Tech Support Scam Returns with a New Trick

Dear tellows fellows,

as you might remember, we have posted an article about fake technical support scam in the beginning of last August to warn you of the rising issue of a Microsoft scam. Microsoft has also released several statements on their official website to warn people about this fraud. Unfortunately, this doesn’t stop scammers from finding other ways to trick people.

Recently, we found out that many fake tech support scammers have been using another method to deceive Microsoft users. They take advantage of Microsoft TechNet portals and created over 3000 fake pages. The TechNet portal is usually used by Microsoft users to save documentations of products and images as well as to offer community forums for its users. Unfortunately, the scammers have found a way to use the subdomain of TechNet portal, gallery.technet.microsoft.com, in order to be displayed on Google. Although the pages are usually blank pages with error message, the scammers’ purpose is to display their phone numbers on the headline of the pages. They mostly affiliate the tech support with Bitcoin or Coinbase Helpdesk. The problem has gotten bigger, as the fraudsters were able to rank quite high on google search and their fake pages were displayed on the first page when the users search for keywords such as “Helpdesk Microsoft”, “Helpdesk Coinbase”, etc.

The fake pages can be seen as follows:

Fraudsters have been also taking advantage of other big portals such as Spotify and Quip. At the end of last year, fraudsters used Spotify forums to insert their phone numbers to be displayed on the first page of Google. Their fake pages were able to rank high on Google because they submitted a constant stream of spam posts to the Spotify forums. Users are deceived into buying unnecessary products and softwares, so that their problem could be “fixed”.

The issue of fake tech support is certainly not new. Many users have reported that they were called by people claiming to be “tech support”. Here are the newest reports from our users regarding fake technical support:

R Gradeless reported number 01687598473 as Cost trap

Automated call from “BT technical support” with US voice telling me my internet connection would be closed down in 1 hour due to viruses. This is surprising as I am with Virginmedia. I pressed ‘1’ to be put through to BT technical support. I managed to waste 30 minutes of his time thanks to Microsoft as the latest monthly updates for Windows 7 were downloaded and installed. He was quite happy to wait. He then made me perform the usual party tricks to show the “non-existent” viruses on my PC. He then wanted me to open a website and download some software which I refused to do as I said I was concerned about “scammers”. He put me through to a “supervisor” who asked me to do the same. I asked for evidence as to who they were at which point he terminated the call.
The area code (01687) is Mallaig in the Highlands of Scotland rapidly establishing itself as the Technical support Glen of Scotland.

Microsoft has been reported with number 01302897519 as Harassment calls

Claiming to be from Microsoft saying I had been hacked. Insisted I push the windows key along with R. Man was very persistent and when I hung up he continued to keep ringing my landline

Although Spotify and Microsoft have tried to fix the problem, it seems that some fraudsters are still able to create the fake pages to be shown on Google. Some still rank high on the first page of Google search. Therefore, we would like to ask our tellows users to be more aware and extremely careful of this scamming method. Do not call any tech support numbers that seem suspicious and are displayed on unofficial pages, such as pop up windows. It’s advised to always double check a phone number before making a call. Official numbers of help desk and tech support are usually written on the official website of the company. Use the tellows community to see if other users have reported these numbers!

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