Monday 2 June 2014

Technical support scam part 3

Shane phoned! He asked me about the credit card that I was supposed to have got from the Post Office and I told him that I have a postal order. I think he didn't like that.

Then we had a bit of a discussion about the cost. I brought up the £99 that he'd mentioned before, he insisted that it had to be £119, and we had quite a long discussion about that. We've left that hanging.

He talked me through starting explorer, then going to, at which point, my imaginary computer rebooted. How annoying.

So then he wanted to find out what version of Windows I was on, so we went to "Start" ... "computer" ... "properties" ... "advanced system settings" ... "settings" ... and then my imaginary computer rebooted.

While this happened, Shane gave me lots more patter - he's really good at the patter and has a great "bedside manner", repeatedly assuring me that everything will be "safe and secure".

And he heard me typing again, so I repeated the myth about using a typewriter.

So then he talked me through  "Start" ... "computer" ... "properties" ... "advanced system settings" ... "settings" ... and then my imaginary computer rebooted. Again.

So then, Shane put me on hold. I think that at this point, he's put the problem of me paying him into limbo, and he's concentrating on getting his trojan installed on my computer, but how will he do that if every time I go to one of the RAT (remote access terminal) sites, the wretched thing reboots? It's certainly a bit of a problem!

After a little while on hold, I started to get impatient, and called him "Hello, hello?".

So now he says I have to run a scan. I wonder what that means? He asked if the computer came with a CD? No it didn't. "So," he said, "the shop have made a fool of you. They should have provided a CD"

So then he asked me to disconnect the internet connection to my computer. So I asked him "How do I do that?" "Are you using broadband, wireless?"  "I'm using British Telecom".

So then he talked me through disabling connectivity to the network. And then he was surprised when we couldn't access the internet. So he tried to talk me through re-enabling access to the internet. But - guess what - that didn't work!

Eventually, I convinced him that he'd now managed to disable the internet connection. So he talked me through re-enabling it, but that didn't work, and then rebooting, but that didn't help either. And then he got a real technician involved, and between them, they talked me through re-enabling the network connection by using the Microsoft troubleshooter. Hurrah!

So then I could access the internet, and I could go to Google, so he got me to go to

And the computer rebooted.

So Shane said "Your computer is fucked". "What?" I said? He repeated the f-word. Well, that's pretty offensive, and I told him so. "There's no need to swear," I said, and then we had a bit of a discussion about that.

"You might as well throw it in the garbage," he said. "Well," I said, "I did suggest that last Thursday, and you told me not to." "Yes, because you'll have the same problem with the replacement." "So we need to fix this computer, don't we?"

Then he went into a rant. "You're an expert, you're just pretending to be stupid. You're just wasting my time!!!"


"No, I'm not," I replied. And he believed me, calmed down, and started talking me through going to again, and we rebooted again.

I suggested that Shane pass me over to the expert that he talks to when he's getting guidance (this is the reason for the silences on the line, of course). "I'm not talking to anyone." "Yes, I mean the guy you talk to when you need advice." "How do you know I'm talking to someone?" "Because I can hear you, of course." I'm pretending that he's forgotten to press the disconnect-microphone button. "He's obviously a knowledgable person, can I talk to him?"

So he handed me over to James. Who A) had an accent I could barely decipher and B) knew even less than Shane. James is the person who does the cold-calling, I spoke to him right at the start of this process, and he passes on possible prospects to Shane.  I've been downgraded! De-escalated!

 James took me to again. So I explained to him that every time Shane tried to access that site, the computer rebooted, does he still want me to go there? "Yes". And, the computer rebooted again. Duh.

I suggested that James pass me over to the expert that he talks to. He said that the technician doesn't have a headset. And he talked me through going to again, and the "computer rebooted again".

And then I got passed on to a third person, who sadly told me that they wouldn't be able to help me. "So what do I do?" I asked, plaintively.

And he hung up.

So, what have we learned?

1. These scammers can be *very* patient if they think there's the possibility of success. I'd estimate that they wasted about four or five hours on me. I, of course, was doing other stuff on my "typewriter" while all this was going on.

2. Microsoft Troubleshooting can work!

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