For many many years, charlatans and snake oil salesman have been taking advantage of unwitting people in order to make a quick buck. Although their tricks and strategies may change, the relentlessness of the scammer remains a strong force in the world.
In the modern age, scams have become more prevalent. Scammers are emboldened by the anonymity which they can hide behind online. The number of potential targets is essentially limitless given the millions of users that frequent popular websites on a daily basis.
One of the only positives to come out of these online scams is the rapid rate at which the general public becomes aware of these tricks. With this information, users can take proactive measures to ensure they don’t fall victim to the current scams.
However, there are some users that take these proactive measures too far. Avoiding the loss of money and sensitive information should be the ultimate goal when faced with these scams. Some people decide to take their reaction a step further by actively seeking to antagonize the scammers or waste their time with false leads.
Although it may feel rewarding or justifiable to hassle these scammers, this behavior can lead to unforeseen consequences. As a general rule of thumb, its smart avoid talking with scammers for any reason.
If you feel the need to deliver some form of “justice”, feel free to call your Internet Service Provider or relevant authorities to complain about the incident. Many users find out the hard way that actively pursuing scammers often has negative consequences.
Here are some concrete reasons why it is always smarter to hang up on a scammer.
The Infamous “Microsoft Tech Support” Scam
This tech support scam has been around for many years and has already claimed millions of dollars from unwitting internet users.
The scam usually begins with a Microsoft customer receiving a fishy call from an individual claiming to be with the company’s technical support team, or something similar. The caller will typically have a noticeable Indian accent and provide a clearly Anglicized first name. This paradox is usually enough to let users know that something isn’t right.
The scammer will claim that the person’s PC is suffering from a virus or some sort of malware. In order for the ‘tech support’ to find and remove the virus, the user will be instructed to install remote operation software. This offers scammers access to all of your computer’s files and information. At this point, the victim’s data is at risk.
Once the scammer has remote access, he or she might establish a backdoor for continued access or exacerbate the owner’s issues by installing a real virus or malware.
There are countless stories online of people who have fallen for this sneaky scam. It should be obvious that these individuals don’t actually work for Microsoft. No company will be able to determine whether your computer has a virus without first running a thorough check.
These scammers use shameless scare tactics to coerce victims into providing sensitive information and money in exchange for a false sense of security. On average, these scammers come away with $350 per call. Due to these large payoffs, this wildly popular scam doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
Even with recurring legal action from companies such as Microsoft, these scammers refuse to cease and desist.
There are countless videos or stories online of people taunting or antagonizing these scammers. Although this retaliation is tempting, it’s a good idea to avoid the urge altogether. Here are three important reasons to hang up on the scammer and return to your daily routine.
1. The ‘tech support’ scammers refuse to stop calling.
Overall, telephone scams generate about $470 for each call. With most phone calls taking less than an hour, these impressive rates are highly sought after for people willing to take advantage of others. With the advent of automated or robocalling, scammers have been able to outwit more people than before. There are also special algorithms that can find the numbers of certain individuals based on certain characteristics such as job, telephone provider, and more. Many scammers will use fake caller IDs to cover up their own numbers. The entire motivation is to expose the victim while covering up their own trails
When you choose to keep a scammer on the line, the situation isn’t benefiting anyone. Although successful scams can be incredibly profitable, the average worker in an Indian call center only receives around $2 per hour. These low-income workers aren’t going to make any extra money for a long call, and you aren’t going to gain any long-term satisfaction from the call.
It’s important to realize that one individual messing with one Indian scammer isn’t going to put a dent in the overall operation or the organization’s profits. If anything, this confrontation and defiance will encourage callers to work harder when scamming others.
2. These scammers could make physical threats.
There are many reported and documented instances where scammers have made physical threats and engaged in other violent behavior. These aggressive reactions usually result from a target antagonizing the scammer after realizing the call is a scam.
Although technology allows people to communicate without being in the same place, it doesn’t mean that decisions made online or over the phone don’t have consequences in the real world. In reality, these scammers have already proven their willingness to engage in criminal activity. Furthermore, it is clear they don’t care about your well-being.
Antagonizing criminals who are in the middle of committing another crime isn’t a great idea. It’s impossible to know what these scammers are capable of doing. Wasting these scammers’ time can have disastrous consequences.
There are numerous incidents where scammers have made threats of sexual or physical violence after being antagonized. No threat should be tolerated, especially from a stranger over the phone who was trying to conduct a scam.
We have reached out to our audience to hear about their personal stories regarding the Window ‘tech support’ scam. Some of these stories have been humorous and slightly obnoxious, and others have been downright scary.
Jakob Dulisse, a professional photographer from Canada, shared his frightening interaction with our team. Jakob was minding his own business when he received a phone call from an unknown number. The individual on the other end of the line claimed to be part of the “Windows Technical Support” team from Los Angeles. Jakob immediately realized that the phone call was a scam. Instead of hanging up, he decided to heckle with the scammer.
After a few minutes of messing with the scammer, Jakob broke character. He admitted that he knew the caller was a scammer. He called the individual a “thief” and a “bad person”. Although Jakob’s comments were justified, he was dealing with a criminal who was quick to respond to his would-be victim’s comments.
The scammer offered a chilling comeback that threatened Jakob’s life directly. He told his victim that the organization wasn’t just based in India. The scammer alluded to a group of his being located in Canada. He threatened to call his ‘group’ and provide Jakob’s personal information. The scammer continued to say that the ‘group’ would kill Jakob. The scammer claimed to be a killer.
Although these kinds of threats aren’t likely to be carried out, the chilling detail is enough to ruin a person’s day.
The best lesson to take from these scary stories is to hang up right away.
There is no reason to stay on with the potential of receiving a life-threatening reaction.
3. These ‘tech support’ scammers may already have control over your computer.
Empty threats and wasted phone calls aren’t the only reasons to avoid prolonged conversations with scammers. Although an ear bashing can be difficult to handle, there is more damage that can be caused. The ‘tech support’ scammers may have installed a virus or malware on your computer.
Imagine a scenario in which you get carried away messing with a scammer. You’re having fun pretending to be fooled by their scam with the knowledge that the scammer is wasting his or her time. However, you end up forgetting that the remote software could already be installed on your computer.
Even if you had a plan to put the scammer in his or her place, it’s important to keep your priorities straight. You would much rather keep your computer safe than see a scammer throw a fit. In reality, you are only one of the hundreds of people this scammer will call all week. One threatening comment could lead the scammer to destroy your computer with malware or a virus. When you recognize the call to be a scam, you should hang up without hesitation.
Everybody hates being conned by scammers. It can feel nearly as bad when a con-artist believes you’re willing to fall for the trap. In an attempt to get back at these scammers, many people try to waste their time by playing along.
It’s important to remember that hanging up is the smartest and safest route out of this sort of situation. Scammers will try to trick you no matter what; that is their business plan. There is always the possibility that your refusal will be met with threats of violence. These scammers may have control of your computer already.
These scammers aren’t worth any of your time or effort. Instead of trying to be the arbiter of justice, you should be warning family and friends about the scam. There’s a high chance that other people you know will experience a similar situation. The best way to get back at a scammer is to educate other potential targets about the scam. You should explain the scam in detail, how the person sounds, what he or she says, and what the caller is trying to get.
Anyone who receives a call from these scammers should hang up the phone immediately. There is no need to ask or answer any questions. These scammers are trained criminals, and taunting a criminal can never end well.
If you’ve been a victim of this scam before, here are some steps you can take to rectify the situation.