A Conversation for Ask h2g2

What scams have you encountered today?

Post 1

SashaQ - happysad

It fascinates me how creative some of these phishing scams and other fraudulent activities can be.

I enjoyed the telephone one from 'Microsoft' a few years ago claiming to have found a virus on my computer and promising to fix it if I followed their instructions (I learned a few tips from them about how to access handy features of my computer before I ended the phonecall).

The nastiest ones are the e-mail ones claiming there is a fee to pay for a delivery - when people are waiting for items to be delivered, as is more often the case these days, it is easy for them to be taken in.

Other telephone calls I often get are computer voices saying that my broadband is about to be cut off if I don't speak to an advisor, and ones that say my credit card has been used to buy an item for £300 so I need to speak to an advisor if it was not me.

Today I received a new one - a telephone call from a human claiming I had won a special prize in a lottery I hadn't entered, for 50% off in supermarkets! (yeah, right!)

Are there any other scams you've encountered that we should be aware of?


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 2

Baron Grim

That "phone call from Microsoft" you mentioned can be a very serious one. Someone actually gained remote access to my father's computer. Fortunately he was impatient and asked for a credit card number before he installed ransomware or other malware which is usually what they're trying to do. My dad hung up and shut off his computer. When he told me later I called a computer repair guy I know and we didn't find any obvious malware and nothing has happened since so he got lucky.


I come across phishing emails at work regularly. Oddly they are almost always like those old horror movies, "The call is from INSIDE THE HOUSE!" Yeah, the IT folks at the major federal agency I work at occasionally run their own phishing attempts to see who's not practicing good hygiene. Some of them are quite tempting to click on the links. I'm pretty good at hovering my cursor over links to see if they match the purported source. The last one had featured the tempting warning title, "Heads up! We noticed that you recently deleted a large number of files from a site". In the email it recommends recovering your files from your recycling bin with a handy hyperlink to it that leads elsewhere.


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 3

deb - I'm in love with my soup maker & I don't care who knows it

I've had several calls over the last year about my National Insurance number, how it has been used to commit fraud and I must press 1 to speak to an adviser before my assets are seized and I am arrested. I'm assuming pressing 1 will trigger something that costs me money. These calls, although automated, come across as quite threatening even though I know they're scams I can feel myself on the edge of a "gulp" reaction. I can see how some people would hit 1 in a panic.

Deb smiley - cheerup


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 4

Baron Grim

Heh, well we don't have to worry about getting those calls here. No national insurance. smiley - facepalm


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 5

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

Where to begin....

1. I often get a telephone call about the caseworker assigned to my case, and the court personnel who are coming to bring me in.

2. The calls from "Amazon" are legion. Someone has almost always ordered a smartphone using my account, and the *only* way I can stop them is to call the number the caller has listed. And, they mention a credit card that I don't have on file with Amazon.

3. My social security number has been misused by someone, and will be discontinued.

4. I get the calls from "Microsoft" too. Never mind that I never registered my computer with Microsoft, so how would they know this?

5. When the caller talks my "credit card" without saying which on it is, I know they have no idea which it is.





What scams have you encountered today?

Post 6

Baron Grim

When I first heard about the "This is Microsoft calling" scam, I believe it was an article in Wired magazine. They called their IT reporter who was currently working on an Apple computer. He texted their head hacker/geek/IT guy and set up a virtual machine to let the scammer play around where they could watch. Basically what I remember is the first thing they typically do is have you look at where all the error codes and notifications spool. The typical user has no idea what all that is but it's completely normal. They ask if you see a perfectly innocuous error code and tell you that's proof of malware. Then they walk you through giving them remote access and install their own malware, often ransomware so they can encrypt your data.


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 7

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

I just got a call from AT&T, threatening to disconnect my internet access and landline. Trouble is, I have no accounts with AT&T. There's nothing to disconnect.


