Friday, September 10, 2010

Computer Maintenance Dept of Your OS


Jan had a strange telephone call Thursday and we'd like to share it with our readers since it deals with something we're all using - a computer.  You all know the evils of the internet and how scammers, spammers, hijackers, hackers and phishers abound, floating around in a sea of viruses.  So before we go out there, we put on our armor of antivirus, two-way firewall, malware mace, spam helmet, use Firefox instead of Internet Explorer, etc.  And still the bad guys invent new bolt cutters and artillery to crash through our perimeters.

That's why we leave a comment for blogs when we notice something unusual such as popups that try to lock the visitor to the blog or those stupid popunders for Facebook game applications or Gamevance ads.  When our av blocks the sites of those popunders and says it has determined the sites are malicious and we have let the blogger know they exist but the ads keep popping up when we click on "comment," we listen to our av and stop leaving comments. We do the best we can to keep our computer healthy.

Still, we're all constantly being told that even if you have an av, your computer can become infected.  The bad guys hear this too and so they have evidently come up with a new technique (new to us anyway) to fix our problems before we actually have any.  A just-in-time phone call from your friendly Computer Maintenance Dept. for your Operating System.  Bet you didn't know your computer could be guarded by such a thing, did you?

When Jan hears a strange voice, she grabs pen and paper and starts taking notes, so the following conversation is a compilation of the conversation because Jan asked the guy the same questions so many times he was running out of different ways to explain the reason he was calling. Never once did he give a company name, name the OS, or come right out and say it was Microsoft (because of course it was NOT MS) but the inference was there. Can you picture MS calling us Funny Farmers to tell us we have a problem and they can fix it -- for FREE? 

We'll let Jan tell you about it -

The caller had a very heavy accent that I could barely understand. He ID'd himself as Mumble, Mumble of the Computer Maintenance Dept of "your" (meaning my) operating system, which makes no sense.  Said he was calling because they've had so many error reports from my web browsing.  That I have been downloading infected files, my OS has been badly corrupted with malicious programs without my knowledge, and my computer is 60 - 70% not working.  This would get worse and my computer is going to crash.  I said he had the wrong number but then he asked for me by name. 

Ever since the new power supply was installed, my computer has been working great and I have been using Vipre av and fw since last December.  I also occasionally run a scan with the free Malwarbytes program.   I asked him repeatedly who he was and why he was calling and the closest he got to naming my OS was "Windows OS." Never which one, which in itself is suspicious because if he was getting all these error reports, shouldn't he know the OS?

To prove my computer is screaming with pain from all the malware, he directed me to Manage/ Event Views/Applications to see all the red errors and warnings.  Well, yeah, there were a number but they went back to early April.  He said to not click on anything there because they were all malicious.  He told me several times to go online with IE and then tell him what is my home page. I don't use IE and I wasn't about to go online for a stranger.  I asked why he wanted me to and why it had to be with IE. and he finally said he was going to send me somewhere they could help me fix this problem before my computer crashes.

This was as far as I could go to find out who he was and what he wanted. I wish I could have learned who he really represented so I could report the company. I told him I don't know him and I don't trust him, so he said he was going to put his supervisor on the line to talk to me.  I hung up. If I didn't trust him, why would I trust his supervisor? He promptly called back and called out for me on the answering machine.  

I didn't answer.  I was online looking for the Sunbelt Live Chat page, where I reported this to a nice lady who pointed me to the Sunbelt blog and an email address where I could again report it and the word could be spread. As she said, every computer has errors and warnings in the Event Viewer and this is someone preying on people who don't know what is in the Event Viewer. She suggested making a note of the phone number. This is one of those times I wished I had Caller ID. I will still look into where this might be reported (such as the newspapers) because I can just imagine scared computer users - especially the elderly - going online, giving their homepage and letting this guy "fix" their nonexistent malicious program problems. 

Okay, guys, I'm done.  Thanks for letting me borrow your blog to help spread the word about this crappy means of trying to scare folks into doing something stupid, just like the callers who convince folks to give out their SS number or other valuable data.  And if you haven't heard of this type of phone call before, tell your mother, your neighbors, your family and friends so they won't get suckered.

Well, we don't have anything to add to what Jan said, so we'll go take a nap and see you tomorrow.

Excerpts from this post are featured on the Sunbelt Blog today. You can read their post here.


  1. That is skhary -

    FURRY skhary -

    Thanks fur sharing it!


