New record for scammers


Hey everyone.

So I don’t know how often y’all get called by tech support scammers, but a couple days ago they achieved a new record in our house. They were calling almost all day — and at one point toward late evening, there were *SIX* messages on our answering machine all from the same outfit claiming to warn me about a breach in my iCloud account.

Is it getting worse?

Comments (17)

17 responses to “New record for scammers”

  1. navarac

    Certainly is. Thank G-d for answering machines, caller display and blocking technology !

  2. waethorn

    Get a phone service that requires that someone punch in a random 2 digit number before the call goes through. MagicJack supports that, but many SIP providers will do this as well. Just give this phone number out and never give out your regular number. Block outgoing Caller ID on your phone permanently too. Never put your main phone number on a business card or give it out to people who may share it, or companies, especially for the purpose of SMS notifications because they will inevitably be sold to advertisers and end up in the hands of scammers. There are temporary SMS websites that allow you to use them for account setups for things like Gmail and Microsoft accounts. Once set up, remove the phone number and use a different account notification or verification method like a secondary email address. Don't use smartphone authenticator apps either because Google and Microsoft both read a whole bunch of user-identifiable data from your phone. These things are NOT built with privacy in mind.

    For website owners: don't put an email address anywhere on your page or else you should expect spam. Use a contact form with some form of Captcha instead. I would advise site owners to use a Captcha-like system that uses a server-side generator instead of using Javascript because a lot of people block Javascript now, and it can also get caught up in ad and privacy blockers and such. reCAPTCHA is a Google property, and privacy blockers will block whole swaths of Google domains. Use a Captcha-like service that respects privacy and doesn't use Google, or else install something directly on your own hosting platform, so long as it doesn't use client-side Javascript. It will give the user a better experience anyway, since it's not processing on their own computer. There are PHP-based form validation programs that will do this. You can also use hidden fields that bots will often read and fill in. Some simple validation can reject messages where those fields contain data, so that only valid user submissions missing that data will be saved.

  3. beckoningeagle

    I've never been contacted by "Windows Tech Support" but I have been called multiple times from the IRS, Social Scurity and to reserve aplot of land in a Cemetery. I don't really know if these are worse.

    I also got one claiming that the US Homeland Security was offering visas for Puerto Rico residents. That one cracked me up.

  4. wright_is

    I think I've had 4 calls in the last 6 years, the last one was probably 2017.

    It usually went:

    Scammer: "Hello, I'm from Microsoft Support."

    Me. "No, you aren't." <click>

  5. jlv632

    I wish I got these calls more often. They don't happen that often in Australia. I have a Lumia 525 that Mr Paul Thurrott threw my way a few years back. On it is a burner Microsoft Account with Team Viewer access as the open app installed. Seeing scammers in India presented with Windows Phone and not knowing what do to is the highlight of my week everytime it happens

  6. hrlngrv

    Been a while since the nice people at Windows Technical Support called.

    OTOH, I tend to get a lot of calls from a police PAC, furnace clearning, and vehicle warranty extension scammers.

    • erichk

      In reply to hrlngrv:

      Regarding vehicle warranties, us too, since word got out we are leasing a new Jeep.

      • wright_is

        In reply to ErichK:

        The dealer would be open to fines over here, if they had given/sold your information onto a third party.

        • erichk

          In reply to wright_is:

          Well actually I signed up via my own volition, but with plenty of insistence from the sales associate. That also applies to all the Jeep-related apps that let you monitor your vehicle from your phone and whatnot. Kind of a mess getting all that stuff organized.

      • lwetzel

        In reply to ErichK:

        I'm not leasing but the Warranty calls started right after purchasing my car. Well I was getting them before that since I owned an 8-year-old car.

        • erichk

          In reply to lwetzel:

          Yeah, this Jeep lease of ours has increased our spam too. Buying/leasing a car used to be simple. Now you have to sign up with a bunch of stuff, including SiriusXM. And I hear from them almost every day. Well, I guess I could have not bothered with all that satellite radio stuff, but since we're paying for it anyway, might as well use it.

  7. lwetzel

    It has gotten worse. I changed my voice mail recording to say I wouldn't answer. If it was someone that needs me to call then leave a message and number. I had a problem with my phone and it would not display caller ID so it was not possible to screen calls that way. Reboot my router and fixed that.

    Just never answer if I don't know who or why.

  8. dftf

    It would probably help if withheld-numbers stopped being a thing... many apps thesedays have lists of numbers that are known to be spam and will block them -- but obviously they cannot filter withheld as there is no number. So your only option is to allow all withheld, or block all.

    Here in the UK, there are agencies you can report silent calls, robot (autodialler) calls, dropped calls and repetitive calls to, but they all ask for the number you were called by.

    While I'm sure there are legitimate uses for withholding a number, it does add to the problem...