And so on. If you call them yourself and actually follow their instructions, installing something from some site into an isolated, disposable VM and then running it, you can record what happens and then build that into a better script. Trigger these instructions by asking them what they can do to fix your computer, and time their response. Bonus points if you can detect them saying "http" which kicks off that part of the script.
The longest I've had them on the phone is 20 minutes. He's one of my favourite recordings though
It's funny, someone pointed me at this thread because I sort of sound similar to the OP's site.
I love it when the person yells at me for wasting their time.
The different shops that have called me all follow a similar set of attacks
1) windows key
2) run command to msconfig
3) browser to download payload.
I had a 'supervisor' on the line once and when they asked me to connect to the internet I'm pretty sure I heard them curse at me with incredulity as I played the 56K dialup sound.
I once got them down a conversation cul-de-sac when I asked them which they preferred - Minesweeper or Solitaire.
That is some comedy GOLD right there.
Yeah they always use the prompt to get to the admin panel with the list of errors and logs to prove there's an issue. I always act nervous. "There's a lot, Is it that bad?", and they respond with "don't worry sir, we're going to get it fixed for you".
Edit: you said in another post further down it was a recording.
I did put some music on in the background so they might have enjoyed that.
I lost it at the end when you played the modem sound.
Also asking how to spell romeo was hilarious.
I've had this plan for a while to get to the point where a 'generator' fails and I get to play the most awesome sound of someone firing up an old helicopter (i.e. restarting the 'generator'
It didn't get that far on that call. My thinking is that I was on a farm and one of the goats would chew through a power line.
For the next call I'm going to be on a construction site. I really want to play that helicopter noise...
My brother did something like this once. Every time the guy told him to do something he just said it was reeeeeeallllyyyy slow. He also started with "hang on, I have to turn it on, its a bit slow starting...". He kept the guy on the phone for about 30 minutes before telling him he had a mac :-P
The second one features this woman who starts arguing with her teenage daughter in the background at length, then says to the guy "Oh my god I'm so distracted, I didn't hear anything you said, I'm really sorry, you're going to have to repeat all that."
What a brilliant strategy to tie them up.
But for these scammers i'd go with something more targeted: old people. Thier prefered prey is flustered old people who dont understand computers. Give them an old woman with bad hearing who mumbles about her internet not working. Then toss in a few "do you take visa" and some random numbers. That will keep them on the hook.
Does anyone know if any scammers have ever been "brought to justice" in India. Ever?
Seems like something that should be a high priority for the Indian Govt. if they want to help with India's image abroad, especially with the tech sector.
It's not just the Indian government that is lackadaisical about this either. He is able to run ads for tech these support scams through Facebook and get ROI above 500%. Facebook eventually stops his ads, then he buys another ad account. In fact, he claims a single aged Facebook account is worth roughly $10,000 to him (aged accounts have an easier time getting ads through). He spends well into the six figures each year on these types of ads through Facebook alone. Ad platforms share some of the blame for the proliferation of these scams because they simply do not police their platforms well - the tactics he uses to get these ads through their review process are truly elementary but are good enough to foil a company full of PhD's. Clearly they aren't trying very hard.
I'm reminded of the Upton Sinclair quote, It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!
> he ... is one of the most knowledgable paid Facebook advertising specialists on earth, which is how I came to know him
> the tactics he uses to get these ads through their review process are truly elementary
I'm not a marketer or advertiser myself, but I'm always interested in learning more about these aspects of the Facebook "scene" just to better mentally map the state of things.
Sounds like a lot (if not most) of the things this person has learned are the kind that only keep working if you're quiet about them, but I'm still very curious to hear what could be shared.
Cloaking isn't perfect, but for those marketers with enough IP data, it is effective enough to make these kinds of campaigns enormously profitable and the occasional loss of accounts only a minor inconvenience.
(though to be fair it's completely legitimate to have landing pages that change their text based on the user's location, referrer, etc., so that wouldn't be a silver bullet).
So your assumptions are incorrect.
People share stuff in the internet marketing industry/this niche, just like other industries. It's how things work.
It's a variation on the theme. They call Americans and impersonate the IRS, demanding payment of some imaginary taxes owed. A remarkable number of people have been gulled.
For sure. There is a similar scam where "Microsoft Tech Support" calls people who they have detected have a virus on their computers. They have called me many times and I always play along to try and waste their time as much as possible. I know it equally wastes my time, but it is for the greater good! Then when they figure out they get angry at me and yell obscenities. :)
Good luck with that.
It's remarkably effective at wasting telemarketers' time. I once received a tech support scam call and I managed to conference in Lenny right at the start. The call lasted 40 minutes; they kept shuffling Lenny around to different people so it took forever for them to realize it was looping.
