ZLABS‎ > ‎000 You Start Here‎ > ‎001 SECURITY‎ > ‎Telephone‎ > ‎Unwanted Calls‎ > ‎

Phone Scams

Updated 07/13/2017

    Phone scams are reported to be in decline due to the costs but they are still
    active and looking for someone who will follow their persuasive line.

      IRS                                                   Popular anytime of the year as callers, using a human or
                                                              synthesized voice, inform you of delinquent taxes and
                                                              demand you call them to make arrangements for a specific
                                                              dollar amount. Trying to trace the number is not going to do
                                                              any good as these are often numbers hi-jacked.

                                                              First:     IRS is required by US Law to make notification via the
                                                                           US Postal Service. They don't call first and only call after
                                                                           repeated efforts to "get you engaged", 

                                                                           If you are in question whether this COULD be a legitimate
                                                                           matter, call the IRS' Toll-Free number that is listed in the
                                                                           phone book or on the IRS.gov website.

                                                             Second:  There is none.  The First is the end to their phone call.

      Pick one: real or fictional                 This scam involves using a credit card, debit card or providing other
                                                             means to receive your payment. Consider where the "charity" is based
                                                             at and if this makes sense: like the "Police Wounded Officers Trust"
                                                             based just outside Las Vegas, NV. The Better Business Bureau tracks
                                                             scams and other actions on their website nationally. While it is illegal
                                                             to default on promised contributions to a charity, it is not illegal to
                                                             refuse to pay a criminal operation. If you ask them questions and
                                                             feel like you're receiving a "story" or "runaround", just hang up.

      Everyone's in the Market                  "Hello.  My name is Argentius with <insert big company name here>
      to be paid to fix a non-problem      and I see report you computer is with serious problems.  You must
                                                             have me fix problems for you. We must start now as data may be
                                                             lost or stolen now!"

                                                             The script varies but it's all the same. Your computer has serious
                                                             problems threatening destruction or exposure of data if not the
                                                             loss of the computer and they are ready for your credit card payment
                                                             to start saving your computer.

                                                             Things to think about before handing over your Credit
ard number try this conversation with your caller:

                                                                1. What company are you with?
                                                                    Often Microsoft is given. Microsoft doesn't call home customers.

                                                                2. What monitoring service has alerted you to this problem?
                                                                    Often Microsoft or McAfee are cited which do not monitor home
                                                                    computers for faults or intrusions.  So how does the caller know?
                                                                    If you think a company, no matter the size, is quietly connecting
                                                                    to your computer for a "health check", surprise, that ain't so.

                                                                3. Which computer is at risk?
                                                                    Nearly it is always Windows 10, the most recent release from
                                                                    Microsoft. So you ask what is the Serial Number of the computer
                                                                    as you have multiple computers?
 This is where the fun begins.

                                                                    Their script has no "Plan B"; they will repeat Windows 10.  Ask
                                                                    again for the Serial Number as that is part of the Windows code,
                                                                    and again you are told the Windows 10 computer.  You can now
                                                                    accept their answer but ask is this one of my laptops, desktops
                                                                    or Servers and who is the manufacturer so I know which one to
                                                                    help you with?  They do seem to have a policy not to answer the
                                                                    same question three times before they hang up on you. Guess
                                                                    there is a quota system or something they have to meet.

                                                                    At this point you can press various touch-tone keys on your
                                                                    phone and indicate the call is being traced.  That ends their call.
                                                                    You don't have to say by whom or using what via what method. 

      Anything may be claimed!                      Some scams will claim areas of your computer are at risk putting
                                                                    the entire computer at risk of loss or exposure. Do you know
                                                                    where the Memory Routing Switch is on your computer?  IF not,
                                                                    don't worry as there is no such thing. But they may 
give you that
                                                                    line to get you into a panic state and you rapidly get your Credit
                                                                    Card out.  Don't become a victim.