  2. Mom got that call. She ask if he was with Dell or Microsoft. They told her no, they were with the OS service department. She ask what OS and PC they were talking about because we have xp, Vista and windows 7. Mom ask him to give the give the 15 digit registration code for the soft ware. They hung up and Mom never opened any files of gave them access to her system!

  3. EEEK! Thank you for sharing that story, it's horrible to think they're trying to rip off people in such a way.

  4. Thanks for the warning, what a crappy scam. Trouble is, those not in the know might fall for it and end up with all their details on view and being used to fleece them.

    Whicky Wuudler
    Pooping on the pillows of scammers everywhere!

  5. Thanks for sharing that info. It is worrying what length they will go to. We have noticed that a few times we have had popups appearing on some blogs asking us to take part in a survey. We never click on them. We hope our AV will keep us safe.(Too safe this morning. We couldn't get Firefox to connect and found that McAfee had totally blocked it for some reason, but must have been a glitch because we read on the forums that several people had the same problem. We did an extra full scan to be on the safe side too.)

  6. Thanks for the warning! Mommy said that you did good! :)

  7. How scary for all of you at JFF!!!! Well done Jan for standing your ground! These cold callers really know how to scare people into doing something they'll regret later - that's just so wrong!!!

    Phew! Have a great weekend now!

    Take care

  8. I'm impressed you stayed on the phone with him that long to begin with. I have caller ID, so don't pick up to people I don't know. Sometimes I get calls from #000-000-0000. Oh, yeah, those are legit. (Sarcasm).

    Good for you for reporting him.

  9. That sure was a bizarre call, thanks for telling us!

  10. We too are pretty particular about what calls we answer. And if we do answer, we all need to be very careful not to give out any information of a personal nature. Too many scams and bad peeps out there.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  11. Thanks for sharing that with us - how scary! We have caller ID and our Mom never ever answers phone calls where she doesn't recognize the number. She also checks on 800notes dot com to find out who they are! The calls are never from anyone that she wants to talk to at all!

    Purrrrrrrrs, China Cat

  12. Thanks for the warning Jan - mum doesn't give out any details over the phone and won't click on pop ups either.
    We are lucky though as a friend who lives two minutes away is a computer wizard and if mum has a problem he comes round and fixes it.
    Hope you have a good weekend.

  13. Huh, that's a new one on me. They're always thinking of new ways to do social engineering!

  14. Good to know, thanks for the heads up; too bad there are so many dishonest people out there...Hope you guys have a happy weekend; kisses, sweet friends...Calle, Halle, Sukki

  15. Wow that is a scary thought - because did they get your number somewhere or did they just dial down a list of every number hoping to get someone? I am lucky to be pretty good with computer stuff but I can see how this would freak people out who aren't really computer savy! Of course, I would just come back with the fact that my cousin works for Microsoft, and say I would just conact him (it is true he is pretty high up in Microsoft - sure he is in fonts but still it would freak them out I am sure) and hey, give me your name and number so I can have him get in contact with you to the phone guy, and see what happened.

  16. w00fs, i was wondering how he got ur # too..and that is scary..

    b safe,

    pps we can never be to careful..

  17. Thanks so much for the information. I really don't deal with to many people who call. Although I did make a pledge to a Cancer site and went online to the Better business Bureau. They were on there but the were not accredited so I did not send in my pledge and if the call again I will tell them why. It's terrible how some people spoil it for the rest of us. I also do not play the games on facebook. I heard to many things that weren't good about them.

  18. Creepy call. None of us answer the phone unless we know the number, and somehow we suspect this dude wouldn't leave a message on our answering machine. ;-)

    Nice you managed to waste a lot of his time, without him getting anything at all useful out of the call.

  19. How horrible that some evil people prey on the fear of others. Thanks for sharing, and good for Jan to see through that b.s.! :)

  20. Thanks for telling us about that!
    My mom would be scared if someone called her to tell her computer has problems!
    Take care
    Kisses and hugs

  21. Concatulations! You won on our MO-Cats contest. Please email us your snail mail address.

  22. creepy indeed. yikes! technology-blah-nology. it has gone too far. sounds like a scammer via the phone. strange, very strange. good for you for hadling it as you did.

    hey did ya get your book yet?

  23. Hi guys,

    Thanks for the warning. It was probably some guy in Africa (Ivory Coast) trying to rip you off. I got an e-mail like that once from some guy who wanted to buy a property that I have for sale, without first seeing it. Of course I thought that was very suspicious and after a little search on the net, I found out that it is a very common scam.

    Hugs from Gotchi's mum and purrs from Gotchi


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