Friday, October 4, 2013

Telephone Scam: Woop! Woop!

Wednesday, a man called and asked to talk to my husband.  We screen calls for each other to weed out telemarketers, charities, and people we don’t want to talk to.

So, I asked if I could take a message.  The caller proceeded to tell me that he really needed to talk to my husband because there was an infection in his computer.  And he wanted to know who I was.  

I’ve had this type of call before.  I’ve played the games:

If you know so much about my computer, do you know what its name is?  (They don’t know what I’m talking about – but when you set up a computer you give it a name by which it is known if you have a home or work network.)

I run anti-virus software. If I have a problem, I’ll contact my vendor.  (This fellow answered that he wasn’t talking about a virus – he was talking about an infection. I asked what the difference is. He told me it was complicated to explain unless I was a technician.  Since I am a technician, I asked him to go ahead and use whatever technical terms he felt he needed.)

The above is a total waste of time, but I was trying to keep him from calling more vulnerable people, so I was keeping busy.  I had no pressing deadlines.

This time, I did have a deadline, so I just said, “You have reached technical support. This is the IT division.”  The man apologized for bothering me and hung up.

But the next day, somebody else called about the infection in my husband’s computer.   I’m still on deadline and at this point I’m getting irritated.  So, I said, “I’m not interested. Please don’t call here again.”

The caller on the other end started saying, “Woop! Woop! Woop!”

I said, “Do you understand. Please place my number on your do not call list?”  All the time I was talking, the man kept saying, “Woop! Woop! Woop!” in a high pitched voice, as if imitating an alarm program.

I hung up on him.

Since then two of my clients have reported calls from somebody about an infection in their computers.  I assured them it’s a scam.  When your computer has a virus, it slows down, it blocks you from anti-virus websites. Sometimes it blocks you from the internet entirely. Sometimes messages pop up on the monitor telling you that you have a virus and offering to get rid of it for $100 or some similar fee.   But if everything is normal, then your computer is fine.  I send them to http://www.speedtest.net/  So they can check their webspeed and compare it to what their internet provider promised.
If they are still concerned, I send them to http://housecall.trendmicro.com/ 
to download housecall, which is a free program that will scan their computer for viruses, spy-ware, and other problem programs.  I warn them – do not take the Titanium product, which isn’t really free. And I have them check in their Computer Operating System Properties to be sure they get the correct version: either 32 bit or 64 bit.  Some clients are difficult to reassure.  But at least they were suspicious enough to call me, rather than just buy something over the phone from a scam artist.

If these crooks call again, I think they just gave me the best thing to say to them.  Woop! Woop!
And then hang up.  
  

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