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 8

SashaQ - happysad

Yes, when I was on the phone to ‘Microsoft’ I was impressed by how they asked me to use the right mouse button to access things, rather than left clicking directly on an icon as a typical user would - a tactic to deliberately confuse some people. The notifications spool was interesting, but I recognised that it wasn’t a list of all the viruses on the computer, as the fraudster had claimed, so that’s when I ended the call. Glad your dad shut the computer down before things got nasty.

A couple of years ago I received an e-mail that looked like it had been sent from my own e-mail account, asking for a ransom or else the footage from my (non-existent) webcam would be published online - that was spooky.

I hover over links just to check they are what they look like, yes - that’s a good tip smiley - ok

I’ve not come across that National Insurance call, but I know what you mean about the ’gulp’ moment in other calls I’ve received.

Reassuring when you don’t have the service they’re talking about, yes - I used to get e-mails from ‘banks’ I didn’t have accounts with, so they were easy to deal with.

Today’s telephone call was very obviously a scam - a computer voice saying, ‘This is Bank calling to say that £300 and £1,200 has been paid from your account. To authorise, press 1. To reject, press 2.’ - didn’t even attempt to pretend to be a specific bank!


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 9

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

Last night I got five calls from someone called "Marcy" at Amazon, claiming that a "suspicious" order of $721 had been made from my account by someone in Dayton, Ohio. Marcy never said what the item was. (You'd think she'd know.) I hung up on the first four called. On the fifth, I pressed 1 (as "Marcy" said) and got someone with an Indian accent and the sound of a boiler room in the backroom. She "transferred" my call, but the line went dead.

Amazon rarely calls its customers.

I also get phony calls from "Microsoft."


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 10

SashaQ - happysad

Yikes - five calls in one night is excessive... Bold of you to press 1, but glad nothing untoward happened.


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 11

Baron Grim

Yeah, watch out pressing numbers on scam calls. Sometimes they can charge you via your phone service, or claim that by pressing a number you've agreed to whatever it is they're doing.


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 12

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

I didn't give out any passwords or social security numbers. Mostly I wanted to know if the call would really be transferred to Amazon's customer service department. It wasn't.


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 13

Baron Grim

That was close.
I got an email this morning from Medic Alert. I have a Medic Alert badge that emergency medical can check to see I'm steroid dependent. The email informed me that the credit card I have on file was about to expire. Everything looked respectable. But I was still suspicious. I went ahead and clicked the link and that took me to the following url, "medicalert secure force com" (dots replaced by spaces). Medic Alert's official URL is "medicalert org". Also, when I clicked on the link it went straight to a form, prefilled with my name and address, but never asked me to log-in.
Who the hell owns "force dot com"!?


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 14

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

Was your credit card really about to expire?


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 15

Baron Grim

Yeah, on the date they indicated as well.

And maybe that might have been a legitimate reminder. But if so, it was highly suspect and I left them a message (via the contact page on their website) about it.

But looking at that URL, I'm still thinking it's a phishing attempt.


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 16

Baron Grim

Heh, it was legit!

I got a response:

"Thank you for contacting MedicAlert. This email was in fact from our organization to update a credit card that is on file. You may also update by contacting our member services team. Our member services team can be reached at 1-800-XXX-XXXX, we are available Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 4:30 pm PST."


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 17

paulh, the apocalypse is coming, it's just late

Even so, it's good that you checked.


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 18

Baron Grim

Yeah, now I'm wondering where my new credit card is. smiley - erm


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 19

Still Incognitas, Still Chairthingy, Still lurking, Still invisible, unnoticeable, missable, unseen, just haunting h2g2

I use an answerphone. It weeds out the scams.I also don't use links in emails but phone direct to the organisation concerned.My bank texts me and also messages me online on my account.

Otherwise we have lots of fun on the times we feel like answering the phone.Depends how much time a pair of retirees have to play along.smiley - winkeye


What scams have you encountered today?

Post 20

SashaQ - happysad

Good point that an answerphone is offputting to computer-dialled scams smiley - ok

I feel a bit sad for the people who are employed to do the scams, but it can be interesting to play along for a bit, yes smiley - laugh


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