How many times have you received a phone call from some random number that is actually a computerized voice on the other end of the line? "Hello. This is Visa." That's normally when I just hang up.
I get them often enough that now I tend not to even answer the landline during my workday. I just let it go through to the answering machine… and the scammer always hangs up before it gets to the recording part of the message.
But on the odd occasion when I have picked up the phone, there have been times when I have gotten a real person on the other end of the line. Normally, they start by saying that they're from Microsoft and that they've detected a problem with my computer.
And this is when I tend to have a little fun.
"Well, that's interesting. Why would Microsoft be calling me when I have a Mac?" I don't have a Mac, but the person on the other end of the line doesn't know that.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I'm from Mac." And yes, I really did have some scammer try to tell me this at one point. It was beyond laughable.
"Oh… Then you might be able to help me with my Linux machine." And I was having so much fun sending that scammer around in circles.
But in the end, I got bored. "Look, dude, I know you're some asshole trying to get into my system. You can try all you'd like. It's not going to happen." Then I hung up.
The persistent bugger kept trying to call back. I'd pick up the phone and instantly hang up. But after the sixth call within a span of 15 minutes (not an exaggeration… I was counting, because I was getting ready to put in a formal complaint with my phone company and have the number blocked), I decided to let it go through to the answering machine. While my voice was giving the instructions about leaving a message, the prick on the other end of the line was shouting in his thick foreign accent: "Ma'am, you need to listen to me. There really is something wrong with your computer." And he hung up as soon as the beep indicated that the answering machine was recording the message.
The gull of some people. Yet, there are enough people who fall for the scam to make it worth their while.
Today, I want to talk about the malware scams, because all of these phone calls are about trying to deposit some malware onto your machine, so they can do damage later.