Scam calls, for fun and profit (with update!)

I got a call today, on my landline. Like with a wire. Plugged into a wall. Like the oldendays...

This phone, complete with actual wires.

I haven't received a landline call for about 5 or 6 years. At my previous place I didn't have a phone pluggd in, and the only reason I had the phone line is that I needed it to get ADSL. In any case, I don't think anyone even knows the number, and I only plugged in a phone while I was testing the line at the new place.

Anyway, a rough transcript:

  • Hello, Leigh here.
  • Hello Sir, this is blahblah calling from Telstra. We're calling to let you know your internet is going to be disconnected in 30 minutes, is this ok with you?

(oh rad... it's one of "those calls")

  • No, I don't want my internet to be disconnected!
  • OK Sir, you'll just need to follow through some simple steps. Are you in front of your computer?
  • Yep!
  • And is your computer turned on and ready to use?
  • Yep!
  • OK Sir, I'm just transferring you to a senior technician.

A moment later I get connected to the "senior technician"

  • Hello Sir
  • Hi
  • Are you at your computer
  • Err... just a moment, my laptop ran out of battery

I suddenly realise I should be vaguely documenting this, so I dash to grab my lappie, and head back to the landline.

  • OK, booted it back up
  • The computer is completely turned on now?
  • Yes it is.
  • Sir, on the extreme left side, down the bottom of the keyboard, what can you see?
  • Ummm... On the left side?
  • Yes
  • Oh, on the keyboard.
  • Yes, the keyboard
  • The bottom left key is F... umm... N
  • and next to that?
  • (very slowly) C-T-R-L
  • and next to that?
  • (very slowly) Ummm, four little squares
  • Thankyou (CLICK)

Well, at least I was being accurate, also dang my keyboard is dirty...

Damn. I should have held off a little before going into the crazy time-wasting stuff, but I was partially stalling so I could take notes.

Anyway, for those unfamiliar with these scam calls, they generally walk you through installing some remote access software or other malware. Then they go about stealing your data and your dollars. Pretty terrible stuff actually.

But how the hell do you track down these jerks? I reported the scam to the ACCC asking that question and will post again if I get any answers.


Got another call at the end of the day today. This time from "Telstra technical support" informing me there was an issue with my computer. I got inspired by reading a blog post by Jérôme Segura of malware bytes recounting letting phone scammers mess around inside a Virtual Machine and made my apologies to go grab my laptop. Unfortunately by the time I got back downstairs they had hung up...

Dang it.