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"Watch out for scams, people", 7th Feb 2018, 10:14 PM #1
Steven-Vincent

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Some scams have been going on a long time but people still get caught. Two of the most common one -- one happens every 6 months or so to me, and one happened to my mom last year. Fortunately she did not fall for it, but I think it was mostly due to my sister questioning it.

Scam #1 - Your PC has told Microsoft that there are errors or viruses or problems on it, and a technician has called you to fix it.

This scam begins with a phone call, usually by someone with a foreign accent, who tells you that he or she is from the MS company. They claim that your computer has sent signal messages to them and that it is going to get worse unless you fix it. They have all kinds of fancy-shmancy talk but it is all lies. If you buy their opening, they will tell you to hit some keys so that you open a run box, and then ask you to run a command that will show you all the processes running on your PC. As anyone who pays attention to task manager knows, there are quite a lot of these on any computer. They are almost always fine. The scammer will then try to get you to download an app that will give him access to your computer so he can "see what's wrong" and from there, you can imagine the trouble that can be caused. This is basically ransomware -- they are trying to get you to pay them to clean off the malware they will try and put on your machine in the first place. In extreme cases people have had their HDs wiped by these assholes. DO NOT FALL FOR IT.

You will not be called by the MS corporation. Your computer does not send them error messages that they can track to your phone #. These people have no information on your machine and are lying to you. Yesterday one of these jokers called me and told me this and I said how do you know it's my computer? He was dumb enough to tell me that they could tell from the license number. Playing along I said, "OK, tell me what my license # is." He hung up. LOL.

If you get a call like this, hang up. Do not give them any information and do not execute ANY commands they give you. They are trying to get your money, period. And they will hijack your system to do it.

Scame #2 - The "IRS" is calling you to warn about owing back taxes.

This scam begins with a call from someone claiming to be an agent of the Internal Revenue Service (in the US -- I am sure there are equivalent scams in nearly every country). This person will also, often, mysteriously have a thick foreign accent. Not impossible for an IRS agent but still, it should give you pause. He will tell you that the IRS has determined that you ow thousands of dollars in back taxes, and a summons is being issued for your arrest. If you do not pay within the next X time period (usually 24, 48, or 72 hours), you will go to jail. But if you work with him right now, he can let you off for a "fraction" of the price. Of course he will happily take your credit card.

Again this is a scam. The IRS does not approach people with phone calls -- they mail them letters. And you have way more than 24 hours to respond. And if you don't respond, the next step is not jail -- it's extremely rare to go to jail for non-payment of taxes unless you are doing Al Capone levels of criminality. Normal people who owe a few $k will just have wages garnished for a while or something. And you get to appeal and have hearings and so on. They don't just send a cop out to arrest you. Ever.

If you get a call like this, take the person's information down (if you want) and hang up. Then consult your local telephone directory and call your local IRS branch office using their official printed number (NOT the number the caller gives you). Then tell them about the call and ask if it is legit. It won't be... but if it somehow were, you are now talking to a confirmed IRS agent and they can help you sort it out.

Folks in these and other cases never, EVER give your CC or personal info. over the phone to a cold caller. Hell my Doctor's Office cold-called me for a billing issue and they asked my SSN and I refused to give it because it was a cold call. Guess what? She was able, miraculously, to access all my info. without it and still help me solve the issue. When the call ended I told her, "See? You didn't need my SSN after all." I don't think she liked it... she hung up rather loudly.

But the point is, never, ever, give this stuff out over the phone to a stranger. If your CC company "calls" you, hang up, and dial the 1-800 number on the back of the card and deal with them -- then you know it is legit. If the IRS calls you -- hang up, and call the office listed in your town's phone book. If your "bank" calls you, hang up, and call the CSR number on your bank's website, and deal with them. Cold callers can easily spoof these people but they can't man the official call centers of there real companies.

There are a lot of scammers out there. Be safe!
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8th Feb 2018, 1:32 AM #2
Ambrose_Folly

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Don't click on strange links in your e-mail and enter personal information. That is how the DNC e-mails got leaked.
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8th Feb 2018, 2:14 AM #3
killersteak
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there are these things called 'web comics' that you might be tempted to draw because hey that guy seems to be making money from one that he does, but no you wont and it is a scam dont do it you will die.
8th Feb 2018, 2:27 AM #4
Steven-Vincent

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LOL Streak. That gave me a good laugh.
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8th Feb 2018, 6:26 AM #5
junoro
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Ugh, that first one reminds me of when I was a teen and spent like 45 minutes on the phone with one of those people because I didn't have the self-confidence necessary to just hang up on someone... until my parents came home. Thankfully, I was suspicious enough to not install anything, but in the thick of things, I was pretty darn bewildered and didn't know what to do.

Next time that happened, I just hung up. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
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8th Feb 2018, 10:59 AM #6
Cooke
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You should just string them along then tell them you have a Mac. Then ask them for a million dollars.
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Got away with it.
8th Feb 2018, 1:51 PM #7
Steven-Vincent

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I've told them I have a linux machine before (partly true - I have two in my lab, but not at home).

There is a young man who has youtube videos where he records calls from these people and has them trying to poke around his unix system that has a "Windows 7" virtual machine set up on it. He reverse-hacked a couple of them and wiped their hard drives on them. LOL.
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8th Feb 2018, 1:53 PM #8
MK_Wizard

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I just don't even open them. I delete them, block them and move on with my life.
8th Feb 2018, 3:31 PM #9
junoro
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Steven-Vincent:I've told them I have a linux machine before (partly true - I have two in my lab, but not at home).

