Crooks push fake anti-virus via Skype calls
Robot on line 1 demands $19.95
Scareware pushers have turned to Skype with automated messages to pressure marks into buying worthless 'security' software.
The scam is promoted via unsolicited calls on Skype during which a machine-generated message warns potential victims that their computer security is "out-of-date". Victims are invited to visit a website selling fake anti-virus software at $19.95 a pop.
One victim recorded the scam in progress for a YouTube video, highlighted by Sophos' Naked Security blog here. The robotic message states: "Attention: this is an automated computer system alert. Your computer protection service is not active. To activate computer protection, and repair your computer, go to..." Users are confronted with the alarming alert when they click on a message from an account called "URGENT NOTICE".
Scareware scams have been around for several years, so most people have wised up to crooks running unsolicited "security scans" that turn up a multitude of bogus problems on their machines.
Con men are therefore getting more imaginative with their tricks, using unsolicited calls from a "Microsoft support staffer" and automated calls on Skype. The Skype tactic represents the reuse of a ruse that first appeared around two years ago. ®
I played along...
...with the call from "windows support" having "demonstrated" that "Oh my god your machine is badly infected with a polymorphic virus" (on the basis that there were errors listed in the windows error log file).
Next they sent me to logmein.com (which, shamefully, doesn't give any security warning that naive users would understand) so a "technician" could investigate the problem.
Obviously that's where I stopped but looking around the web, there's people who've been scammed out of $200 - that makes an annual salary from this scam of $50,000 if they get one "success" a day.
And if only people I know would heed my warnings about such things, rather than come begging to me afterwards to fix their computers.
I've tried so hard to drill it into my dad about that phone scam, "We've noticed your internet connection is running slowly, call this number & pay for 'support'."
The first time it happened I took to calling the 0800 number and blowing a whistle down the phone at them. Apparently they (or others) called again last week, but he thankfully didn't fall for it.