Yesterday I got a call from a scammer saying that my computer was infected with a virus. If anyone ever calls you saying such a thing, it’s a scam 99.99% of the time. I’d say 100% of the time, but it might be a call from your workplace IT. The rest of the time, the person on the phone will try to get you to download some software that will give them control of your computer.
Ars Technica outlines the scam here. Another blogger details his call.
Note: Supremo itself is a legitimate company with legitimate software for good and useful purposes. However, it seems that if a computer operator gives permission to a nefarious third party, they do some really bad things. It’s a little like how a hammer can be used as a tool to help build a home, or a weapon to inflict damage. This isn’t a criticism of Supremo, but the only way to describe the scam is through the software.
I kept the scammers on the line for awhile playing dumb. This is the only way I can think to really “harm” these scammers. A minute that they are on the phone with you is a minute they aren’t defrauding someone else. It’s really easy to keep them on the phone by asking them repeat stuff. You can even do it while you are doing some other activity.
Eventually, I let them talk me into entering “www.supremo.com” into the search bar (which for Firefox is a separate bar that initiates a search). They asked what I saw and I went with the Ars Technica result that explained that call centers are scamming people.
They hung up as soon as I mentioned that.
The one I have been getting lately, is a person with a random caller ID calling me, and saying my name. If you say anything they hang up the call. What they have been doing is recording the call, and if you say “YES” they create some random “product” and bill you hundreds of dollars, and use your recorded “yes” as proof you approved the purchase. They are splicing the calls to some spiel like extended car warranty and then the person says “Do you agree to the terms as we have outlined here?” and they insert your “YES” and take you to court to pay. They run out of a non-dual consent telephonic recording state (I think Wyoming) and who the heck is going to spend hundreds of dollars to fly to Wyoming to fight a few hundred dollar small claims case. If you don’t defend yourself, you lose by default judgement.
Lazy Man says
Yes, that’s the “Can You Hear Me?” Scam that the BBB mentions here.
At first that’s what I thought it was, so I was very careful to talk negatives… things like, “No, I don’t understand what you are saying” and “The virus sounds dangerous. Can you tell me more?” I suppose even that could have been used for the “Can You Hear Me?” Scam if they got a positive response to something.
Fortunately, I haven’t gotten that “Can You Hear Me Now?” scam.
I generally answer with “Can I ask who is calling and who you represent?” That way I get a name, and in theory a company which they are representing. If I am not satisfied, I tell them to give me contact information and that I will call them back.
Caitlin Faux says
Hi there, I walked in on my elderly father talking to someone from ‘AVG’ with a ‘free service’. He had access to his computer through supremo. I grabbed the phone and the guy said ‘he was making the computer more secure’ and went off the phone. He seemed to be running a black screen where all those white sentences appear, when you’re trying to fix something. What’s the best thing to do now? Could this be at all legit?
Lazy Man says
Who initiated the call? I think it’s extremely unlikely that AVG (a well-known computer security company) is going to call people up to secure their computers. Why would they do that? On the other hand, if your father was calling their tech support number in response to a problem he was having with their software, it’s plausible they used Supremo’s software to try to fix a setting.
If it’s the former, it’s highly unlikely that it is legit and you should seek a reputable computer professional. If it’s the later, then you probably don’t have much to worry about.
This is all my opinion and experience. You should probably see a computer professional anyway, because it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Cristina Jones says
So I just got a call from these people saying they are going out of business and need to refund my $299.00. I have not heard of this company. Yet they were trying to get control of my computer supposedly to send me to the refund department. How can I report this? Now they are calling me from Alberta Canada and harassing me! Please help!
Ronna Dale Sajna says
I received a call from my own telephone number. When I answered it the person stated that they were from Microsoft and that people from other countries were accessing my laptop. They then instructed me to turn my laptop on and give them access to my laptop. After showing me how many people had access to my laptop, they instructed me to give them access to my bank so that they may deposit compensation for the “hack”. When they saw that I didn’t have any money in my bank account, they said they would call me back.
Sharon Dunfee says
I got a call on the 9th telling me I would be charged 299.99 if I didn’t call to cancel. I called them back to cancel and was immediately transfered to a support tech. He asked me if I wanted a refund. We filed a request, but something happened and 2999.99 was added to my acct. his bank called right away and he got it deducted from my acct., he assured me the right amount would be deposited in my acct. so we both hung up. as I didn’t see this , I called them the next day. I talked to an Eric Wilson who gave me his personal phone number. he also accessed my acct. to see what was going on with my account. The next day I found out that 210.00 was taken instead of added. over the next view days I spoke with Eric severval times , he showed me again ,on screen , that I needed to wait 12 days for my refund.I told him I was also concerned about the overdraft fee, as I was now in the negative. he then requested the fee of 32.00 also be deposited to me. but that I would receive my money in 12 days, and that their bank was shut down (or something). Should I be worried? Is this a legitimate deal?
Mary Jeanette Bandy McKennon says
This is basically what happened to me. I went along with it awhile–don’t really remember what all I told them. Last night I received a call from same people–but this person spoke much clearer English. He identified himself as being from Chase Bank–saying we needed to complete this transaction. I asked him to send me more information so I could show it to my lawyer. I don’t know what to do now–talk to my lawyer, maybe!!!! Never ID info with the call!!!