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Strange phone call....

(58 Posts)
crimson Wed 22-Feb-12 10:23:50

As ever, on my day off when I'm having a lie in I get a phone call early in the morning [well, early by my standards]. Was from an Indian call centre saying I have a 'malicious junk folder' [or something like that] and, he will talk me through getting rid of it. I pointed out that my computer was switched off and takes ages to switch on and that that I was barely awake; asked if he was from AOL and he said something about microsoft. Told him to phone back another time and thought I would email AOL for advice. Phoned 1471 and it was 'number withheld'. Now, my computer is running very slow at the moment, but that's not unusual in this area. I did say to him 'how do I know you're not getting me to PUT a virus into my computer?' Any thoughts on this? Interesting to see if he does call back but, to be honest even if he did 'talk me through' what I had to do I could hardly understand what he was saying anyway. I do feel sorry for the employees in these call centres, as they're only doing their job but I do struggle to make sense of them [my bank is the worst].

Zephrine Wed 22-Feb-12 10:30:34

This is a scam Crimson, my friend had a call like this a couple of weeks ago, she let them run on threw in some interesting "ohs" and "ahhs" and then told him "well that's very strange because I don't have a computer" He put the phone down.

Ariadne Wed 22-Feb-12 10:39:04

There's a thread on these calls somewhere; they are a big scam!

crimson Wed 22-Feb-12 10:39:51

Thanks Zephrine. I should have said [my mum's favourite saying] 'I may be cabbage looking but I'm not green'. That would have really confused him.

crimson Wed 22-Feb-12 10:48:36

Ariadne; I just googled it and yes, this in an ongoing problem with elderly [confused moi?] people being particularly susceptible to falling for it. Supposedly it takes over an hour to 'install' whatever it is and they then charge you a couple of hundred quid. First thing in the morning, not having had my cup of tea, I would have keeled over after 20 minutes.....

Elegran Wed 22-Feb-12 11:03:02

This is a VERY popular scam at the moment. Several threads on it on Gransnet. There must be a grapevine of "latest ways to diddle the public" because it seems to be individuals, not an organisation.

They phone you out of the blue, tell you they are from Microsoft Windows Technical Team, or some such fictitious entity , and that they have reason to believe you have a virus. Then they take you through a lengthy procedure to get rid of it, which involves you doing things in parts of the system you ought to leave well alone. Then they charge you, taking your credit card details.

After that they say you can take out a maintenance contract so that it will never happen again, taking more from your credit card.

Finally they leave you feeling so happy to be safe from those pesky non-existent viruses - until you discover that they are now able to dip into your credit card at will.


Annika Wed 22-Feb-12 11:07:27

Its a scam we have had more or less the same phone call as you . Microsoft never phone anyone about computers and viruses. The only time you would have a call from microsoft would be through their customer services and then only if you had contacted them in the first place

Elegran Wed 22-Feb-12 11:11:17

This is mentioned on these threads:-

AIBU To be annoyed
TECH STUFF Phone calls from India
TECH STUFF Strange phone call...

Just cross-referencing.
I'll bump the other threads to get them up the list.

Lescombes Wed 22-Feb-12 21:13:10

Totally agree with above posts..... These scammers know that most computer users are using Microsoft and are pretty clueless plus trusting of the brand name.... I had them call me too.... I got them to do their thing, all the time knowing that I was using a computer with the Linux Lubuntu operating system behind a Linux secure wifi.... he gave all sorts of guff about this virus I had and oooh my computer was running slow... I let him continue and gain my trust.... then after 10 mins or so....I let him into a secret that I new his scam...and I was on Linux ...he hung up.... pass the phone call on to the Information commissioners site.
There are other things to worry about too..... the "pop up"s that claim your PC has issues, download this software and we will sort it..... had a friend's Dell brand Windows 7 laptop in a week ago, it was 2 months old and she had clicked one of these. It looked like a Microsoft window too as it ran every time the computer started up....however... It contained a Trojan that planted itself on the master boot record so after using a Live Linux disc I retrieved her photos & letters from the laptop ...I did as she asked and went to use the restore facility to return the Laptop to Factory settings as if it was new.
It did not work so I had to visit Dell's website to get an Image of Windows 7 and had to completely erase the hard drive and reinstall Windows.....
This Dell had McAffee Anti virus suite.....rubbish.... I have many Computers in for repair (mostly software and Windows issues in the main) and I always install Microsoft Security Essentials.....after removing the current owners Antivirus program. The main problem is Malware NOT Virus's. Just to add every computer with MS Security Essentials....has not returned to me with problems.....
My 76 yr old dad used to get tons of virus malware......I installed Ubuntu Linux on his PC....not one in 9 years.....BTW.... Linux has no virus or malware attacks...the architecture is too complex for these hackers......
If anyone wants to try Linux without Ubuntu... burn it to a CD and boot your computer ....(making sure it is enabled to boot from CD) and run it Live from the might even like it..... You can also install from Wubi (type that in google) and it will install Linux as if it is a program in windows.... if you don't want/like it....uninstall....or run it side by side with Windows........

Tosh Wed 22-Feb-12 21:26:56

We have been 'contacted 3 times' ..nearly fell for the scam the first time. ....and when they called the other day for the 3rd time I just said ...........well I'd better not repeat it !!!!!!

