If you’ve been scammed by this kind of fake call, read on and I might have the solution for you.
If you haven’t fallen victim to these shitty scammers yet, read on to see how to avoid becoming a victim.
On April 21st a friend of mine sent me an iMessage asking if someone from Microsoft would have a reason to call her. I was in Moscow at the time in a big DIY shop so I didn’t really know what she was asking.
The iMessage conversation went like this.
Friend: “Would someone from Microsoft PC support call me?”
Here I thought she was asking me if I would get someone from Microsoft to call her.
Friend: “On the phone to them now.”
Me: “What do you want me to do?”
Friend: “Are they legit? Do I trust them?”
Me: “I doubt it, especially if they called you.”
Me: ” What do they want?”
Friend: “I’m still on the phone to them. The driver has stopped running. My internet is being used from somewhere else.”
Me: “Sounds very suspicious, be very careful. Why are they calling from Microsoft, not your internet provider? I’m 99.9% sure it’s a scam.”
Friend: “I phoned them back. It was Windows support. 020 36083056, West London. In the end he wanted £99. He says my internet is being used in Liverpool.”
Me: ” How can your internet be used in Liverpool? It was a scam.”
Friend: “IP address not connected.”
Friend: “FaceTime me please.”
Me: “10 mins, just on my way home.”
That was the end of our iMessage conversation. I called my friend when I got home only to find out that the fake Microsoft caller had connected to my friend’s PC remotely, and she had let them. She even followed their instructions.
After telling her what an idiot she’d been, I realised we needed to see if any damage had been done or any data stolen.
My friend was quite sure that everything was fine.
I advised her to change some passwords just in case, but that advice was ignored.
All well and good, yes?
No! A few days later I got a call from the same friend asking why her PC now had a password on it. I soon realised that the scammer had done it and he’d wanted £99 to remove it.
We went through some possible passwords that he might have used, but no joy.
As she hardly ever turns the PC off, she hadn’t noticed the password at first.
So now my friend had no PC to use except an iPad. She thought she’d be able to manage.
A few weeks later while in England, I went to her house to install a new version of Windows on her PC so she could do her invoices. I had explained that all the old data on the PC would be lost if I installed Windows again.
I was just about to install Windows when I thought I’d try a few simple passwords to get into the PC without having to reinstall Windows.
I tried “12345”, zilch. “QWERTY”, nada.
Then “123456”. Voila! It was that simple.
All the original data was there, and all I needed to do was remove the password.
One happy friend.