There is a young man who has youtube videos where he records calls from these people and has them trying to poke around his unix system that has a "Windows 7" virtual machine set up on it. He reverse-hacked a couple of them and wiped their hard drives on them. LOL.


I...think I need this in my life. Do you have the name of the YouTube channel?
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8th Feb 2018, 3:52 PM #10
khkddn
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Yeah could you link to that? I want to see it.

The last scam I encountered was receiving a text about a job offer to be someone's assistant. It was obviously suspicious so I googled the exact message and it turned up results about a money laundering scheme. This should go without saying but if you get a job offer via text from a random number, it's probably not real.
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8th Feb 2018, 5:40 PM #11
Steven-Vincent

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The channel name is LewisTech on Youtube. He as lots of videos:

https://www.youtube.com/user/LewissTech/videos
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8th Feb 2018, 7:04 PM #12
Cooke
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I've watched a few of them before. Quite entertaining.
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Got away with it.
8th Feb 2018, 7:28 PM #13
ZeroGee
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Scam #1 - Your PC has told Microsoft that there are errors or viruses or problems on it, and a technician has called you to fix it.
I've seen that before. Shut your PC off, restart it and run your virus scan to be on the safe side.
Usually nothing happens and your PC is fine.
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8th Feb 2018, 10:53 PM #14
E-hero Vulven
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Insurance is a scam. Casinos or not.
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8th Feb 2018, 11:35 PM #15
JC Webcomics

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The last one I got was a phone call to my landline (for the record, the landline is only used by the landlord and cold callers) where they claimed to be from British Telecom and were calling about my internet connection. BT aren't my internet provider, so I figured it was probably a scam. I'd only just woken up and hadn't had my tea yet, so I couldn't be bothered to make a snide remark, so I just hung up. Not sure what they wanted, but I'm sure it wasn't good.

I remember a lot of phishing scams made it past the spam filter at my old job, which always worried me. I would just block the sender and forward them to IT but I can imagine not everyone can spot a scam.

On the other end, the delivery company Yodel are so half arsed that I once thought the dispatch confirmation text they sent me was a scam!
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9th Feb 2018, 4:03 AM #16
killersteak
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ZeroGee:Shut your PC off, restart it and run your virus scan to be on the safe side.


Even that's overkill. It's 100% a scam. They make you open the event viewer, which logs things like the internet time being unable to sync, and say 'look at all those errors, they mean you have a virus.' No it just means there's stuff in the event viewer.
9th Feb 2018, 4:29 AM #17
WanderingJew
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They're pretty funny sometimes.
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9th Feb 2018, 7:04 AM #18
SinisterRabbit

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There's this scam that target artists on Instagram (they are in other places too).

1340 Instagram accounts (or "curators") who shills for 1340gallery.com, they flatter you to get you to submit to their website for "free publicity".

You as the artists who felt flattered decided to submit. On their submission page, it says free exposure on Instagram and other places. But if you submit they immediately asked you to pay $20-$30 for a competition submission into a magazine to gain even more exposure.

The money is not refundable if you didn't win. Even if you did, you won't get much exposure. If you refuse to give them money, they will keep pestering you.

Review on Trustpilot

They have a lot of good reviews but they could be fake.
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9th Feb 2018, 12:27 PM #19
Steven-Vincent

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killersteak:Even that's overkill. It's 100% a scam. They make you open the event viewer, which logs things like the internet time being unable to sync, and say 'look at all those errors, they mean you have a virus.' No it just means there's stuff in the event viewer.


Yup.

And because most people don't know about the event viewer, they're not likely to have gone into it and "cleared" the old errors or anything. Hell, I know about it and I don't bother. It's just a log of all the stupid errors windows produces on a daily basis.

Heck I have internet problems on first startup roughly 33% of the time -- my computer just won't find the internet (even though my cell phone, tablet, etc, are on it via the same router). This has happened across multiple computers so I know it is not just the computer. It's the crappy Time Warner Cable router. But anyway, every time that happens I'm sure multiple errors are logged. Doesn't mean I have a virus.

Don't believe these guys who call you. They are completely lying.
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24th Feb 2018, 3:38 AM #20
Kelsey -Nutty- P.

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I've seen that IRS one around a lot, and yeah. It's scary to hear the IRS is "coming to arrest you" but that is just not ever a Thing the IRS would do. They want you to pay, and they'd rather work with you to help you pay what you owe before they start taking things or toss you in jail. Anyone who claims to be from the IRS and then proceeds to threaten you over the phone is most certainly a scammer.

To add to this thread, I've recently heard of scam calls from people claiming to be from Paypal, telling you there's been suspicious charges on your account and they need your password to access your account on their end to get more details. Trusted companies that you have online logins for will never, EVER, ask for your password. Same goes for phishing emails that require you to "log in" (obviously you shouldn't click on any links from suspicious emails, but to be extra sure you can double check the url, if it doesn't match the site's login page it is most definitely a phishing scam).

As a general rule for "customer service" scam calls like that, usually YOU are the one to contact any kind of customer service if you're having issues, unless you were put into a queue/scheduled to be called back later/etc.
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