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Listen in on a real tech support scam

Listen in on a real tech support scam
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Tech support scams are a common way that hackers prey on computer owners without much technical knowledge. But, this scammer got a taste of her own medicine when she accidentally called up a security researcher. He played along with her little game and recorded the whole thing. Now, you can listen to the call and learn the warning signs to look out for, so you don't fall victim to a tech support scammer.

Security researcher Steve Ragan received a call from 949-000-7676 that started with a remote recording claiming to be from Microsoft warning him about security issues with his computer. He was then connected to a "tech support" person who also claimed to be from Microsoft. Instead of hanging up, he decided to play possum to expose the fraud. If you get a call like this, hang up immediately.

Microsoft will never – ever – call you and offer a remote scan to fix something.

As the call progressed, the scammer asked Ragan to open System Configuration on his computer to prove that there was a problem with his computer. She used a lot of technical jargon, but he knew that everything she said was baloney. However, tech novices fall for speeches like this all the time because they can sound really convincing.

She uses a mix of technical terms and meaningless phrases, but that's because the script she's reading isn't geared towards a person who knows that wires have nothing to do with the fact that Bluetooth Support Service isn't running. It's written to coach a person who would believe what she says without question.

Even though he knew she was a scammer, Ragan decided to play along a little more. The scammer then asked him to download a screensharing program called TeamViewer. It can allow other users to connect to your computer over the Internet. It has legitimate uses, but, in this case, the scammer wants to use it download malicious programs onto Ragan's computer.

Unfortunately for the scammer, Ragan disabled certain features on the program, so she could only see his screen but couldn't actually access files or control his keyboard or mouse. He also left a note that said "I am a security researcher, and you've been busted. But nice try! :-)" that she could see on the desktop before explaining that he's a security researcher and hanging up.

You can listen to the whole call right here:

Remember, Ragan is a security professional and knew how to keep his computer safe while toying with the scammer. If you receive a call like this, hang up immediately. Don't engage with the scammer and never download a program like TeamViewer that gives them access to your computer.

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Source: CSO Online
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