Telephone Scam: Infected Computer? But…But…I Live in a Tent and Don’t Have a Computer

—By Domani Spero

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3®) released its 2012 report recently.  Here’s one of the scams described:

In a twist to the pop-up scareware scheme, victims began receiving telephone calls from individuals allegedly claiming to be from legitimate well-known software companies. The victims of these calls were advised malware had been detected on their computers and posed an impending threat. The fraudsters tried to instill a feeling of urgency so victims would take immediate action and log on to their computers. Once the victims logged in, the fraudsters directed them to the utility area of the computers, where they appeared to demonstrate how the computers were infected. The fraudsters offered to rid the computers of the malware for fees ranging from $49 to $450. When the victims agreed to pay the fees, they were directed to a website where they entered a code or downloaded a software program that allowed the fraudsters remote access to their computers.

These folks are actually quite persistent.  The first time I got this call, the caller spoke in heavily accented English. I told the person politely that I have difficulty understanding what he was saying. The person connected me to his supervisor who was no better at it. Finally they gave up on me since I was dumb and dumber and they had to repeat half a dozen times their explanation of what’s a malware. That was fun!

Another time, I scolded the caller for implying that my computer is some sort of ET who can call “home.” That was not even fun and a waste of time since they interrupted my favorite chore of laundry making.

Now when these folks call, I just tell them I live in a tent and do not own a computer.  You can hear their minds literally crash.  Oh, and they haven’t called since.