Anyone know how to stop these scammers?

It was Thursday night, and the kids were in bed. My wife was away working at the Encores Consignment Sale, so I was spending a quiet evening working on my computer.

My home phone rang, and when I answered I was greeted by an Indian voice. The gentleman on the phone wanted to inform me that my computer was in serious trouble. Apparently, his organization had been receiving messages from my Windows computer, and the news wasn't good: my computer was infected!! 

At first I was confused. And then I realized I was on the phone with a scammer... and I just started laughing. I really wish I had recorded the entire conversation, because I started laughing uproariously, and then he started to laugh along with me. When he didn't hang up the phone, I decided to play along... and record the call. Here's what happened next:

Man, was that funny. My only wish is that I could have kept him on the phone longer to find out what commands he was going to have me run. I looked up the number on the caller ID, and apparently people get scam calls from it all the time from many different sources.

Does anyone know if there is anything useful that can be done with the information in this phone call? I know that I can report stuff to the FTC, but I'm not sure if I'd really have anything to report.

Lucas Weeks

Lucas serves as an assistant pastor at Clearnote Church in Bloomington, Indiana. Although he pines for the warm, tropical weather that was familiar to him growing up in west and central Africa, he has since made peace with the harsher climates of North America.

Want to get in touch? Send Lucas an email!

Comments

For all the work these guys go to trying to scam you, they really ought to just go produce something.

Do you even have a Windows computer?

Tell them you're a wealthy prince in need of an offshore bank account to deposit millions of dollars for which you will give them a portion.

No idea but the recent Security Now podcast with Brian Krebs was very interesting in regards to the sort of scams that are going on. There are people who can hijack your computer and encrypt your files, then make you pay in order to un-encrypt them. Mr. Krebs was recently "SWATTED" by the way, look that one up if you are unfamiliar with the term.

The small business I run was hijacked by some scammers not too long ago, in conjunction with a Craigslist scam. They had contacted people who were selling items, and sent them checks with my company as the return address on the envelope. When recipients of these envelopes declined to sign for them, they were returned to me, and I passed them along to the postal inspector office. In all, I passed along maybe five or so checks before the scammers went on to someone else. It was a good learning experience but it was distracting. I put a note on my website for people who received a check from "me" but then I realized that Google put it into the search results, so when someone googled my company they would get a result like this: "[company name]...fraud alert..." and so I took it down.

Dear Lucas,

Sometime, if you find the sense of humor, I would like to give you a call and play the jokes with you. I am sure you will enjoy very much the jokes some day.

It's wild how long the man stayed on the line with Lucas. Here's the dialogue from 5:20 on out...

Lucas: How did you get my phone number?
Scammer: Haha, sir, I was just trying to joke with you, alright? I was just trying to pull your legs. And that is how I got this number [unintelligible], and I was told there was a lovely guy and you can joke with him and play the joke, like you played with me. Correct?
Lucas: Ok, that's really funny.
Scammer: I was joking with you, yeah, it's really...
Lucas: Yeah, that's really funny. Yeah---no no no, it's not funny. I've been recording this phone call. Are you trying to get people to run malware or something on their computer? What exactly are you guys trying to do?
Scammer: No, we are not doing all sorts of things, alright? It was just a joke that was played with you...
Lucas: It's not a funny joke at all, to get people to run things...
Scammer: It's a very funny joke that was played with you, and sir I believe that you must have enjoyed the joke, correct?
Lucas: No, I didn't enjoy it at all. In fact I'm wondering why you guys are calling people and asking them to run commands from the Run box on their Windows computers.
Scammer: We are not asking them to run any commands, alright? We are not asking them to run any commands, alright? And it's not that we are calling each and every people. There are specific people who like to joke with others, and we call the people and have, play joke with them, alright?
Lucas: No, it's not alright.
Scammer: Yeah, it's alright for me, alright? So it was nice talking to you, sir, have a great night, goodbye.

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