“Can you fix my Windows 95 computer?”: How to troll a tech support scammer

Pity the bad employees of companies like “home windows Technical Support”—scammers who make cash through “fixing” computer systems that were not broken inside the first location. For the individuals who pose as Windows support technicians and cold call unsuspecting sufferers to warn them about bogus viruses, existence is right as long as they can wrangle credit card numbers and faraway computers get the right of entry from the gullible.

However, the scammer—typically from India and claims to live in the equal, united states of America as the sufferer—tells whoever selects up the cellphone that their computer has been recognized as having a virulent disease. The scammer directs the person to appear in the home windows’ Event Viewer, which shows a typically harmless list of error messages, and then says that that is a sign of significant infection. From there, the scammer convinces his mark to put in a piece of software allowing Faraway admission into the pc to ease up the problem and pay the carrier several hundred bucks in charges. It’s regularly called the “ammyy” scam because customers are now and then directed to www.ammyy.com to install the faraway computer software program.

No longer anybody falls for it. The Federal Trade fee (FTC) didn’t, closing week busting six faux tech support organizations with names like virtual computer answers and PCCare247 after having undercover agents pose as victims. Ars editor Nate Anderson didn’t fall for it, gambling a helpless sufferer on the smartphone for 15 minutes before revealing that he knew what we were going on the complete time. But the serious “rip-off trolls” increase scammer-baiting to an art form, once in a while losing as plenty as two hours on the cellphone as they see simply how long a scammer will stay on the line.

The tech help scam is a worldwide phenomenon, and the scam trolls likewise come from throughout the globe. Many document their interactions with the scammers and post them for the world to listen—and analyze. Right here’s how the masters do it simultaneously a few troll scammers as a public carrier to prevent people from being victimized; others are out for laughs. Case in point: someone who calls himself “Ted” kept a scammer at the smartphone for almost hours, recording the last 43 mins and posting them to SoundCloud ultimate week.



A great troll is a prepared troll, and Ted was geared up. He dragged out the call by pretending to connect his home Windows ninety-five and Windows Vista computer systems to CompuServe via the dial-up net, presenting an expired credit score card number and giving absurd answers to basic questions. Ted spent much of his name pretending to war to connect to the net. “Good enough, so you want me to connect to the net with this? God, it’s an hour and eight minutes we’ve been on the phone; this is taking all the time. Hold on, so this is referred to as—I want to attach it to the smartphone. It is known as an acoustic coupler… preserved for one 2nd. All is proper; it is not connecting to my CompuServe account for some purpose. Allow me to strive for my AOL account, hold on.”

Ted switched to and fro between his home windows ninety-five and home windows Vista computers. On Vista, Ted claimed he couldn’t follow the scammer’s commands until he installed the non-existent provider p.c. Three (Vista Best has two provider packs). Ted requested the scammer to make his Windows 95 pc run as rapidly as his home Windows Vista one and professed his desire to be an awesome citizen. “I need this machine to be secured for positive,” he stated. “And I don’t want my machine being dangerous, for certain; I imply that could be awful, that might be very terrible; I don’t want it to be horrific; I want it to be precise. I’m a responsible internet consumer; I don’t want to be a number of these hacker sorts that infect the net and stuff like that.”

Via it all, Ted periodically replays the dial-up modem connection sound. At the same time, he has to “reconnect” and tells the scammer he doesn’t have Net Explorer; however, he makes use of Mosaic to surf the internet and claims to be involved in his online banking due to the fact he desires to flow a large amount of cash out of his account. After providing an expired credit score card variety, Ted gives the scammer a real one—or, at a minimum, one that sounds proper enough for the scammer to begin verifying Ted’s birth date and other data. All at once, Ted claims to be hot and irritating and says, “I want to take off my pants; it’s way too hot.” next, he tells the scammer to deal with him less formally.

“You don’t have to keep calling me ‘sir,'” Ted said. “I mean, we’ve been on the smartphone an hour and 50 mins together. My friends call me ‘Cinnamon.’ if you want to name me Cinnamon, that’s quality.” (The scammer starts calling Ted “Cinnamon.”) Once the scammer says, Ted will pay $seven hundred to repair his laptop and for ongoing support, Ted tells him to feature $50 for himself because of how helpful he’s been. The scammer happily accepts the tip… simply before Ted concludes with a brutal, “Thank you for two hours of it slow, you dumb motherfucker,” and hangs up the telephone.