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Beware of Scammers! (edited)

randulo

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Seriously, I really am asking for a friend(Solved!) But I'm inserting this UK-related article in case you don't want to read the whole story:

If by any chance you haven't heard these stories yet, let me briefly share how I lost two hours yesterday evening and this morning. A dear friend called me, saying he'd been contacted by his Internet provider, Comcast. The man asked about his Internet connectivity, was it a little slow. (This is a good time to do that in the USA, especially.) The man proceeded to go through a sophisticated bit of social engineering which culminated in the installation of a remote control app, TeamView, on my friend's computer. TeamView is a legit program but many scammers use it to kidnap PC. I don't know enough about Windows, but my friend knows so little he does not know how to install or run a program. He wasn't able to find and run Windows Defender. He downloaded MalwareBytes, but didn't know you have to install it and now can't find the Downloads folder. I'm also posting this for @SaxyNikki who is about to purchase a computer.

You may drive a car daily and you've driven for decades, yet you don't know the first thing about how a car works. I'm like that, but haven't owned one in years. However my friend is some kind of technophobe who never wanted to learn the basics of how to use the box, so I sometimes get the distress call. I was unable after two hours of texting and voice calls to fix the problem, which would involve uninstalling TeamView to be sure the scammers can't use his PC for further damage, then running a malware scanner.

If by any chance you are located in the USA and think you might be able to help my 75 year-old Luddite uninstall this app, please message me, I'm sure he'd be willing to pay for the help. I even had trouble getting him to unplug the Internet cable to his PC! Up for a challenge, message me please. This is an emergency, so I hope posting this call for help is reasonable here on the forum.

I got him to Control Panel and uninstall but there was a problem that it was running and I could not get him to kill the running program. Another tack would be to look at the services running and kill them, but that was a bridge too far.

Bottom line:

1. Who even answers "Unknown caller" phone calls anymore? If they leave a message I'll listen to it. In my case, it's mostly in Chinese!
2. BEWARE of any phone call that starts by claiming to be Microsoft or anything to do with your computer or service.
a. If you called them, it takes 20 minutes to reach someone. You think they're going to call you? And offer you a considerable direct payment? (They asked for a debit card number, too.)
3. Find someone that knows how to operate your computer, if you don't. Preferable someone who can come in person, a niece or nephew, grandchild, benevolent uncle or aunt if you're too young to have young relatives.
4. These people are very good at what they do. My friend asked to speak to a superior, and another guy came on the line! My friend said they needed to call back in 5 minutes. Meanwhile he called the number that showed on callerID, and says it was the Comcast message. I asked if anyone answered, but he didn't wait. He though it was them with a fake message, but I think it's really the number they looked up, since there's usually little chance of getting a human within minutes. I believe they spoofed the Comcast number.

The Microsoft scam has been around for a long time. In this case, the man said Comcast wanted to send him $249 and needed his bank account number. I don't know how quickly they can do anything with just the number but he's going to the bank to change the account today. Remember, banks are on reduced hours.

This person isn't an idiot, yet they managed to get that far AND install the control program. I can't stress enough how much care you need to take with phone calls (and of course links from 'friends', "You're on this video, it's insane!"

BE AFRAID. BE VERY AFRAID. Trust No One™

Deadlink Removed
 
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Targa

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Ccleaner removes the last download if you take the appropriate options.
 
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Vetinari

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your fiend may have unplugged the internet cable but has he turned off the wifi. my pc auto switches to wifi if cable disconnects.
 

Pete Thomas

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Ouch. I'm forever warningm y elderly neighbour after she was scammed by a cold call from the government approved solar panel upgrade company, who called round and diagnosed a faulty inverter. Just in time, as she was bout to pay £5000 for a new inverter I found out about the solar panel inverter scam and guess what? her inverter didn't wrok. because they had switched it off when they came round (plus I also found out the most expensive inverter is only £1200.

But in this case it's good he's reported to the bank and you got him to disconnect. I get the feeling it may be worth getting a trusted pro to check it out now, although technically malwarebytes should do the trick once he's got it installed.
 

Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
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This is very sad that your friend got scammed like this. He’s lucky to have a friend like you who cares about him.

While I don’t currently have a computer with internet I have had the most updated iPhones for the past 10 years so am not completely green here.

I never get any strange emails and in my 10 years of iPhone have maybe got 3 scam texts and I mean OBVIOUS scams. People stating our Netflix is overdue when we don’t have Netflix or my bank account has been tampered with when I don’t use that bank.

I never answer my phone to unknown callers or leave my phone number so rarely if ever get calls. All my calls are from known family members, friends or associates ( doctor , dentist etc) Since I don’t answer my phone, my number hasn’t been sold to other businesses etc.

I’ve just not done any digital recording or ever downloaded any music but my husband has.
Once I get a computer I will be as careful as I am with my phone.

While I was caring for my aging parents with dementia, my father kept getting scammers watch him through the camera. They’d then sent a loud alarm which would scare him and then they’d say if he sends them $300 they’d fix it. Apparently they did this 3 or 4 times. Finally this happened when I was there so I taped up the camera and when they sent the alarm through his system I simply switched his computer and internet off. Once these people called I had a few words to say to them which I cannot repeat on this forum but they never bothered him again.

