A curious phone call
Thread poster: Giles Watson

Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:59
Italian to English
Jan 30, 2013

Yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call in English on my (Italian) landline from a polite gentleman claiming to be from Microsoft. Apparently, there was some sort of problem with my IP address and he had a solution.

But when I asked him for a contact number so I could call him back, just to be on the safe side, he changed tack and said he could no longer help me.

Somehow I don't think that was his intention in the first place.


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Norskpro
Sweden
Local time: 15:59
Member
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Well known scam Jan 30, 2013

I have also had people call me claiming they are from Microsoft. It happened twice. Both times the caller was a woman with an Indian accent. I have learned that this is a widespread scam, usually originating in India. All they want is access to your computer. Microsoft would never make a phonecall like that.

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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:59
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
The personal touch Jan 30, 2013

The caller did indeed have a Indian accent but that means little enough these days.

What struck me as odd was that it wasn't a ghost call. If the scammers are prepared to invest time in person-to-person communication, they must be scraping the global barrel!


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Shai Navé  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 16:59
Member
English to Hebrew
+ ...
Beware of any unsolicited offers for help Jan 30, 2013

This scam takes various forms and its ultimate goal is to get access to one's personal computer and or/data.
In its online form this scam impressionates legitimate services (financial, email, etc.) notifying the user about an issue in their account and asking them to click a link to a fake website or to send in their login details so the problem could be solved. All in attempt to capture the login details to the legitimate services being spoofed, or in other words, Phishing attempts.

If something doesn't work well with one's computer, one will notice it and seek help from legitimate resources. Issues and problems in the service/network infrastructure level, that do occur from time to time, don't require access to one's computer or information in order to being solved.


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:59
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
First time for non-Italian phishing Jan 30, 2013

Oh, I've had the occasional phishing call in the past but they've been in Italian and the callers were a little too interested in my bank details. Again, asking for a contact number to call them back discouraged further conversation.

This time round, it was the international aspect that surprised me. It's the first time anyone from the Indian subcontinent has tried to bowl me a doosra!


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:59
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
I get these calls too Jan 30, 2013

I receive calls like the one you describe quite often. Most annoying. The caller speaks in an Indian accent, claims to be from a branch of Microsoft and to KNOW that I have a problem on my computer which they can fix. This is a well-known scam. I've read that when they've persuaded an unfortunate callee to allow them access to his/her computer they then install a virus on it and charge him/her for fixing it.
A nice little fraud. I now tell them that I know it's a scam and put the phone down.


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Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:59
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Reported to my provider Jan 30, 2013

I had a similar call from a very polite Indian gentleman. He claimed to be calling from my Internet provider, but could not tell me the name of that provider. He asked me to switch my computer on so that he could talk me through how to fix my problem (which I didn't know I had!). Suspicious, I told him that was not possible as the computer was in a different room, but I wrote all his instructions down on a piece of paper before ending the call. I then called my provider's usual helpline and relayed this information to them. They said that this was a known scam and under no circumstances should I go to the website I had been given, as they would put a virus on my computer and then charge me for removing it. A few days later I had another call from the same people. I told them what my provider had said and politely declined their offer of 'assistance'. They have not called since.

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Nicola Wood  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 15:59
Member (2010)
German to English
Oh so familiar Jan 30, 2013

I get these calls every few months, in spite of having told them I know their game. They really must think we are very gullible. I find it hard to believe anybody would fall for it, but apparently plenty of people do.

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kchansen
Local time: 15:59
English to Danish
Known Scam Jan 30, 2013

It's a known scam. The Danish press had a lot of stories about it last year, so I guess they've moved on to Italy now. The scammers are calling phone numbers more or less at random and are not targeting any particular group.

They'll tell you there is a virus on your computer, ask you to install a program that can give them remote access, ask for your credit card or bank account number, uninstall your antivirus program, install MS Security Essentials, and steal money from your account for their "services".

Telling them to bugger off is the recommended solution. I would probably do so in less polite terms but that's just my bad upbringing.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 10:59
English to Portuguese
+ ...
An insane phone call Jan 30, 2013

I just HAD to publish this somewhere.

Day before yesterday, the phone rang, and I answered:
(A polite gentleman, speaking the local language, accent-free.)
"Who is speaking, please?"
"1234-5678." (I never give names, only the number.)
"Can you tell me who is speaking?"
"Who do you want to reach?"
"I am calling my home!"
"What number did you dial?
"1234-5678."
"Area code 11, Sao Paulo?"
"Yes!"
"This is my home! I've had this number for over 20 years. If it's both your home and mine, it means we are one and the same person, so we definitely shouldn't be talking to ourselves by phone."
"Okay, you win. Maybe I memorized wrong number." - and he hung up.

Later my wife (Deborah) told me that before, while I was out, a polite man had called three times looking for "Regina" (we never had anyone by this name), and seemed very disappointed that nobody here knew her.


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:59
Member
French to English
+ ...
Wrong numbers... Jan 30, 2013

One day, I was constantly harangued by a gentleman with a thick foreign accent, who kept calling my mobile and INSISTING I should get off the line as it was his wife's phone!

They were obviously in crisis, judging by the angry messages he left for her when I stopped answering; in the end, I sent a text message saying he was an idiot and I was leaving him to run away with his brother, and when he got home, I wouldn't be there...

Hate to think what happened when he DID get home...

Actually, I've had my fair share of wrong numbers; my very first house was only 2 digits reversed from a local restaurant, and every evening when I was having supper, I used to get bothered by their customers ringing to book tables... I asked hem if they could please change their number, or print it more clearly on their cards, but they didn't care less. So the next time I had someone ring for a booking, it was for a party of 12, so I cheerfully took the booking — and would have loved to have been there when the party of 12 turned up to a brim-full restaurant and no booking!


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