/ Technology

Your view: will we ever get rid of ‘Microsoft’ scam calls?

Toy telephone

Once again, mention of the ‘Microsoft’ scam call got you all talking this week. From funny ways to waste the scammers’ time, to deciding who should deal with this problem, we round up your responses.

In his Convo, Rich Parris talks about the sheer scale of this scam call, where supposed Microsoft support staff call you about ‘problems’ with your computer.

According to figures from Microsoft, one in five Brits have received one of these scam calls since 2010, losing an average of £745. That’s not to be sniffed at.

So who’s responsible for stamping out scammers?

This was a hot topic of debate, and different commenters had different outlooks. John Ward feels that crime prevention agencies and Microsoft should be doing their bit:

‘We must look to the crime prevention agencies to protect us from these deceptions; they should not be sheltering behind the IT industry and dragging their heels on enforcement across international boundaries. But it is only right that Microsoft should exercise more responsibility in developing systems and protocols…’

Colin is a Microsoft Certified IT technician and he argues that Microsoft isn’t to blame:

‘This is not a Microsoft issue, the callers could be calling saying they were from Apple and try something similar. The problem is people are being talked into buying computers which often they don’t need or don’t know anything about and then through lack of knowledge, fall for this scam.’

What needs to be done?

Commenter e420303639 makes a popular suggestion about one way to help combat the scam:

‘It might help if Microsoft stated on their software quite clearly that they will not call the user at any time, unless the user has arranged this with Microsoft.’

For William, it’s a government issue:

‘Surely the UK government should be talking to the Indian government as that’s where the calls seem to originate.’

Dealing with scammers

Many of you, it seems, have thought long and hard about the best way to waste the scammers’ time, like NFH, who is our Commenter of the Week:

‘I pretend to be a novice PC user and deliberately make myself sound like a technophobe. I follow their instructions and […] every few minutes, I manually make my mobile phone ring, and ask them to hold while I take the call. I mute the scammer while I do this, letting them hold for five or 10 minutes. While they’re on hold, I get on with other things so they don’t waste my time.’

Tulip Bicycle enjoys winding them up:

‘I usually answer the phone with the Spanish “Hola”, and if they don’t hang up and start the spiel I tell them that this is the Truro Sexual Health Clinic, which quickly gets rid of them.’

And Hoppingpinkrabbit has a ‘novel’ idea:

‘Reciting parts of the Bible to them can shut them up. You don’t need to explain to them the meaning behind it, just reciting parts and without stopping. Similar goes for kids’ books – if you ever wanted to experiment with using different ‘voices’, here is your chance!’

And finally…

We couldn’t finish without retelling Steve Ellis’s scammer experience:

‘On one occasion I asked the scammer if he thought I was born yesterday… he actually asked me for my date of birth. Unbelievable.’

Have you got a ridiculous scammer story to beat Steve’s? Or maybe you have your own unusual methods of dealing with these calls? On a more serious note, how did you deal with the scam if you fell for it and lost money?

Comments

That is good news William and is the first procesecution I have heard of for the Microsoft scam. The fines they are talking about though are just chicken feed and it seems his Indian call centre will continue to operate. As he is a Dubai based businessman perhaps we should return him to Dubai for sentencing.

Just had another call this morning, managed to keep the fool on the line for almost 24 mins.

He claimed in his thick Indian accent that he was calling from the states, and when I suggested it sounded more like Mumbai he didn’t even have the ability to deny it.

Kay says:
18 July 2014

I have been scammed by charity advertising phone scammers last year but no more.
I now record all calls these have included scammer calls from web finder business site which they say I agree to (I did not) tonight was the Microsoft crime prevention scammer call..I asked him where he was calling from and his real phone number he could not of course respond so I told him the call was recording and he hung up!!
oh dear why can’t they get a legal job!!!! I have reported these to action fraud and have crime numbers and the recording may be evidence if it ever comes to court.
BEST way to thwart them is to get BT to place a block on anonymous call (these calls always come through to me on Witheld numbers). I am looking forward to life without the daily phone scammers!!

This has just been reported on the BBC News website :

Four people have been arrested in the UK following an investigation into scams involving calls from fraudsters pretending to be IT support staff. It follows two years of work by City of London Police and Microsoft, who teamed up to tackle the problem. The perpetrators commonly pretend to be phoning on behalf of the US company. The inquiry indicated that many of the calls originated in India but two men and two women in England have been accused of involvement.

At last!

Your right John—at last !