When working with computers you sometimes come across difficulties where the help and knowledge of a support team is needed. As many people often unquestioningly trust the instructions of tech-savvy staff, a whole industry of scammers dedicated their business practices to mislead consumers by passing themselves off as technical support staff of major companies. Through random phone calls their tactic and thereby the deception of a great number of consumers begins. For protection against fraud attempts the tellows anti-spam community warns and informs consumers all over the world and has encouraged users to share information about criminal phone spam methods.
What we found here is much more than just some scattered instances of unsolicited phone calls, it leads us to a huge scamming business that bothers people not only in the US but in all English-speaking countries. We already reported on this scam method last year in our UK Blog (http://blog.tellows.co.uk/2012/10/great-success-against-pc-doctor-scammers/) The calls we are talking about are mostly having the same goal. Callers, pretending to be working for e.g. Microsoft or Windows technical support, are giving aggressive warnings that your computer is infected with numerous malware, viruses and other infected files and malicious traffic. The only help is apparently the caller itself who can rightaway fix all problems on your PC and delete the infections, which he will show you, is very urgent and necessary. What sounds like a nice support offer for inexperienced users is in fact highly developed deceptive business practice. While the consumers think that the support team will fix the allegedly detected problems they allow them to remotely access their computer and what is equally worse, charge tremendous sums of money for this “support” and additional software.
The obviously profitable random cold calls are being made by numerous companies, such as Pecon Software, Finmaestros LLC, Zeal IT Solutions or Virtual PC Solutions, mostly located in India. While this scamming has been going on for years now, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last year finally reported a huge crackdown on these telemarketing boiler room enterprises that where scamming consumers in large amounts. Nevertheless the calls are still being made and as a matter of fact, the FTC is not as successful in hindering the scammers as they wished for, since US laws don’t apply to Indian companies adequately.
One of the solutions for however not becoming a victim of tech support scamming is obviously being leery of incoming calls. Microsoft itself offers some necessary hints (http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx). In addition, platforms like http://www.tellows.com provide their users with fruitful information about suspicious phone numbers. The huge database of untrustworthy callers on Tellows makes it easier to decide which calls to take and which ones to ignore completely. The tellows community has been warning and informing consumers about fraudulent phone numbers in about 20 countries and has encouraged users worlwide to share information about criminal phone spam methods. We found some examples of numbers that most probably belong to the group of tech support scammers, such as:
As the list is not anywhere near complete, you are more than welcome to extend it by evaluating phone numbers and commenting on scammers on tellows http://www.tellows.com/ !
For a long time, the online consumer portal www.tellows.com has been warning and helping people protect themselves from phone fraud and scam. When people who were called this way want to find out more about a certain number that called them, they can search it on this page, where they will find entries and comments by other users. For each number there is a score informing about how the number was rated by other users. For those who use smartphones, there is a free app available for download, which provides a warning to the person called even before answering the phone. Furthermore, there is a blog with additional information on the most recent cases of phone scam and fraud, giving advices how to protect oneself from it.
Tel: +49 – 1578 – 4918966