Like most of us, I have caller ID. Perhaps like you, I have noticed more and more companies ignoring the fact I’m on Do Not Call lists. Of course they say “we are not trying to sell you anything” which is sometimes an out-and-out lie. In any event, I noticed my phone ringing and saw some number I didn’t recognize.
Most of the time I pick up the phone to tell them to put me on their do-not-call list, but I am curious to hear what they have to say since I am hearing of so many phone scams these days. I would absolutely LOVE to be part of the team which prosecutes these people who target the elderly and otherwise innocent individuals.
The man introduced himself as Jason Smith in a heavy Indian accent and proceeded to tell me he was calling because my computer was found to have a problem and they were going to help me fix it.
Obviously they called the wrong guy. This was a phone scam. So I went to work on him, playing the computer layman and feigning ignorance to get him to open up with his business name, callback number, address and so on. This fellow was more than happy to do it, which surprised me. I told him I had someone at the door and had to call him back. I immediately did my research to see if there had been complaints about this company.
Wrong is… Wrong?
Not surprisingly there were, but what did surprise me was that this is a legitimate business. There wasn’t anything wrong with my computer, but they were beginning the conversation out with a lie. They know nothing about my computer at all. While the business was legitimate I had some serious ethical concerns about their operation.
Having ethics inconsistent with honesty isn’t necessarily a crime, but there are criminal acts that start out much the same way as my call did. Today my friends at SANS (http://www.sans.org/about/sans.php) published the latest OUCH! newsletter addressing tech support phone scams.
The set-up for the phone scam is identical to the scenario I provided above and just underscores the caution we need to exercise when presented with any unsolicited contact (be it email, phone, even mail!).
I highly recommend an OUCH! subscription(click the “Subscribe to OUCH! now” link) to people who are interested in keeping up with the latest technology-related threats. The newsletter is written for any level of computer user and you will find it explains things in “plain English” without the technobabble so many of us IT people excel in.