My wife received a call at 1:02 PM Eastern Time today from someone with an Indian accent claiming he was from the "Windows Technical Department" calling because they noticed that our "computer is infected with some harmful viruses." The call was obviously a scam, but I picked up the phone and played along for several minutes to see what the person would try to do. He had me open the Windows Event Viewer and suggested that the entries I saw in the Application log indicated the system was infected with viruses. There will normally be a plethora of entries in the log associated with the normal functioning of a Microsoft Windows system, but I can undestand how such con artists might be able to scare someone who has never looked at such log entries before into thinking they were evidence of something being terribly wrong with his/her system. When I asked him what percentage of people he called fell for the scam, he insisted it wasn't a scam. When I asked him if he was calling from outside of the U.S. and so felt immune from prosecution in the U.S., he hung up. When I used *69 to get the calling number I found it was 315-825-8947. When I tried calling the number, I heard a recorded message stating "The person you are trying to reach is not accepting calls at this time. Please try your call again later."
When I then searched online for that number, I found others reporting receiving similar scam calls from that number, e.g., at the 800Notes page at 315-825-8947 I found reports such as "They called me 4 times. I finally picked up on the last time and it was a woman with an Indian accent claiming to be from Windows Tech Support and I immediately hung up. This is a scam."
Fifty minutes later, my wife received a similar call again at 1:52 PM from someone with an Indian accent. She informed the caller that she knew it was a scam and asked to be removed from the calling list. I used *69 again and this time I was informed that the caling number was 315-639-8222. I found that number also listed at the 800Notes site at 315-639-8222. When I tried calling that number I heard a message that "The number you have reached has been disconnected or is no longer in service."
We received two more "Windows Technical Departement" calls within a couple of hours. We were watching a series on Netflix during that period and I didn't try to check those two calling numbers with *69.
I think it was the second call where I again picked up the phone and talked to the caller who again had an Indian accent - my wife told me all four seemed to have an Indian accent. I asked where he was calling from and he told me New York. I asked him what company he worked for; he said "Windows Technical Department". I asked him if he knew what company produces Windows. He didn't answer, but attempted to continue with his spiel telling me where to click with the mouse. I tried to see if he knew anything except the spiel he had been given, but this caller wanted to stick with the spiel telling me where to click, though he eventually hung up when I told him to hold on for a minute while I went to another phone, where I was going to record our conversation.
My wife gets very annoyed by such calls; she's usually the one picking up the phone for our home phone number, which is a VoIP service from our cable provider. I haven't received such scam calls on my cell phone number, though I do get a fair number of unwanted telemarketing calls on that number, often from spoofed numbers. My wife said she frequently gets the Windows scam calls when I'm not home. A few months ago, I received a call on our home number from another scammer pretending to be from the IRS.
Our phone numbers are on the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Do Not Call list, but, of course, scammers, and many telemarketers as well, don't bother checking that list.
Coincidentally, today I read an article on the Ars Technica site titled Mobile carriers aren’t doing enough to fight robocalls, senators say. I wasn't pleased by the following paragraph in that article:
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson recently claimed that AT&T doesn't have the "authority" to implement new robocall blocking technology in its mobile network, even though the Federal Communications Commission clearly stated last year that carriers have the "green light" to offer robocall-blocking services to consumers.