by Nick Taylor
If you have caller ID, note this number: 516-635-4085. That’s supposed to be in Brookhaven, New York, but it’s not. If somebody calls from that number, crank up your scam alert antenna
The caller may say his name is Travis or Dave, but he speaks with a South Asian accent and is calling from a telephone boiler room with a lot more voices in the background. He’ll say he’s calling from Microsoft to tell you that there’s something wrong with your computer.
The first few times I got this call I said I didn’t use Microsoft and hung up. They kept coming, and I ignored them. They still didn’t stop, and I finally decided that ConsumerMojo’s users should hear what’s going on with this scam.
Here’s the full extent of the foolishness that these folks are attempting to foist on gullible people. It’s one of the the latest versions of the Nigerian prince’s widow needing your help and bank account info.
The conversation Travis and I had went like this:
Travis: “Our server has sent you a lot of updates regarding the system driver and you have not responded to any of them, so your system driver has stopped functioning.”
Travis: “The system driver of your computer is not working in a proper manner.”
Me: “What can I do about it?”
Travis: “Are you at your computer?”
Travis told me to look at the lower right hand corner of your screen. To allay the suspicion he may have heard in my voice – or perhaps derision — he said, “So I am just guiding you, and you are correcting it yourself.”
Well, there was nothing relevant to his quest in the lower right hand corner of my screen and a few seconds later he hung up because I was asking too many questions.
The same calls were coming on my cell phone several times a day and as early as 7:30 in the morning. That was until I engaged that day’s Travis in a conversation. I heard his pitch and said,
Me: “So you’re calling people and hoping they’re stupid enough to turn over control of their computers so you can download their personal and banking information.”
He said something about my insulting him.
“That’s not an insult,” I said. “I’m just stating facts.” Then that Travis hung up, too, and I haven’t had any more calls from 516-635-4085 on either my cell phone or my landline.
Maybe that’s the best way to get rid of those calls once and for all – talk to them, waste their time, let them know you know what they’re up to, and get a place of honor on a Do Not Call list they’ll pay attention to.
Microsoft knows about these scam calls and says scammers may try to:
- Trick you into installing malicious software that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords.
- They might also then charge you to remove this malware.
- Convince you to visit legitimate websites (like www.ammyy.com) to download software that will allow them to take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
- Request credit card information and bill you for phony services.
- Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.
Microsoft also warns that they may call you and claim that they represent:
- Windows Helpdesk
- Windows Service Center
- Microsoft Tech Support
- Microsoft Support
- Windows Technical Department Support Group
- Microsoft Research and Development Group or Microsoft R & D
The FTC took legal action against Indian boiler room scammers in 2012, but apparently a new generation of Indian scammers continues the tradition of targeting computer users in the U.S., the U.K. and other English-speaking countries.
In New York staffers at the Better Business Bureau posted a scam call that they received so you can hear it.