Windows Support Telephone Scam – “Corrupt Files” and “Many Viruses”

If you have received a call anything like this, first Off: DON’T DO ANYTHING THEY ASK.

Nutch robots
Image via Wikipedia

If you are nervous, hang up. Sometimes they stay the other end waiting, so leave the phone for 15 minutes. You can unplug your router if you are in any doubt as to whether they are conencted remotely to your machine.

Next: then go to this site: http://www.digitaltoast.co.uk/supportonclick-systemrecure-scam

This came to my attention yesterday when I was contacted by a family friend who had recieved a cold call from “Windows Technical Support” and had proceeded to claim their machine was corrupt and virus-ridden.

I’ll embellish this article a little later, but just wanted to post something initially that could show up on search engines.

In the mean time, here’s a list of things NOT to do:

  1. Don’t do anything they ask.
  2. Don’t go to any website they request you access
  3. Don’t let them access your PC remotely (you will be prompted before this happens)
  4. Don’t give them any money

You might also like to try

  1. Wasting their time by playing stupid
  2. Recording the conversation
  3. Do a Google search for key phrases they are using
  4. Report it somewhere – even if it’s just leaving comments on a web page.

Generally if you do an internet search, you will come up with tons of results confirming that THIS IS A SCAM: Here are a few more links:

http://www.networkworld.com/news/2009/081009-windows-event-viewer-phishing-scam.html

http://www.computerhq.co.uk/content/warning-fake-tech-support-call-scam-windows-xp-service-provider

http://www.pcproblem.co.uk/?p=49

http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=1424731

UPDATE

The Guardian newspaper seem to be onto this. This commented was posted on the Digital Toast forum above on 29/06/2010:

If anyone has been caught by this scam, or knows someone who has, then I’d be grateful if you could tell me the name of the company *whose name appears on your credit card*. It’s clear this company uses loads of different sites and different names, but I suspect it’s the same one (or ones?) behind it. Email me please at charles.arthur@guardian.co.uk

Charles Arthur, editor, Technology, The Guardian

Other Articles

This is one of an ongoing series of articles that I have written following this scam. You can find them under the following tag group:

http://www.jameswiseman.com/blog/tag/windows-support-telephone-scam/

212 thoughts on “Windows Support Telephone Scam – “Corrupt Files” and “Many Viruses”

  1. They just scammed my mum. I’ll get windows reinstalled just to be on the safe side. She’s 73 years old and thought they sounded so legitimate. They prey on the old and naive. Makes me so mad.

  2. Got a call from them today, Window Support. I immediately told the individual that I know this is a scam and that I wanted to be put on there no call list. He ignored me and when on with his sales pitch. I interrupted him and ask that I speak to his supervisor. Supervisor came on and I stated I wanted put on his no call list, to which he asked if I was on the no call register. I stated that I was on the Federal and State no call registry, he ask for the registry number, I stated that he had my phone number as he called me and that no other number is provided when you register for the no call list. I stated that my original request was to be put on their companies no call list, not to verify that I was on the Federal or State no call list. He went on stating needed this information, to which I interrupted him and stated that I did not have time to listen to his crap and that he was not going to receive any information from me, unless his company calls my phone number again. That his company would receive a formal complaint filed with the FCC. Again he went on mumbling about something, and again I talked over him stating that he should read up on US Federal and State Laws on phone solicitation (note: I did have to raise my voice to talk over him). He then stated have a nice day and good bye.

    My recommendation to everyone is to hang up immediately on anyone calling with phone solicitation. I have never receive fair, honest, and useful phone solicitation, nor have I heard of anyone else receiving good or needed service from phone solicitation.

    I was raised to be respectful of others; therefore it was very difficult to hang up on a phone solicitor initially. Often you stay hooked in the conversation with them if you treat then with respect and honesty, they are trained to take advantage of that trait. When I realized this, it was easier to hang up on them. Now that I am older, I take control and tell them how it’s going to be.

    I should note that my wife had received calls from them several times previous to this event. The first time she called me at work, I told her it was a scam, I followed with research and verified it was a scam. I recommend that she just hang up next time they call, she could not, so she instructed them that they would have to call back when her husband was home, I guess today they did.

    Therefore I know how hard it is to just hang up, remember though they are trying to take advantage of you. It gets easier to hang up on them the more you do it.

  3. 2013 july. they’re still at it…just had an indian lady call me from BT and gave me the spiel about junk files slowing the internet down. I didn’t believe it but kept her talking for a while while she ‘explained it’ several times! Said I didn’t want to put the computer on at the moment and said goodbye..my laptop was on and next me Hah!

