Last week I introduced you to the concept of the tech support scam. I only scratched the surface in that article, hitting on some of the absolute most common tactics used by support scammers. Today, I felt it good to share a video of these guys in action. Enter Carey Holzman, a computer tech with decades of experience. His YouTube channel focuses on IT support, custom computer builds, understanding of how the machines work, and more. He is certainly a computer guru, by anyone’s standards, and these scammers anger him as much as they do me.
This is a slightly older video, uploaded August 1st 2014, and while some elements of it are dated (for example, the scammers no longer use Teamviewer as often as they used to) it’s still clearly the same tactics, for the most part, that they use even to this day.
Watch the video carefully, and notice how Carey addresses things like their fake names (always a common American style name, rather than using their real names), the alerts that come up when using remote access software, and more.
Of major note is when the scammer shows the Microsoft Questions and Answer pages, mentioning the company, but refuses to click on it – the idea is that showing the company name listed anywhere on Microsoft”s website will look good and build trust, even though when it is investigated this is clearly someone asking if this company is legitimate, with the answer being “no, they aren’t.” The entire scammer method is based around social engineering, for example, the windows key +R to make a run box pop up seems like magic to a novice computer user.
Of course, it features the usual case of typed in warning messages in command lines, the csrss.exe virus lie, which as I mentioned in the last article is a less commonly used trick these days, but still does happen: Carey calls them out on it, but the scammer just wants him to read the “virus” entry of it. Of course following this up is the event viewer lie, to which Carey calls their bluff on.
Unlike most people who call scam companies, Carey is acting like a proper tech support person, and calling them out, rather than pretending to be a novice like the average caller does. Of note he goes into cultural discussion since the support scammers who are calling him are clearly Indian, which they deny, turning the conversation back to the computer in a hostile tone. The conversation darts back and forth between paying for the computer support and cultural discussions, including talking about how well known tech support scams are in the States.
Of course, the scammer never lets up. Enough talking about the video though, check it out for yourself. It’s a long one, so grab a drink and relax.