SCAM ALERT: "Microsoft" Remote Tech Support Telemarketers

One of the great things about being an Apple-based environment is the lack of (or at least scarcity of) viruses and malware.  So I found it intriguing today when I received not one but two phone calls from 000-000-0000 according to Caller ID, trying to sell me anti-malware software.

The first time they called, I explained I had a Mac and that ended the call.  The second time, I played along.

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Both times, the scammer said they were calling because my Microsoft Windows computer was sending out messages saying it was infected.  It was hard to make out because "Robert Jones" had a strong Indian accent, and he insisted he "worked for Microsoft." When pressed, his story became that his firm "works with Microsoft" and other similar phrases. He walked me through installing software on my PC (though I was on a Mac) trying to understand why I didn't have a 'Windows' key.

AMMYY

He wanted me to go to www.AMMYY.com to download software. Fortunately, right below that download button is a warning in red letters indicating exactly the scam I was experiencing. I even told my caller that his scam was revealed but he didn't understand. I told him to read the warning and he insisted that was because of the other people, and that's why my computer was infected and why I needed to install the software. Here's the message itself:

Dear users of Ammyy Admin 

Unfortunately, there are some cases of malicious use of our software noticed. Please be attentive and never grant access to people you don't know personally or whom you don't trust.

!!! If you receive a phone call claiming to be from 'Microsoft' or someone claiming to work on their behalf, telling you that you have a virus on your computer or some errors which they will help you to fix via Ammyy Admin, it is definitely a scam.

There also might be phone calls from people presenting themselves as internet service provider technicians or any other tech support specialists.

Ammyy Inc. is a legitimate software development company, we take the privacy and security of our customers and partners personal information very seriously. We are advising Ammyy Admin users to treat all unsolicited phone calls with skepticism and not to grant access to your PC to anyone you don't know personally.

We can assure you Ammyy Inc. doesn't make these kinds of calls and never asks to download and launch Ammyy Admin.

Here are some cases of scam:

"I got call from an India based consultant who said to me that he is calling from a govt. organisation in Melbourne, Australia. He made me to log into my computer to track some files and without advising me he wanted me to download a software application from ammyy.com and get remotely connected to a technician to delete some files..."

"I was recently called by what I thought was my internet service provider technician who used Ammyy to gain remote access to my computer - after I stupidly granted him that permission. It turns out that he was nothing to do with my internet service provider. When I became suspicious and began questioning him he said he would show me who he was and opened a website of a company - the web site triggered my virus software and I then demanded that the remote access be terminated..."

In case you received such type of phone call - hang up, do not let them have remote control access to your computer and never provide any of your credit card requisites.

 

I shudder to think of how many people take these callers on blind faith. Imagine if they didn't call from a noisy call center in India and instead spoke English natively and had a reasonable Caller ID number? The scam might be more effective than it is already. Fortunately, as a Mac user, I don't have to worry too much, but it's always wise to be skeptical.

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Author Details

Todd Bernhard's picture

Author Details

Todd Bernhard

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.