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My dad got taken by the "Hello this is Microsoft Support calling" scammers. They quickly got him to approve a remote connection to his machine and then they showed him a random registry entry as "proof" that his machine was infected with a virus. Which they just so happened to have the anti-virus for, for $300.

Dad was computer savvy, but by this point he was 80 years old and they flat-out took advantage of him. He had to mail me the machine so I could reload it.

Please - teach your parents to just hang up on these clowns. And to kill the browser process when they get popups trying to cause fear & doubt.

My great aunt was taken by the same scam twice. The second time even after I told her it was a scam. After the second time I locked her account down on her PC to not have install or remote desktop permissions and I had the only admin access. She only read email and chatted on skype with her grandkids. So she never felt the restrictions but it eliminated the problem of her giving access to these scammers.

> Please - teach your parents to just hang up on these clowns.

That was the other thing. It was impossible to get my grandparents to do this. I think I eventually got them to let the answering machine answer and not return calls for messages from anyone they didn't recognize.

What would be nice is a service that just forwards unknown calls to someone competent.

Or just blocks them?

Because I'd like to think I'm 'someone competent', and on my own phone I only accept (non-personal) calls that I'm expecting, or can see a reason for.

Maybe this is a new angle for Google Voice or similar services. Protect vulnerable members of your family with a fail-safe auto-attendant system with approval rules.

It's not fully automatic and I'm sure scammers will come up with new scripts to still trick people into answering.

Over time it should allow Google to flag numbers as potentially being a scam, marketing, etc based on other users flagging a caller. Saves Googling for that information which is what I currently do with an unknown number. The only risk is spoofing/false positives putting your number on some blacklist.


Or live monitoring -- mention money or bank accounts and Google Voice contacts a family member, or cuts off the call, or ..?

Troy Hunt took on one of these groups years ago and let them loose in a VM to see what they did.

Their initial contact


When he called them back


They are apparently onto the VM trick now. I've heard of them checking the running processes for the virtualized network connection, etc.

There's a twitch streamer called Kitboga that messes with these types of scammers in VMs. It's pretty entertaining. He uses a voice changer and has a timer in the corner on how long he manages to keep a scammer occupied.

My mom only ever uses Thunderbird and Firefox, I've been considering converting her to Linux, which would make all of this impossible. She already knows the IRS isn't going to call her on the phone, much less arrest her.

Or, get her an ipad.

Been there, touch screens are too weird. Many older folks have been able to pick up internetting and sliding your finger on your pocket TV Library, but it's not 100%. Heck, I don't even know that I'll never lose the plot of the details and someday just have "a computer, the second least expensive one."

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