Now whenever I get a telemarketer call on my cell--illegal in the U.S., but no one seems able to do anything about VoIP calls from India--I rush to conference in Lenny and hope it "takes". Sometimes they stay on the phone but usually they disconnect. Lenny's starting to become famous!
The next phase in this war is speech recognition. If the answer bot can pull out a key word like "Windows" or "virus" and repeat it back to the telemarketer ("Virus? I have a virus? Oh, what do I do?"), it is highly likely to pass the Turing test and waste an extra ten minutes of the poor scammer's time.
I know "he's" been around for a while, and runs on a purely manual random delay system, but I wonder if Lenny could be updated with modern technology, to do a bit of rudimentary voice recognition for better interaction with the scam caller?
I know that his existing script is very cleverly generic and timed to work in with most telemarketing scripts, but I think if it was improved just a bit more, we could end up with quite a convincing respondee that would burn up more scammer time, and hopefully make a small dent in the enthusiasm of these con artists...
So it can insert "u-huh" whenever the salesman is done talking.
Yes, there was one when the caller realised that he is a recording.
The next level up would be a trusted-user system where you could go to a website, hit a button and immediately be connected with an actual scammer; or you could listen in on other people currently in calls and suggest things they should do next. And maybe there could be a pool of VMs available to play with...
Regardless of technique - fake recordings or various types of routing - I would advise making friends with all the high-level VoIP gateways. That way you won't have any problems batch-establishing hundreds of calls at once (for example if you know all the numbers for a call center and you know what time the, er, staff get in), getting a new number block, or even getting general caller ID override (which I understand is sometimes unavailable?).
My thinking here is that if you can win over a bunch of providers (with money and inspiration/sentiment), you could VoIP-DDoS the gateway providers the scammers are using. Would tie up the scammers' time moving to a new VoIP provider.
I recall reading that the "fake IRS" crew had started working around this by telling people to buy iTunes gift cards, but it would be a start.
In that case we can be pretty sure the number is correct.
The problem is when people send you numbers or emails of legitimate people, because now you're basically DDoSing their phone number for free. How is this service planning to vet these numbers?
And in one case the spammer was aware of your site!
Maybe you can hide from Google with the appropiate robots.txt so the last one doesn't happen.
That second one is hilarious, though :P
The long and short of it, the Indian scammer ends up setting a SysKey password and a bios password on his machine. He's using his bosses' machine, and it appears to be the domain controller.
The scammer ends up crying and screaming at the guy and out of terror and rage, ends up hanging up.
Normally, I would be like "I feel bad for this guy". Nope not at all. Bloody scammer got what he deserved - a taste of his own medicine.
- Scammer volunteers the information that he's "using his supervisor's computer". This increases the emotional satisfaction of watching the video but seems unmotivated.
- Scammer sounds like he's suppressing laughter at one point.
- Scammer follows the guy's instructions in the first place and continues doing so.
- Some of his lines seem to have an oddly flat affect, as if he were doing bad acting.
This is incredibly fake. The end REALLY drives it home.
It's probably wrong.. But these people are extra-legal. The US can't touch them. The Indian government doesn't care... and they bring in US money to their country along with tax revenue.
I also came to understand over time that the reason we kept having run ins with scammers was because we were running a shady ISP/hosting and telemarketing business that had a significant portion of customers who were scamming their own customers. If it always smells like shit there might be some on your shoe. It was an important lesson and now I pay a lot more attention to how my employer gets money and who they get it from.
On a lighter note we won tickets a couple times calling radio stations. We felt pretty bad about cheating like that so we never did it again but it was pretty effective as long as you had a couple butts in seats to deal with the "sorry you're not the 9th caller" pickups.
Time to put cell jammers inside of PCs that get activated with UAC is up?
But I believe that it's illegal to operate cell phone jammers, unless you're the government. And for good reason; it's wonderful that you prevent someone from being scammed, but if I'm attacked by a mugger near an ATM, I'd rather like to call 911.
I don't think the problem has a solution, sadly.
You call and they either charge you for "support," when they instruct you to delete some files from your event log or something benign or they direct you to install a program that gives them remote access to your computer so they call install malware or ransomware or steal all your files.
After the Dell breach they got even more convincing "This message is for John Doe, this is Dell, we are calling in regards to your Dell Inspiration 1234 with serial number XXXXXXXX."
Sometimes it's a person on the other end instead of a recording but I can't imagine a cold call that requires computer access would be very effective because how many people are going to be sitting in front of their computer at that time? They will almost always instruct you to call back.
An very old pre-internet scam is "you've won a free vacation call 888-888-8888 to claim it." When you call they ask you to pay taxes on your vacation then they run away with the money you paid in "taxes."
He directed me to site support95 .com. Apparently, there is a similar site called support18 .com. From there he told me to download an exe file. That was where I stopped. I did not know what would further happen.
If anyone wants to try it: Call 18005589204.