Thank you for thinking about me.
That was kind of you. :)
 

randulo

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In all the years on the Internet, I did get one email that almost bit me. It came from someone I've known for years. She said her wallet was stolen on the train. She was in Marseille and could I send money. I don't remember the details, but I know that I wouldn't answer the email, but probably called to see if it was really her. It was a simple case of her email being hacked, but also a common use of hacked emails, posing as someone you know with a request for money.
 

randulo

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COVID-19 Addendum:

I'd been seeing daily "small business loan offers" spam for the whole virus time, presumably phishing or scams of some kind, but spam. I now have found out there are many varied scams specific to the Corona virus. The conversation starts with someone calling and informing you that you've been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. I am just guessing that it leads to "arranging a test" which needs to be prepaid. They are likely calling random numbers.

ALL calls related to anything like this must be carefully vetted, and again, be sure to warn the older family members of these things. This activity would be highly illegal, so you definitely want o stay alert and up to speed, including informing local law enforcement.
 

Targa

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If it wasn't for the 'scammers' I wouldn't have as much fun winding people up on the phone seeing how long it will be before they give up.
I got one call from a man who said he was from 'xxxxxx financial services' telling me I had won their 'China market opportunities' competition.
I said 'That's nice what did I win, a holiday in China, pay my own air fare and hotel in advance?'
He sounded a bit puzzled and said ' No the prize was a television, digital camera and Kindle'.
So I paused while a few memory brain cells kicked in and he was quite nice about my assumption he had been a scammer.
 
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Alice

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If it wasn't for the 'scammers' I wouldn't have as much fun winding people up on the phone seeing how long it will be before they give up.
I got one call from a man who said he was from 'xxxxxx financial services' telling me I had one their 'China market opportunities' competition.
I said 'That's nice what did I win, a holiday in China, pay my own air fare and hotel in advance?'
He sounded a bit puzzled and said ' No the prize was a television, digital camera and Kindle'.
So I paused while a few memory brain cells kicked in and he was quite nice about my assumption he had been a scammer.
Well it's an easy mistake to make. But I don't agree that you should try and keep them on the 'phone @Targa because there is such a scam that then starts to bill you for the length of time that you are on the line. If you're struggling to find something new to amuse yourself with, i'll order you one of those laser pointers from Amazon.
 

MarkSax

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We’ve come to the point where it’s not recommended to call back any missed calls from unknown numbers because of the phone billing scam. I kept getting calls from Sweden, where I lived for awhile and still have friends, but I always check the number on the net and found out about the phone bill scam. Good thing with IoS, probably Android too, is that one can block any unknown callers or receive calls only from Contacts. I’ve also disconnected the landline phone.
Oops got sidetracked. Alt-Ctrl-Del still brings an Option menu window which enables you to go into Utilities and kill off any running program. Uninstall then, clear the cache, empty all cookies, app’s program files and saved files....Run your AV program and Defender.
 
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nigeld

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there is such a scam that then starts to bill you for the length of time that you are on the line
We’ve come to the point where it’s not recommended to call back any missed calls from unknown numbers because of the phone billing scam.

I evidently live a rather sheltered life. What is/are these scams?
 

randulo

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Status update:
I'm a perseverant, obsessed, lateral thinker.
I installed a Windows 10 virtual machine and TeamViewer. I was able to connect to my friend's PC, change the TeamView password and disable it from starting when Windows starts. We confirmed that this PC is no longer susceptible to remote access with the old password. The new one went from 6 to 10 digits with non alphanumeric characters. Further, I ran MalwareBytes on his PC which found 27 things it quarantined (the word has taken on a different meaning to us all!) and upon looking one up, I find

"PUP.Optional.Spigot is Malwarebytes’ generic detection name for a large family of browser hijackers."

I haven't investigated everything in the log yet, but I will and I will also try to find out who owns the phone number they are using to do this. Unfortunately, the accent the fellow had may mean he's out of our reach legally, but we'll see who the telco provider is.

My mobile often gets calls from Africa, and I was billed for a transfer once, which the carrier refunded after a lot of begging and pleading. I still don't know how that was done.
 

hedgehog

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Status update:
I'm a perseverant, obsessed, lateral thinker.
I installed a Windows 10 virtual machine and TeamViewer. I was able to connect to my friend's PC, change the TeamView password and disable it from starting when Windows starts.

Nice work. Really. Your friend is lucky to have your help.
 

MarkSax

Member
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200
I evidently live a rather sheltered life. What is/are these scams?
The phone billing scam that I was targeted with runs like this: you receive a call from an unknown number, national or in most cases international; if you answer they hang up immediately or stay silent for a few seconds. ThInking someone close (maybe in distress)is trying to call you, you call back. They then answer and ask you to hold or try a phishing/whishing scam whilst at the same time keeping you on the line as long as possible because the number you called is a premium rate number i.e you’re getting billed at £s per second credited to the owners’ account for which your own provider Is billing you. The numbers in question are often shorter or longer than usual.
Googling the number will often show more information on its provenance and nature. And posts from people who’ve been scammed.
 

randulo

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This particular scam is probably far more common in the USA, although it seems to come from India, according to accounts of the accent. Here's a decent recap of what they're about (dated 2019):


Here's one related to UK scams:
 

Phil

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I got a call last year in France from someone claiming to be Microsoft. Imgot the feeling they wanted me to activate remote desktop. Since they claimed to know so much anout me I asked them to tell me what country my product was activated in. Of course they guessed France. Of course they wrong. I promptly told them to get lost, called them thieves and hung up.
 

randulo

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My friend said they got angry at the end when he'd realised it was a scam. Then they show a screen saying his Internet was cancelled and he could never use it again.
 

Phil

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Mine was on the phone. But anyway...its a sad state of affairs that is for sure.
 
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