Posted by: David Harley | December 14, 2013

Scamming the Scammers

I just found one of those rare objects: an ESET blog article about tech support scams – Reverse charges: How one man turned the tables on PC phone scammers – that wasn’t written by me. 🙂

Actually it was written by Rob Waugh, a UK journalist who writes some excellent security-related news articles for ESET’s WeLiveSecurity blog. Like me, Rob is based in the UK, which means he was in a good position to spot an article in the Evesham Journal even before I did. The blog article by Dale Pearson on which it is based is here, and includes a video which is apparently based on an extract from his conversations with the scammers. Evidently the fact that I hardly ever get these calls any more doesn’t mean they aren’t still trying their luck with people who don’t spend so much time yanking their chains.

I’m afraid I stopped paying attention at the value-added plumbing advertisement, but no doubt it has entertainment value, and anything that wastes a scammer’s time and raises public awareness is ok by me. 😉

(And yes, I’m aware that when you read this article, you may see an advertisement at the bottom of the page. I’m not deriving any income from such advertisements, but it’s part of the price of maintaining a free blog on a WordPress site: I can only prevent it by paying a subscription fee, and while I’m happy to blog for free on security issues, I draw the line at actually paying to do so…)

Certainly my own blogs on the topic have tapped a rich vein of comments from people who’ve similarly enjoyed themselves at the expense of the scammer, and from time to time I’ve flagged similar exercises by various people. Unfortunately, there are many approaches to tech support scamming, and one conversation doesn’t tell you all the possible wrinkles. There is probably more than most people will want to know, however, at the AVIEN PC Tech Resources page, and several relevant papers on ESET’s pages, such as FUD and Blunder: Tracking PC Support Scams and My PC has 32,539 errors: how telephone support scams really work.

David Harley
Small Blue-Green World

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