Jon Brodkin -Dec 5 2012
How Windows tech support scammers walked right into a trap set by the feds
When the FTC announced its crackdown on the tech support scammers, the agency played a recorded undercover call but otherwise didn’t spend much time talking about how they tracked the defendants down in the first place. Court documents the FTC subsequently sent our way show that it was rather easy. Or, more precisely, once the difficult groundwork of tracking down the scammers had been laid, the scammers walked right into the FTC’s trap, as gullible and helpless as the victims whose bank accounts they raided.
FTC press release 10/03/2012
FTC Halts Massive Tech Support Scams
Tens of Thousands of Consumers Allegedly Tricked Into Paying for Removal of Bogus Viruses and Non-Existent Spyware, and Allowing Scammers to Remotely Access their Computers
The Federal Trade Commission has launched a major international crackdown on tech support scams in which telemarketers masquerade as major computer companies, con consumers into believing that their computers are riddled with viruses, spyware and other malware, and then charge hundreds of dollars to remotely access and “fix” the consumers’ computers.
At the request of the FTC, a U.S. District Court Judge has ordered a halt to six alleged tech support scams pending further hearings, and has frozen their assets.
“The FTC has been aggressive – and successful – in its pursuit of tech support scams,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz. “And the tech support scam artists we are talking about today have taken scareware to a whole other level of virtual mayhem.”
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Kaspersky Lab Expert
I’m pretty sure that most of you guys know about the recent phone scam which is circulating right now. They have been calling a lot of people in countries such as Germany, Sweden, the UK and probably more. The scam is pretty simple; they pretend to be from a department within Microsoft which has received indications that your computer is infected with some malware. They will then offer (for free) to verify if this is the case. If the victim agrees on this, they will ask the victim to perform certain actions, and also type certain commands, which will trick a non-experienced used that the output is actually showing that the computer is infected.
I just want to mention that there is no such department at Microsoft, and they would never call up customers offering this. So if you ever get a call ‘from Microsoft’ stating that there are some indications that your computer is broken or infected – please hang up!
Well, they have called me several times, and finally Ii got fed up with this and started to play along. At the same time I had my virtual machines running and was recording everything that they were doing. The goal was to find out who they were and exactly what the scam was. Luckily I was able to get hold of information such as their internal IP addresses, the PayPal accounts used to wire money and the numbers they are calling from.
Tech support phone scams
Fake Product Support
Mousing over the hyper-linked text of > ID, Transaction Details, Help Center Security Center, revealed: http://agenda.fatbeardstudios.com/avail.html