Wednesday, 25 April 2012

“Type www.” – “Ok, w-w-w-d-o-t”; antagonising call centre scammers

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

This ain’t my first rodeo, this ain’t the first I’ve seen this dog and pony show. I first wrote about virus call centre scammers back in October along with my recording titled Anatomy of a virus call centre scam. I followed up a couple of months ago with Scamming the scammers – catching the virus call-centre scammers red-handed which screen recorded the entire process right up to where they attempted to commoditise the scam, or in other words, get cash out of me.

Imagine my pleasure when they called me back last night! I use the term “they” very colloquially; it’s always the same scam run against the same run-sheet but there seem to be a number of companies behind this special brand of evil. This time it was a group called “E-Protection” and it doesn’t take long to establish that these guys have a bit of a record.

This time I decided to see how effectively they could support the Windows 8 Consumer Preview virtual machine I had running. The sheer incompetence of particularly the first operator I spoke to is quite astounding, not just technically but the fact that very little of what I was saying was actually absorbed. By the time I got to the second guy at about the 29 minute mark I thought it might be time to inflict some of the pain they’ve been dishing out to their victims back onto them. Enjoy :)

But there is a serious side to this; go back and look at the comments (particularly in that second video I linked to) and you’ll see a number of people being defrauded. There’s very little the authorities in countries like Australia can do about it as these guys are based offshore (I did try – and got nowhere). Unfortunately the other players in the scam also have little interest in doing anything to prevent it. I contacted LogMeIn via Twitter right after the event and all they had to say was this:

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I’m sorry, but that’s just not good enough. At the very least, they could place a clear warning on the page the scammers are directing you to. These guys need to start showing a bit of social responsibility.

As you can see, particularly from the first operator in the latest video, the scammers simply don’t give a damn; not listening, just running through the script and when it’s clear you can’t provide them any value, they’ll just hang up (this also happened to me last week, just a bit too early to extract a meaningful episode).

As I said at the end of this video, please educate your less-technical family and friends on this one, there are a heap of similar videos out there from other people – it’s rampant and it obviously works because it’s been running long enough.

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