Stories from My Past: You have a virus

tech support scam photo

I was working at a company once and my phone rang. The caller ID said “Tech Support” and the voice said “This is Raul from Microsoft Tech Support. We have determined there is a virus on your computer. I will connect to it and fix the problem.” This was a surprise since I had never gotten this kind of scam call before.

However, I wanted to see how this worked so I played along. “Oh no! Really? My computer has a virus. I don’t want to lose anything. What do I have to do?” I asked in a concerned voice.

“No problem I can help make things better,” Raul said. “We just need to connect to your computer and if you go to http://join.me and put in the number I give you, I can connect to your computer.”

tech support scam photo
tech support scam photo

At that point, we got disconnected because my phone had been having issues that the outsourced VOIP was addressing. Immediately I got a call back from Raul and he didn’t miss a beat. “Let’s continue to go to that site.”

I thought this is interesting. Even when he is disconnected he calls back. So I thought I would test this. I said, “Sure just wait a second while I save my files.” Then I hung up on him. He called back and acted as though nothing had happened.

Then he said that their system said I might immediately lose files if he didn’t connect right now, my phone acted up and disconnected him again. I thought certainty he isn’t going to call back. He did!

At this point, it had taken some time and I had people to help. I told Raul that I was tired of my junky computer and I was going to just throw it away and buy a Mac and I didn’t need his services. I hung up and he didn’t call back.

See also  I can handle the cold, don't give me warm weather!

One of the things that gave this scam away is that when I was talking to him I could hear the other agents in the background. It was obvious they were working from a call center hoping to prey on people’s ignorance. What also was a tip-off is that it claimed to be from Microsoft. Microsoft has never called me. It was also a sign when the caller ID said something other than Microsoft. Finally, no company is going to remotely monitor your machine for free and offer to fix it for a fee.

Scammers want your money, but you are too smart to fall for this.