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Author Topic: Do you ever get these calls?  (Read 5790 times)

CommonTater

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Do you ever get these calls?
« on: October 25, 2012, 02:15:04 pm »
RING ... RING...
 
"Hello" ... silence...
 
"HELLO"....
 
In badly faltering English, usually with a strong East Indian accent: "Hello my name is Mark Smith, calling from the production floor of Windows Incorporated.  I'm calling because your computer has problems that I would like to help you fix"...
 
"What kind of problems?"
 
"Your computer is sending error reports we need to look into..."
 
"How do you plan to do that"
 
"We need you to install this remote control software so we can examine your settings."
 
Hangup.
 
Yeah right, like I'm going to let some total stranger calling from a fictitious company have remote access to my systems...
 
But then, I do wonder how many people fall for it...

 
 

Offline Bitbeisser

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2012, 05:04:41 pm »
Never got any of such calls myself (and none of my clients, AFAIK), but apparently too many people fall for this.
And it is a scam that's going on for a couple of years at least...

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9217684/Microsoft_rings_alarm_bell_on_fake_Windows_support_calls

But then sometimes I think people get what they deserve...

Ralf

Offline jcfuller

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2012, 06:09:21 pm »

Possibly, but I only say "hello" once, count to two and then hang up :)

James

CommonTater

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2012, 07:04:07 pm »
But then sometimes I think people get what they deserve...

Thing is, they've been making the rounds where I am and apparently people are confused, thinking this has something to do with the guy who bought me out... Not funny.  A couple let them into their systems... no known bad effects so far but I've asked my replacement to visit all their offices and straighten the mess out... He's not amused... This is going to cost him a fair bit of money as he's ending up doing fixes for nothing.

Yes sometimes people get what they deserve from their own stupidity but at the same time, messing with other people's stuff is just not right on any level.  We can't blame the victims, Ralf...


Quote from: jcfuller
Possibly, but I only say "hello" once, count to two and then hang up :)

Good plan... but as you can see above I need to figure out what's going on.

I can't believe people are letting these guys into their systems... 
I suspect they're building a bot-net and lord knows what use it will be put to.

Offline DMac

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2012, 08:41:14 pm »
"We need you to install this remote control software so we can examine your settings."
 
Hangup.
 
No No No You've got that wrong!

Instead of Hangup.

"Well... Ok what do I need to do..."

[30 minutes later]

"I still cant get the internet to download the file can you tell me how that works again?"

[Later yet]

"You mean I  need a email connection?  I do that at the library."


No one cares how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

CommonTater

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 08:48:57 pm »

Offline Bitbeisser

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2012, 05:25:24 am »
Yes sometimes people get what they deserve from their own stupidity but at the same time, messing with other people's stuff is just not right on any level.  We can't blame the victims, Ralf...
Well, people are just not using common sense these days anymore, simple as that...

How in the world would someone from Microsoft get their phone number in the first place?

Do you let someone you never dealt with just pick up your car just because (s)he calls and tells you that they are from <insert the manufacturer of your car her> and they got a report that something's wrong with your car?

Seriously, to fall for this is almost as bad as falling for a guy from Nigeria/South Africa/<random 3rd world country> sending you an email with an heartbreaking story and the request to send him a couple of $1000s in advance to make you rich...

As a general rule, no one, not Microsoft, Apple or anyone else has the phone numbers or email address of a random PC user. So any cold call or email from someone you do not personally know should be considered a scam...

Talked with another IT consultant I am working occasionally with about this and he had a client that got such a call a while ago. Bad luck for the caller to waste his/her time, as they were pretending also to be from Microsoft and the user in that case was actually a Mac user. He had fun with the person on the other side of the line until that moron realized he is the one being played and hung up him-/herself...  :P

Ralf

Offline Stefan Pendl

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2012, 11:00:40 am »
Never got such a call either and would only accept it if it was from the shop where I bought my system, since those are the only ones who know my details.

The only exception is that car vendors sometimes send you a letter to be prepared to be contacted by your garage due to issues with your car, but as you can see the garage where you bought the car is doing the final contact and not the car factory.

The reduction in common sense makes such bad behavior possible as already pointed out.
In some cases they are just overwhelmed by that call or in a hurry and allow things they wouldn't allow when thinking twice.

The world is in a rush, so you have to take a break, step back and look what you are really dealing with.
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CommonTater

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2012, 04:05:13 pm »
Never got such a call either and would only accept it if it was from the shop where I bought my system, since those are the only ones who know my details.

Even then... only if they are asking you to bring it in for personal service.

Remote Assistance may sound like a good idea but in reality it's one of he biggest security holes in Windows.  Once in charge of your mouse and keyboard remote users can do anything and you can't stop them, short of shutting down the computer.   In a world filled with stupid ideas... RAssist should be considered a truly stupid idea, right up there with Automatic Updates, Backgroud Intelligent Transfers and Cloud Computing.

Quote
The reduction in common sense makes such bad behavior possible as already pointed out.
In some cases they are just overwhelmed by that call or in a hurry and allow things they wouldn't allow when thinking twice.

While I do agree with both Ralf and you --Common Sense along with "La Politess Meme" is dead and buried for most people-- we do have to be very careful not to descend into victim bashing which is the prime strategy of defense attourneys and other bullies.

That said, some people do leave me wondering...  Exactly how silly is it to give a total stranger unfettered access to your computer?

