them on the phone for 45 minutes. His computer kept crashing and dialing up the internet. The guy asked him to press the home button on his keyboard. We have MACs. My husband told him he didn't have a home button. The guy didn't believe him. He kept insisting he did. Finally my husband told the guy he was done messing with him and hung up. We had a good laugh.
Ellen (author) from California on September 20, 2013:
1. If they're calling you again and again, you can use selective call blocking to block that particular number. Selective call blocking is provided by most phone companies; you'll need to check with your provider to find out how to activate it.
2. You can register your number on the federal do not call registry, donotcall.gov -- unfortunately this won't help too much; I've found that since the GOP sequester, telemarketers have been emboldened to ignore the law, gambling that government agencies are too strapped for cash to enforce it.
Unfortunately it's impossible to block these jerks entirely; it's the online version of trying to stop pickpockets. They're out there. They don't obey the rules. They cloak their identities so that they're hard to trace, and government agencies are too cash-strapped to go after them. And as long as you've got a phone, scammers can call you.
No wonder this webpage is getting over 2600 visits a week from people who have gotten the call. :(
Ellen (author) from California on September 20, 2013:
As I noted above, I am a Mac user and am not qualified to advise you on Windows security. I was just trying to warn people about the scam. I'm sorry! At the bottom of my article above, I linked to PC Magazine's tips on how to deal with viruses and malware; they are I think a trustworthy source.
Gadi30 on September 20, 2013:
Great article by the way!
I hate scammers "Ugh" How do we block from these things?
What's some steps to not even get the call? how do they find your number?
GreekGeek can you maybe share with us?
Gadi30 on September 20, 2013:
I have a question. My father receive the call from some supposed Microsoft employee stating " you have a virus, your computer is completely open to hackers" I looked up Microsoft number and I called it...when I did it went straight to some people that had me go to website saying logmein.com I believe it was basically letting the tech gain access to my computer to run scans and things. This guy basically showed me something's about 3 points being established hacked areas in my dads computer. The guy stated it would cost 199.00 to fix and repair and he could to it. I called one of my professors and he said to release/re new my IP address. Will this work to change my ip addresss? and help guard from this hacker that supposedly has access to my dads computer.