Tell him you got a voicemail of someone from Microsoft saying something about license expired. I would love to know what ultimately happens.
I have had several family members and colleagues being called by them over the years - some multiple time, but so far I've never received a call from them. I actually can't wait for one of them to call me. My intent is to string them along on the phone for as long as I can with the reasoning that every minute he is wasting with me is a minute that he can't scam an unsuspecting person...
"Ok. Please press the Windows key"
"Ok (long pause)"
"Did you press it?"
"Ok... Nothing. Does it matter that I don't have a windows?"
"Oh you have Mac?"
"No, I have Ubuntu"
"Ok, what version?"
"I don't know!? You're the computer person. Why don't you know?!"
The best part is that she was sitting on the couch the whole time.
"Oh, so you're not running Windows?"
"I never said I was. YOU called me and claimed I was running it!"
"Oh, so you're not running Windows?"
"I don't know?"
"Do you have a Mac?"
"I don't know, what's a Mac? I have a computer."
"Where did you buy your computer from? Apple?"
"Idk, my daughter gave it to me."
"What does it look like?"
"It has a TV screen, mouse, and keyboard?"
Some of the caller ID numbers are forged, but at least the one from +1 (234) 567 890 was obviously so.
If you've not seen it before, you might enjoy Troy Hunt's video stringing along one of the scammers:
Also every office phone I've ever had has caller ID.
You know how all Telstra passwords used to be Bigpond1?
Well I changed back to Telstra a few years ago, and had a third party ring me trying to get me to switch over to some service. Anyway I had way too much time on my hands so I talked to her for ages, and asked them where they were and the weather and stuff but whenever they asked for some Id stuff I'd say that I don't give that over the phone to people who have called me, they have to give me some proof they're from the company.
Anyway she knew my address and my last months spend. So they had been spamming bigpond account logins with bigpond1 to get access to all the account verification details... then if you fell for it they wound switch your number over, they had some basic billing information so xould find your bank account, and then the endgame is drain your account.
Tried telling Telstra and the customer support guy couldn't have cared less; but I think the default is slightly more random now so might have closed it.
Imagine that. It affected a lot of people; I don't think there are all that many that cracked the problem. Telstra could be up for a lot of money if a few people who lost got together
Same for telcos. Make it mandatory and watch them scramble to fix their shitty infrastructure.
Instead of fining them money when they fail to implement the law's requirements make them have to cut everyone's subscription charges in half until they do follow the law to the letter or face the SWAT teams.
I don't get many "Windows Support" scam calls, the two I have gotten I was unable to play them for long, as I am a poor Linux user, not Windows knowledgeable at all, but I generally keep the "Card Services" people on the line for a few minutes.
I still think it would be difficult to even reach that target %. As much as I would like to waste their time, I'm strapped for time myself. There would need to be a way to receive a call on your phone and send it to the honeytrap in two 'clicks', where it plays scripted responses in the background.
If we reached that magic percentage, I think they could have a counter. They could discourage this by using targeted harassment. Someone screws with them, they send a mass of random calls over the course of a day.
I think the boiler rooms are actually seperate organizations/crime clans. The boiler rooms do screen, but not universally. After years of being "Edward Snowden" and giving out fake card numbers that pass the Luhn checksum, only maybe 25% of the boiler rooms cut me off. A few days ago, the "service rep" had a bad headset and I could hear a recorded voice telling him to hang up, which he did.
Even Trump's FCC would have to deal with targeted harassment. That's the kind of crap that nobody puts up with. Besides that, harassment calls probably ruin the NSA's data retention practices, so that just can't happen.
I think, anyway. Spent five minutes reading the post and other parts of the blog, and dimly recall seeing something from this project posted previously. Happy to be proven wrong.
But it's late, and I'm too tired to read the rest of his blog posts.
That said, I fire attacks at script kiddies in the clear from big server providers including DigitalOcean and OVH, so I suppose as long as the attackee can't really complain legally, you might be okay.
Absolutely love this guy. Can't say it enough.
So this bot would just dial back at innocent victims whose numbers were unknowingly used by the scammers.
You can't attack other people like that on HN, regardless of whether they also broke the rules. You owe better to the community here.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13597588 and marked it off-topic.
The video, the guy mocks the Indian scammer with repeated lines like "Not goot, not goot at all" in a very Midwestern->faux Indian accent. Think Apu on "The Simpsons".
And no, making fun of someone because of their nationality and origin language just isn't cool. Maybe it was 60 years ago, with killing Commies and Japs and Niggers. I'd like to think that most of us are past that brutish "ideal"..
Then again, with commentary of 'Please go back to tumblr until you develop the required reading skills to participate on HN.', they certainly have demonstrated more skills in understanding content than you have. Perhaps it ought to be you who "goes back wherever someone else thinks you came from?, no?