Today my boyfriend received a new variant on the Microsoft Technical Support scam. (I say new because we hadn’t come across this one but according to the internet it’s been around a few years.) The person with the rather hard to understand accent asked my boyfriend to turn on his computer. My boyfriend said he had and was looking at the lovely Linux home screen. The scammer asked if there were any Windows computers in the house. By this point I was begging my boyfriend to let me play so he said “My girlfriend has one” and handed the phone to me.
The scammer went through his spiel and told me that they knew it was my computer that was infected because of the identifying licence information they had. I said “oh”. He said he could prove it and asked me to get pen and paper and write down a number that would match my machine’s licence number. At that point I wondered if there was some command you could put into a Windows machine that would always give the same response and I was right. I wrote down the string which took ages as it was very long and he kept using the nato alphabet which slowed it down further and my comments probably didn’t help either nor the fact that I wrote it down as “cripple 8, d for dog, c for charlie, a for alpha” – I love playing stupid. When done he asked me to switch my computer on. I said the phone didn’t reach to where my computer was (the idiot didn’t check if I had a laptop that could be moved nearer to the phone) so I’d have to put the phone down and go over to the computer to switch it on. He asked if I had a mobile. I said I didn’t. He said “oh dear”. I warned him that my computer was really slow and took ages to start up. I was loving it! So he agreed to wait while I went to talk to my boyfriend who was upstairs in his bedroom.
When I felt sufficient time had passed I went back to the phone to inform the scammer that I’d gotten a Blue Screen Of Death so I’d have to do it all over again. There was a hint of frustration in his voice but he played along. I made him wait a bit longer and then I decided to tell him that whilst he was waiting we’d Googled that really long string of letters and numbers and found that there was a Windows command that would give that exact response on every single Windows machine. He denied it and tried desperately to reason with me. That’s when I decided to thank him profusely for letting me win the flat competition to see who could keep these scammers on the phone the longest. At close to 20 minutes I’m winning by a mile! I was really enthusiastic in my thanks and the scammer hung up on me. I win!!!
If someone claims this string of characters (888DCA60-FC0A-11CF-8F0F-00C04FD7D062) is your computer’s unique licence number then they’re full of shit. Do not believe them. Hang up. Microsoft have repeatedly said that they do NOT contact people about viruses. This entire thing is a horrible scam.