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Within the last week, I've received 3 phone calls at 3 different locations from technicians who are calling "from Microsoft" about "Windows problems" that they've detected on my PC.

Which they haven't because scam. And it was only good luck that I was visiting my parents when they called them. I've since warned them to just hang up on anyone who tries that.

I'm in the United States. I'm on the do not call list. The phone calls come from an unidentifiable phone number. The voices on the other line have been heavily accented, reminiscent of someone from a call center in India.

I've seen this video of someone completely awesome running one of these guys through a honeypot.

I'm technically inclined, and I'm tempted to create my own virtual garbage environment for them to screw with and try to hijack, but it might be more effort than I am capable of putting out.

Other than requesting the caller perform deviant acts upon himself and his family, then hanging up, is there anything technical I can do, or report? Is there a fake honeypot website I can use to simulate what he's looking for to waste his time and perhaps backtrack him? How should I handle this for maximum impact against the caller?

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I've had this happen to me before and realizing to them that their time is money, I decided to take them on a little ride (it was a Sunday and I was bored...don't judge me).

Basically I pretended to be a complete computer luddite - kept them on the phone for a good hour pretending like I had no idea what I was doing. I could't find the event viewer, didn't know what a browser was, didn't know if I was on a Mac or PC (or maybe this is an iPad, I'm so computer illiterate I don't even know!). They wanted to do a remote session and I didn't know I could do that, etc.

While I can't provide any insight on how to track who's calling you (and truthfully, they're probably in a location where nobody even cares that these calls are happening) but I can tell you that listening to the caller get so frustrated that he gave up was worth it to me. I have yet to receive another phone call of this nature.

As they say, Trolling is a art :)

  • Are you that youtuber with an australian accent? – Andrew Hoffman Jul 10 '14 at 15:15
  • Wish I could say I was - just a Canadian that hasn't seen that video before :) – DKNUCKLES Jul 10 '14 at 15:16
  • I was considering the social engineering trolling route as a delaying tactic, but all three times I didn't have the time to invest. When all is said and done, I'd prefer to have had some form of authority to report them to or at least identify them. – JoshDM Jul 10 '14 at 15:19
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    Odds are that the majority of these calls are either coming from countries where the authorities wouldn't care, or are coming from compromised SIP / VoIP systems where the authorities might care, but won't put too much time and effort into investigating. – DKNUCKLES Jul 10 '14 at 15:22
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    Some system admins I know decided to have fun with them and kept "going to look for things" and kept them on hold for a few hours while they kept working until they got bored. Personally, I always like to tell them it says "C:\" in the lower right corner of my screen. They always get confused. It is worth noting though, most of the people actually making the calls seem to think they actually work for Microsoft. So they may not know they are working for a scammer. – AJ Henderson Jul 10 '14 at 15:22
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This kind of scam requires a lot of manpower, so the calls come from a country where labour is very cheap -- in particular, not from the USA. So you may as well give up any hope of "catching" the scammer.

What you should do depends on your own goals and feelings. Personally, I give a very high value to my own time; therefore, I would indulge in some scammer-trolling only if it would imply sufficiently good intellectual satisfaction to make up for the time spent on doing the trolling. Given the very remote (even international) nature of the call, chances that I would get to witness the slow disembowelment of the scammer by rabid raccoons while I sip on aged Cognac and philosophically ponder on the vacuity of human life, are slim, to say the least. Therefore, I find it more expedient to simply hang up. Sometimes I indulge in some cursing, mostly for the sake of Tradition.

One may note that the guy at the other end of the phone is a mere executor, who participates to the scam only because he is awfully poor and he does that not to starve. He'll get less than 2$ a day out of this. As such, it is doubtful that you may actually "infuriate" him any further; even the best trolling would have trouble competing with his actual life conditions.

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