Byte Me Article 322 – Scams

10th June 2017

My apologies to readers for missing the last few weeks however the paper was waiting for Telstra to return comment on some of my reports.  We have not finished with Telstra as their dubious tech support and employing of offshore labour while the make record profits needs further addressing.

This week I need to comment again on the number of scams doing the rounds.  We had a new customer drop in 2 weeks ago (let’s call him Tom) as he was on the way to a newsagency to purchase more iTunes cards.  He spotted out street sign and decided to ask us a few questions.

It appears that someone purporting to be from Telstra called Tom to talk about Internet errors on his computer.  He had indeed been having some Internet problems had had just finished a phone call with BigPond tech support – from Manila.  This new caller, also from Manila knew Tom’s name and also knew that he was having problems with his Internet.

Tom complied with the new callers instructions to give them access to his PC via a remote control Internet site and waited patiently for them to ‘fix’ things.  After sometime of seeing he mouse moving around his screen and several windows being opened and closed he caller informed Tom that his computer was locked down and that he needed to pay money to have it unlocked.

The called suggested that Tom had picked up a bad virus and they were his saviour!  All he had to do was to go out and purchase some $100 iTunes cards and read them the unique number off the back of each.  In this case they asked for 17 of these cards!  Not realising quite yet that he was being scammed Tom indeed purchased the cards and read the unique numbers off all of them when the same caller rang back.

Next thing the caller was telling Tom that the virus was more complex than initially thought and that he would need to purchase another 14 cards.  It was on his way to get these that Tom decided to visit us.

Since the scammer had been given complete access to Tom’s computer there was also some chance that they had his credit card details from looking at his sent items emails.  I gave Tom the use of my office and our phones after looking up the contact details for his 3 banks so that he could notify them and check on any recent credit card activity.

Tom then brought his computer to us and we kept a copy of all his files and then reformatted his PC.  This removed any trace of hacking or back door software and made it run better than ever.  We then put all of Tom’s files back and let him go home with a normally operating PC at about a quarter of the cost of the 14 more iTunes cards that he was about to purchase.

We have also heard from other customers that have received scammer calls from off shore just after they had been talking to BigPond support in Manila – so you have to ask the question.  Is Telstra paying their Manila staff so much money that they are not tempted to sell customer details to their brother/friend who happens to work for a scamming group?

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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