Ariadne Wed 22-Feb-12 21:29:19

Tosh Hello! smile

Carol Wed 22-Feb-12 21:53:44

Hi Tosh I have had a few of these calls and now if I receive a call between 2 pm and 4 pm, my family know to use my mobile not landline, as I will not answer it. If I do need to answer it, I remain silent until someone speaks and if I don't recognise the caller, I put the phone in a drawer for 10 mins then switch it off after. Anyone who knows me will soon cotton on and phone the mobile.

jeni Wed 22-Feb-12 22:01:51

Isn't it 1st party calling discontinue?

crimson Wed 22-Feb-12 23:54:21

Lescombes;I want to start buying things from the internet to save money, but am worried about my credit details being cloned. I don't have any security on my computer that I know of [my son was going to install McAffee but never did. Is this Ubuntu linux really safe? I've never heard of it [but then I haven't heard of anything technical, being a complete technophobe!]

Oldgreymare Wed 22-Feb-12 23:59:10

I take great delight in 'stringing along' such people as I reckon if I keep them tied up then they are not bothering others.
I pretend to do as

Oldgreymare Thu 23-Feb-12 00:01:53

Sorry... pressed wrong key!!

Anyway I pretend to do as they say then become 'hysterical' when my computer 'goes wrong'.... screaming down the phone. They soon hang up!

Greatnan Thu 23-Feb-12 00:25:26

Can't you sign up for telephone preference to prevent unwanted calls? I do so in France, but if the odd call gets through I just say I don't speak French.
My computer came with free anti-virus software which is updated regularly.
Do people really fall for these scams? Does anybody really believe that some Nigerian needs to launder several million pounds through their account?
I see adverts on TV for 'payday' loans at rates in excess of 1200%. How desperate would you need to be to fall for one of those?

nannym Thu 23-Feb-12 06:51:04

That's the word,Greatnan - desperate. People who are unable to get a loan from a reputable source have to go to these businesses if they have no other choice. Years ago when my children were young I had to use a "doorstep loan" company in order to buy them school shoes and ended up paying almost half the loan again in interest. Sometimes people have no choice, in my case my overdraft was up to the limit and my pride wouldn't let me ask my family for help again.

Greatnan Thu 23-Feb-12 08:16:28

nannym- my mother used to take out a Provident cheque and the 'tally man' would collect repayments every week. She never worked out the arithmetic, but paid one shilling in the pound, which didn't seem too bad, until you realised that the repayment period was only 20 weeks. Of course, that meant the 5% over 20 weeks equalled 12.5% APR at a time when the interest rate had been 2.5% for years. Some even poorer people used to buy the cheques and sell them for fifteen shillings in the pound. As always, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer.
However, even your mother's rate of 50% pales into insignificance against 1200% and I have seen some advertised at even higher rates (in small, pale coloured print, of course). I keep doing the sums but they seem so ridiculous that I am beginning to doubt my own arithmetic. Perhaps somebody can check my working: If someone borrows £1,000 over twelve months (which is what the advert is encouraging), I calculate they would end up paying back £12,000 in interest which means the monthly repayment of the interest alone would be the original £1,000. This clearly cannot be correct, but where am I going wrong?
I looked at a website about complaints against various companies and it seems that these loan sharks demand an arrangement fee of £78 before they will consider the application, which is non-refundable, and then continue to hassle people for months by telephone and e-mail.Surely none of this can be legal?

Annobel Thu 23-Feb-12 08:47:42

It seems that 'payday loans' are legal inasmuch as the interest rate is stated, albeit in very small print. The problem is that we are a financially illiterate population - a subject Martyn Lewis is constantly campaigning about. People never think in the long term about interest rates. When I was at school, we had arithmetic lessons and had to pass an exam in it. One of the things we had to be able to calculate was compound interest. I don't think this is taught in schools nowadays. Of course I have forgotten the formula but I do understand the difference between simple and compound interest.

Elegran Thu 23-Feb-12 10:40:21

crimson Reputable sites like amazon or the major retailers guard your details like Fort Knox. their reputations would be in tatters if they do not.

To buy things on a lot of sites on the internet (Ebay for instance) you can open an account with Paypal. When you pay, you go through Paypal, so your credit details are known only to them. Paypal then gets the money from the ordinary bank account that you have told them to use, and send you an email with the details.

For basic security download AVG Free from Don't be side-tracked into getting the pay version.

Greatnan Thu 23-Feb-12 11:06:46

I realise that the repayments would probably go down month by month as the capital amount owing decreased, but there would still be mind-blowing amounts of interest.
I looked at the Quickquid site, which at least spells out the costs. A loan of £50 repaid in two months by a person with an 'average' - i.e. bad - credit rating would cost £29.50 which they say is an interest rate of 2222%.

Carol Thu 23-Feb-12 11:30:08

These payday and emergency loan adverts are despicable, and credit unions have sprung up over the last 20 or 30 years to try to encourage people who have used loan sharks to save and get credit with them in their own community. They are ethically managed, and have helped many people who would otherwise still be paying the loan sharks. Using celebrities like Carol Vordeman to advertise these companies is so annoying - she professes to be maths savvy yet endorses these credit methods to line her own pockets. Totally unethical.

crimson Fri 24-Feb-12 10:40:53

Crikey; they had the gall to phone me again, so I strung them along for a while this time and asked for their phone number [which they gave]. I said 'you're going to charge me for this, are you not?' and they said 'no'.

Hattiehelga Fri 24-Feb-12 13:28:15

I just tell them I know they are not genuine and put the phone down. I love my daughter's method of dealing with all these uninvited calls - she hands the phone to her three year old daughter who prattles on and persists in asking "What's your name? Where do you live? How old are you?" The other end can be heard saying "Can I speak to your Mummy" before putting the phone down in frustration.