As one of my friends put it:  "My god man are you addled?  My wedding pictures are in there!" ... I'm thinking most people have no clue what they could lose...

Quote
The world is in a rush, so you have to take a break, step back and look what you are really dealing with.

I did... I finally sent an email to all my previous customers advising them of the problem, suggesting they make an appointment with my replacement to let him check their systems.  Beyond that, there's not much I can do...

Offline Stefan Pendl

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2012, 09:42:37 pm »
Remote assistance isn't that bad, but the user should contact the developer and not the other way around.

I have once had a Teamviewer session with a user on the east coast, so the time difference was the greatest problem for me living in Austria.
In the end it turned out to be an issue with a setting that was introduced by accident in a third party desktop shell and our software was only affected by it, but not causing it even if it seemed so.

In some cases it is much simpler to look things up by yourself than to walk a user through the problem solving steps, especially if you can't image what would be causing this ::)
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CommonTater

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2012, 11:49:40 pm »
Remote assistance isn't that bad, but the user should contact the developer and not the other way around.

Yes, in the scernario where the supplier supplies a contact IP and the user connects in... then at least you know who's moving your mouse around! 

But apparently the guys that were calling 'round here were asking people to install a special program so they could remote access and "adjust your settings" ... Ummmm ... lemme think about that....  NO!


Quote
In some cases it is much simpler to look things up by yourself than to walk a user through the problem solving steps, especially if you can't image what would be causing this ::)

Yes it is... and that's why, until this fall, I did on-site service with all my customers.  (Not that I had that many, but it is better)


Offline Bitbeisser

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2012, 07:43:06 pm »
Remote assistance isn't that bad, but the user should contact the developer and not the other way around.

Yes, in the scernario where the supplier supplies a contact IP and the user connects in... then at least you know who's moving your mouse around! 

But apparently the guys that were calling 'round here were asking people to install a special program so they could remote access and "adjust your settings" ... Ummmm ... lemme think about that....  NO!
Well, that's the part where common sense should come into play...
Quote
Quote
In some cases it is much simpler to look things up by yourself than to walk a user through the problem solving steps, especially if you can't image what would be causing this ::)
Yes it is... and that's why, until this fall, I did on-site service with all my customers.  (Not that I had that many, but it is better)
Then you either have/had  too much time on your hand or your customers are located all very close.

I have customers all over the larger LA area, pretty much from Malibu in the West to Pasadena in the East and from Santa Clarita in the North to Long Beach/San Pedro in the South. Stopping by a client for something that is possibly a minor issue that is fixed in a minute or two would take round trips for 3-4h for each. And that's with normal/light traffic, which isn't always the case around here...  :-\

I use for all remote support a tool from Mikogo, the cheapest solution I have found for this, and usually install the client side part when ever I am the first time on site.
It requires that I give the client on the other end a unique 9 digit session ID. That ID is only valid for that session (and we could have to initiate another session if for example a reboot would be required). And a session ends as soon as either side terminates it. It is completely interactive with the client, and I make sure that they know what I am doing and why. And I never do an remote support for people that I do not know or that do not know me...

Ralf

CommonTater

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2012, 09:52:52 pm »
Hi Ralf ... sounds like you've got a very good solution...

My situation is was a little different.  I had half a dozen setups in different parts of a smallish city, easily accessible by bicycle or taxi.  Each setup was a server and a number of workstations... 10 in one, 3 and 4  in the others.  I not only supplied the software, I built their systems, as well... so I would be on site quite often doing periodic maintenance and upgrades.

Still i would *strongly* advise on-site service whenever possible.  There are advantages beyond mearly tweaking a setting or replacing a DLL... Actually knowing your customers goes a long way to building loyalties... These guys were with me for 20+ years....

 

Offline Bitbeisser

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Re: Do you ever get these calls?
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2012, 02:07:39 am »
Hi Ralf ... sounds like you've got a very good solution...

My situation is was a little different.  I had half a dozen setups in different parts of a smallish city, easily accessible by bicycle or taxi.  Each setup was a server and a number of workstations... 10 in one, 3 and 4  in the others.  I not only supplied the software, I built their systems, as well... so I would be on site quite often doing periodic maintenance and upgrades.

Still i would *strongly* advise on-site service whenever possible.  There are advantages beyond mearly tweaking a setting or replacing a DLL... Actually knowing your customers goes a long way to building loyalties... These guys were with me for 20+ years....
Well, as I already tried to point out, a major factor in this is "time". (Un-)Billable Time.

For example, after swapping out a server at one of my clients last week (actually from one workstation that acted as a server for others, to a dedicated machine in a back room), they had problems with one of the front desk machines this morning after they had a brief power outage (due to the current high winds) and one of the workstations somehow lost it's drive mapping to run their main software. Being across town at another client, it would have taken me 3h before I would have been onsite, with them having 50% of their front desk systems being down. Took less than 5 minutes to get the remote session going with one of the girls and re-map the drive. As I bill those kind of things in 15min increments, this saved them more than 2.5h of waiting time and I can bill all (and then some) of my time spend. I would have to "pay" for the additional driving time all by myself, even if I would bill them my 30min minimum that I charge for onsite visits. In cases like this, it's a win-win for both side. But of course not all issues can be resolved remotely. And I have customers who have a monthly service contract with me, with at least one weeks visit scheduled up front, even if there's nothing to do. That serves the communication and relation issues just fine...  ;)

Ralf