  4. If people receive any cold calls like these then recording the scammers on your phone would be a good idea also contact Rip off Britain,Watch Dog,Fake Britain,Don’t get don get dom. Also with your recording take it to the police and report it to the national fraud authority. Remember absolutely do nothing they ask and never run there program on your computer or give them any of your personal details or money make sure that you never save anything in favourites or int a document on your computer save everything on to a USB pen drive or memory stick also there are plug in hard drives that you can buy from PC world.

  5. I just received a call from someone claiming to be from “PC Results” – he identified the company as “the organization that is in charge of monitoring my computer” and told me that “they have detected that my computer has been download large numbers of ‘junk files’ which are affecting my PC’s speed.”

    I’m a network admin/programmer and was entertained by the fact from that his first sentence it was 100% clear that the call was fraudulent. I strung him along for a while before revealing that I knew the call was a scam… and what’s amazing is that he stayed on the phone for almost 15 minutes while I berated him. He kept trying to argue that his company was trying to do me a favor, and that it wasn’t a solicitation call, etc. When pressed he claimed that the “junk files” were error logs on the computer (not exactly junk, and not “files downloaded over the internet”), and that only his company could find and erase them (something you can do using the disk cleanup tool built into windows). I just couldn’t believe that he stayed on the line so long… so other folks out there: string these guys along. Take the first few steps (go to desktop, open browser/open run prompt etc) but never actually download anything or run any commands if they have you open up the run prompt (ctrl+r)… just keep them on the phone and waste their time.

    It’s clearly a scam meant to prey on older/tech illiterate folks, and it’s pretty darn low.

  6. Dear all reader I wrote the last message about what happened to me on the 3rd of March 2013. After the indian guy from Support . me logged off of the computer I found a large number of icons that I did not have previously on my computer including a (SPY WERE) I was absolutely terrified and I am sorry that I did not include this in my first message posted on this site. However they also told me that there was Hackers on my computer as well and that is what prompted me to let them gain access my computer. We should be grateful that there is a web site like this where we can bring this SCAM into the open. If anyone calls you from Support.me then just hand up. Or if you are having problems with your computer then just take it to PC world or to a qualified computer technician and do not be to shy to ask to see the computer technicians qualifications as proof. I have email the uk television show Watch Dog but have had no response as yet! This scam has left me feeling really shaken! I just want to let everyone no that reading this wed site has really helped as I had never herd of this scam before. And now knowing that lots of other people have had this happen to them makes me feel not as stupid as I felt before. THANKS TO EVERYONE

  7. On the 3rd of march 2013 I was having problems with my computer. I found an online company called (Support.me) and gave them a ring a man with a heavy indian accent picked up the phone and told me that I had multiple viruses on my computer even though I was suspicious I very stupidly entered a 6 digit code went through a few more steps and gave him full accuses to my computer. I thought it was perfectly legit until he started requesting card details so that he could download a security package on my computer. Soon a family member told him to get off of the computer he logged off straight away. But about a week later my documents box looked open so I pressed on it to find out why and it said (Was the copying of these documents legalised?) I have informed the police ! I think that it was Remote access that the had as it came up as (untitled) (These people are dangerous and out to extort money out of venerable people.)

  8. Had the same call. I was in a rather good mood so I let him babble on then told him I worked with Microsoft and the call was being traced. Hung up real quick and never called back.

  9. Today they called and I played along for a while. Put them on hold while I went to the toilet … and so on. Next i got my iPad. Then I followed their instructions (very slowly – my arthritis is very bad :) ). Eventually I entered the 6-digit code and we connected. He said, “Dear me – you are using an iPad. Please use a PC.”. I said we don’t have any PC’s – only Apple computers”. Then he apologised and hung up. I figured it was safe to give the code, knowing that I was on an iPad. Is my ipad now at risk? Can they access the real PC’s that are using the same wi-fi router? All comments welcome.

  10. Someone called from infotech.com and said they backed HP and that we had corrupt files on both computers because they are on the same network. They asked my other half to type in a code and he did. Then they asked for $149 to replace the corrupt files with the new ones.I made him hang up the phone. Is there anyway to reverse this??

  11. I was called by this number several times a few months back. A man with an Indian accent said he was Peter from Windows services without mentioning a last name and said there was a virus on my computer. I immediately hung up. He called later and I told him to ‘F**k off!’ I hung up cuz I knew it was a scam. A friend of mine had had the same thing happen to him and had believed the man. He did a bunch of things on his computer as directed by the man. My friend’s computer was really screwed up and the things he did made it much easier for viruses to get into his computer. My friend had to get a new hard drive. Don’t listen to anything ‘Peter’ says!

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