Support Scam Poll

Apologies if you're bored with my banging on about PC support scams, but it seems that there are plenty of people who aren't. At any rate, some of my previous blogs on the subject have attracted more comments than any of my blogs on other topics, and in fact, I've learned a great deal from some of those comments over the past two or three years.

And now I see that the Internet Storm Center is running a poll on Fake Tech Support Calls. The organization says:

We are trying to better understand how common "Fake Tech Support" calls are, and what they are trying to achieve. If you received a call that claims to provide tech support, or another service, only to extract information from you or to trick you into installing malware on your system, please use the form below to report any details.

None of the fields are mandatory, and you don't have to log in. The questions include the following:

  • Was the call automated or did a person call you? [In my experience, there’s more often than not a pause when I pick up the phone, suggesting that dialling is automated and the scammer picks up when he sees there’s a response. Of course it would be fairly difficult to automate the actual conversation…]
  • The gender of the caller, the language they used, and whether they had a strong accent.
  • Details of any URL they asked you to visit, and whether they asked for remote access.
  • Whether they identified the organization they were calling from,
  • Whether they asked for credit card data and/or other personal information.
  • The phone number of the caller

Actually, it was Martijn Grooten of Virus Bulletin who pointed this page out to me: he and I, along with Steve Burn and Craig Johnston, are working on a paper on the topic to be presented at Virus Bulletin in September. We're in the process of establishing contact with the researchers at ISC who are working on this in the hope of exchanging information, and would encourage you to fill in the questionnaire, if you have experience of the scam. But I'm still also extremely interested to hear of your experiences through the ThreatBlog, so keep the comments coming!

ESET Senior Research Fellow

Author David Harley, ESET

  • jack

    2 hrs, ago I got a call from a person
    1. was in a call center and was indian or pakistani from his strong accent
    2.They tried after 15 min of having me do crap on my computer to link them with remote access.
    3. He kept insisting he was with Microsoft tech support.
    4. the phone number was : 206-456-066
    5. Had me look at files and told me they were infestated malware.  Had me look at my cdin to prove he was really from Microsoft. 
    6. Had me go to: ; That was when I stopped it all and hung up.  He was VERY persistent.

  • Robert Maine

    Twice in a week (2 weeks) ago I received an online notice (seemingly from Eset) that I was now to upgrade to Eset Version 5 (was using V. 4.xx for last 9 mos.). That seemed odd, as typically a version upgrade would require payment to do so. I almost bit, but resisted.  The requests stopped and I see nothing on the Eset website discussing such an offer. Appears they targeted Eset users (somehow ID'ing what was installed on remote PC's) to try breaking in the front door. Were it not for dialogues such as yours, and "keep alert" articles around, I'd have succumbed, too.  Thanks for your work.

    • Aryeh Goretsky


      ESET North America has been sending out notifications over the last couple of months to home users of its Version 4 products to let them know that their free upgrade to Version 5 is available. Unlike some other companies, ESET does not charge for upgrades: You are free to use any supported version of a product while your license is valid. For ESET NOD32 Antivirus and ESET Smart Security, that means Version 3, 4.x or 5. If you ever have a concern about whether a mailing from ESET is valid or not, you can always contact our customer service department. Thanks for checking in, though!


      Aryeh Goretsky

    • David Harley

      Hi, Robert.

      Was that some sort of pop-up notice, or an email?

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