Windows' Live Cold Calling Computer Scam

This is a scam and the perpetrators are basically trying to get you to allow them remote access to your computer. If they can persuade you to give them remote access to your computer, by following their instructions, they can download a virus onto your machine and demand huge payment to fix it again. They can also poke around for your personal details, etc. I politely played along with one such gentleman out of interest just to see where it was going. He actually told me that the Windows Live Support Centre had detected that my computer had a virus (amazing!!!) and he was phoning to help me sort the problem out (how thoughtful!).

It seems the idea, if you go along with it, is to talk you through opening the run box and typing in a command which will open the Windows' event viewer. The record of events on your computer will inevitably contain occasional errors which may have occurred in the use of the machine, although, this is generally all run of the mill operating system stuff and nothing to particularly worry about. However, this gentleman then kept insisting that I count the number of instances listed and when, just to kerb his persistence, I approximated something like seventeen, he made a completely over-the-top fuss saying something like "Oh my God, your machine is very badly infected with a virus, and you must follow my instructions so I can help you fix it." Of course, this is a complete lie, and these people are just trying to persuade you that they can help fix a problem that doesn't exist in the first place.

However, if you do follow their instructions, and type in the various commands (and I drew the line at "www.support.me", which is a technical support remote access facility), you will inadvertently let them have remote access to your computer where of course they can put malicious software onto your machine and demand huge payment to fix it. In this instance (and it seems that there are several different outfits all trying this on at present), they even provided a telephone number so you can ring them back and check the supposed validity of the organisation. This I did and, lo and behold, another Indian gentleman answered saying, "Window's Live Support Centre." This particular number was an Oxford number, 01865 522721. If you google that number, you can see several instances where people have been pestered by the offenders and some have actually been caught out, costing them significant money.

It is a bit of a blatant cheek doing this sort of thing from an Oxford phone number, although it may not of course actually be in Oxford, more likely in India. However, whatever the case, it would be nice if more could be done to stamp out this sort of thing and perhaps raise public awareness about it. Governments, globally, really need to toughen up and come down hard on these and other types of internet scam. Since the first call, this week alone, I have had three others, one from the so called Window’s Global Network, one from the Computer Support Company, and one from the Support for PC Company, supposedly based in London. All callers were singing from a very similar hymn sheet. I did report the first incident to the police, but currently there seems to be no real mechanism in place for tackling such scams quickly and efficiently, even if they were based in Oxford. Further info - PC Pro article.