Thursday, September 29, 2016

[UPDATED] No, Microsoft Will Not Call You Direct to Offer a Refund for Anything

Update -- September 30th
The scammer called back a few moments ago from a "Private Number"

Picked up the phone without saying anything and heard him speaking (what sounded like, but I'm not sure) Hindi or some other Indian region language to somebody in the background.

He started out without saying hello, but just jumping again claiming that he was the "Microsoft Helpdesk" and that he "sent me an email yesterday about the refund".

I asked him what email he sent it to as I have received nothing. He said -- which might be a legitimate email, but not one of mine. Weirdly, he seemed perplexed about my response, pausing and fumbling through a couple of words I couldn't understand.

I then noted that I tried to call him back at the number he gave me, but the people who answered didn't know anything about what he was talking about. And then he hung up on me without any other comment.

Still expect better customer service from my scammers. . .

Original Post -- September 29th
Got a call from somebody claiming they are Microsoft helpdesk -- typical scam

New derivative though, this guy wasn't claiming the usual "your machine is infected with a virus" or otherwise was "reporting errors and logs" and what not. He was instead claiming that I was due a refund for Microsoft Support for which I had previously paid. And that all I needed to do was 'register' it on some internet website he wanted me to login to.

At that point, I said I wasn't anywhere near my PC and asked if there was a number I could call him back at in 20 minutes. He gave one, then said he would call me back in twenty, and then hung up without saying goodbye.

I expect better customer service from my scammers.

Whatever the case, there's a new/old game in town.

Call Info:
  • Caller ID -- Unavailable Name / Out of Area Number
  • Guy on the Other End -- Heavy Middle Eastern accent, using a common western name
  • Background Noise -- Didn't sound like a crowded area, coffee shop, or room with other scammers
  • Number Given for Callback -- 800-492-3939

That call back number does work, but when calling it direct it answers with an automated voice:
"You have reached a national telemarketing company. They number you dialed is (changes to choppy phonetic voice) 1-8-0-0-4-9-2-3-9-3-9

(Changes back to normal automated voice) Again the number you have reached is (changes back to choppy phonetic voice) 1-8-0-0-4-9-2-3-9-3-9

(Changes back to normal automated voice) If you believe you have dialed the correct number, please press 1 and I will transfer to an agent

Ok, I'll transfer you now. Please stand on the line to continue. To ensure proper handling, call may be recorded" (and so on)

That inbound message in itself seems very shady to me. Doesn't identify itself in any regard. Message seems designed to be to be overly vague/cheap/fly-by-night. Just enough to answer the call. But also flexible enough to be changed at a moment's notice when needed to avoid a negative reputation or legal inquiry.

I donno.

Spoke to somebody on the other end, and after they asked for my zip code -- they said they were an inbound call center run by a company named Alorica.

When I asked why they needed my zip code, they gave me a vague doubletalk response. Explained that I got this number from somebody who called me, and the person on the other end said that they didn't have any information about that. She hung up on me after I asked her to spell her company's name to make sure I got it.

Called back, got somebody else. Told them that somebody had called me and tried to claim they were working for Microsoft -- and also claiming that they were from this number.

While she was much more polite, she also said that they didn't make outbound phone calls. And within the product/company list she had in her system, Microsoft was not listed. I got the sense she had also not heard of the "Microsoft" scam. And she wasn't able to give any additional info.

So recapping:
  • Got a scam call from somebody claiming to work for Microsoft
    (Microsoft would never EVER do this)
  • Scammer claimed I was due a refund for support services I had previously paid
    (And support services I never paid for)
  • All I had to do was register my PC
    (By connecting with it to their website)
  • Scammer gave me a callback number of 800-492-3939 for what appears to be a different company
    (Wasn't expecting that)
  • Different company in itself seemed very very VERY shady in their own right
  • And by the time I write this, it's been 25 minutes -- so I gather the Scammer isn't calling back

Good times