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It must be be my lucky month. I've been getting lots of calls offering to save my PC from system errors. (Sadly, this is an instance where regional "don't cold call" lists don't help, since the calls are being routed from… well, if you've been following my blogs on this topic, you can guess where.)
A few days ago, a lady who said she came from Quick Result PC Maintenance rang me to ask if my PC was running slow. When I said it was (well, it's a fairly old laptop practically overflowing with papers, articles, blog drafts etc., so I wasn't actually lying) she tried to get me to run the Event Viewer, though that took a while because I found her accent very hard to understand. When I asked some awkward questions (perhaps I shouldn't have asked how the weather is in Kolkata: I don't suppose James Bond would have been quite so direct), she passed me on to someone else who apologised for bothering me.
This morning I heard from someone who could have been her twin sister, claiming to represent a company with a very similar name. This time, she informed me that they were receiving messages from my PC, telling them that it had errors. Poor little thing: I don't know what I've done to upset it. Why does it feel it would rather talk to a call centre in India than to me?
Well, my lady friends in Kolkata can't shed any light on that: when I asked how she knew it was my machine, she told me to hold on the line for two minutes. However, she didn't put me on hold, she slammed the phone down, so rather than waste two minutes listening to a continuous unobtainable tone, I put my own phone down.
Two minutes later, I got another call, this time from Justin. He reverted to the "do you have any problems with your PC?" script, but I have a lot of things on my plate today, and was uncharacteristically blunt. He was reluctant to tell me who he represented, but eventually told me it was PC Techno Support. Of course, all these calls come with a free "number withheld" message, so I don't know for sure that any of these people were telling the truth about their employer. I feel very guilty about Justin, though. He told me that it was his first day on the job, and that he was broken-hearted to hear me use the word "scam" about his new role. He told me that he would be giving the job up immediately, and asked for suggestions as to what alternative career he might follow. After pointing out that as he obviously knew, I was nowhere near Bengal, and don't work in recruitment, I put the phone down.
So what more can I tell you about this ongoing scam, which must be making Bengal a lot of money? Not much, I'm afraid: my office is really not equipped for telephone forensics, and I don't have time to mount my own sting ops.
David Harley CITP FBCS CISSP
ESET Senior Research Fellow
Author David Harley, ESET