Home IT Humor You should know better Extortionware PSA: Now via phone…are you effing serious?

Extortionware PSA: Now via phone…are you effing serious?

Extortionware PSA: Now via phone…are you effing serious?

This one just happened to my wife, and unbelievably, I’d not heard of this until now.  Apparently, this was big news in the UK a couple years back.

We were on the way home from Target, and my wife received a phone call from “Unavailable Number.”  Upon picking up (sometimes we’re curious), dude on the other side said he was from the “Windows Security Center at Microsoft” (NICE!) and that we have been “downloading viruses and malware to our computer.”  At this point, I picked up the phone and said – -“How do you know this?  Do you have our IP address?”  *CLICK*

3 seconds later, *RRRRRIIIING* and this time I pick it up, the same guy reads off the same script, and doesn’t notice that he’s talking to the same guy on the opposite end of the phone  – – maybe we sound the same to our friends overseas (he was from India)?

Basically, dude wanted me to sit down in front of my computer, go to a website to download some software so he could remote control and “clean up all my viruses” – likely for a huge fee.

Now, if I were at home, I would totally have entertained this a bit more with my virtual machine, but alas, we were driving.

In any case, this seems to me like it is a newer thing here in the USA, or am I wrong?  Tell your friends, colleagues (unless you hate them), associates, hide yo’ kids, hide yo’ wife, etc…be on the lookout for these jerks.  To spur on some conversation, have you guys heard of this here in the US?


  1. This scam has been very common in Australia over the past 5 or so years. It follows the same pattern outlined here in the original post. The scammers have tried the same thing with my parents (who aren’t very tech savvy). I’m surprised it’s taken this long for this scam to make it to the US.

      • No, wrong attitude. as far as i understand it, they get paid by the phone call and/or who they can convince to give them access to the PC. keep them on the line as long as possible, ask which virus are they talking about, ask how it got on your system, ask what the PC name is of the PC thats infected etc etc. basically, drag it out as long as possible (if you are willing) to see how long it takes for them to hang up on you.

        • This is a new one on me.  I have seen plenty of extortionware but over the phone.  I say this is funny as hell.  I could have so much fun with this.

    • we are in aus to and have had them call about 4 times over the last 2 years, last time they rang i told them i only owned Macs, he hung up. lol

  2. I used to get these trying to sell me car repair insurance.  I find the best thing to do is waste as much of their time as possible by acting as dumb as possible and really make them work for it.

  3. To be honest, this is the first I heard of this too. I’ve had only a couple people come to me and asking me to fix their phones (Apparently Linux users are considered magical creatures to these people). I’ve only seen a few adware problems so far, but now I know what to be expecting in the future so thank you for the heads up.

  4. I was talking to a lady who is a church secretary last week who had this happen to her as well. She was on her computer when this person called with the same M.O and SHE FELL FOR IT!

    She did what they told her to and she said one by one the icons on her desktop started disappearing! She took it to a local shop and fortunately for her the tech was able to get it running again without having to F&R the machine.

  5. They try and get you to go to a “Special Microsoft Web site” where you give them permission to remotely control your PC, then I’m guessing they install all kinds of keyloggers etc…

  6. i dont know about the US, but here in Sydney, Australia i reckon i average this phone call every 1-2 months and have been for years. Now when they call its a game to see how long it takes them to hang up.

  7. It’s been hitting Canada over the last year pretty hard. I’ve had a few of my users report it, but ironically it was their disdain for Microsoft that had them doubting the sincerity of a call to help them remove virii.

  8. This scam (as well as different variations) have been here in Canada for awhile now. I have gotten it a few times and I know I always string the annoying little bugger along for awhile before  hanging up on them.

  9. Is it sad, I want them to call me so I can spend my time messing with them?  I have 4 computers in my home, 2 of which are Macs.  I would love to start asking which computer, which virus, where on the computer it might be so I can find it myself…. AHHHHHH the ability to phuck with someone is what makes life worth living 🙂

  10. This scam has been going on in Canada for a couple years now. I even received one of these calls two weeks ago. If I had the time I would have wasted his time majorly. Unfortunately one of my clients fell for it and we had to redo all of his computer systems (simplest way to contend with the invasion).

    •  I had one of these calls and asked for their name and number – they gave me a legit name and number (not theirs) – I was hoping for information to report them.
      Unfortunately this seems to work with some people – which is why they keep calling..

  11. This scam is also being perpetrated in the UK. just a couple weeks ago it was a big thing. Customers would be ringing in to ask the bank (that i work for) why their card was declined to microsoft and I’d have to break them the bad news.


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