HI all – I just wanted to let you know that this is definitely a scam and the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission) is investigating very seriously, and was keen for any info I could give them. Australia is one of the few countries in the world with laws that could actually do something about this (I'm not going to comment about the rights issues of these laws, as they aren't relevant here) so it's worth giving them a call.
The number to call them on is 1300 302 502 or there's an electronic complaint form (for international scams) here: http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/content/...reate/index.ph tml?contentTypeName=scamwatchComplaint&informa tionSpaceI temId=tag.ScamwatchReportAScam&inPop=1&ret urnUrl=.&a mp;a mp;a mp;type=Other
When I got the call last week I immediately sensed a scam and so said I was the one who used the computer most, pulled the wifi dongle out of the HTPC and booted it up (so I wasn't on a networked machine) I did my best impression of a computer illiterate up to the point when they wanted me to "connect to their tech's computer"
Here are some gems of quotes from my experience (I opened up wordpad and tapped away – I type fast lol)
Me: But I have Anti Virus and Trojan software
Him: Yes, madam but these will not be detected by that software because it is WASTE PRODUCT FROM THE INTERNET [my emphasis] which it cannot remove
And the real doozy... (I nearly fell over)
Him: [referring to the errors in my event log which were clearly merely update attempts while my HTPC was offline] If errors like that are left too long they can REACH THE HARD DRIVE and corrupt your whole system.
Me: [genuine shocked pause] Well... where are they before the REACH the Hard Drive?
Him: Well Madam, THEY COULD BE IN YOUR KEYBOARD OR YOUR SCREEN OR ALREADY IN THE BOX ITSELF!
I wanted to punch him then but I let him give me the company name, googled it instead of punching in the address he gave me and got him to confirm I was on the right page before stopping him. I told him that I actually know exactly what I'm doing – that the 'errors' he had me look at were NOT dangerous and that he was involved in a scam that was frightening people out of their money and he should be ashamed of himself.
Him: Thank you very much for your time Madam. [hangs up]
The thing is, I may have been unfair – there is every possibility that the operators are unaware that they are scamming people. This kid was clearly in a VOIP call centre and he could just be some kid who's been trained to ask the questions and believes he's got the best job of his life and is actually providing a service. It's his bosses that need to be 'got'.
Report as much as you can – the ACCC is grateful for any details.