Just had a telephone call from India telling me they were representing the Windows Security Centre and that my Windows Inique ID had been shared with up to 4 other people, that my computer had been hacked and that my operating system would soon be switched off!
At first I thought that this was the old ZFSENDTOTARGET CLSID scam which I blogged about in 2010, but no, they have a faster way to scam you!
Today the scam ran as follows:
- I was told the above – i.e. that my Windows ID had been hacked and I Microsoft were about to block my operating system in 18 hours time. However, they could fix it.
- I asked the lady if it was illegal to have my Windows ID used by 5 other people, and she told me yes, it was. So I asked her to block it immediately and to be extra safe, I will throw my computer in the bin and buy a new one.
- Once I agreed to use their services I was transferred to a 2nd person, this time a man who was apparently an engineer. He explained it all in much more detail. I asked how much it would cost, he could not tell me. He did say it would cost “29”, and after some encouragement he said “£29”, but that was the minimum price, the total price depended on how many errors I had. He then transferred me to a third man.
- The third guy asked me to “open a Google page” and then in the Google search box to type “W3C validator“. This leads to the first result being validator.w3.org.
- Note: Validator.w3.org is used by web designers to check that all their code is compliant with current HTML standards. If you put www.google.com into it you will see “23 Errors, 4 warning(s)“
- One the W3C is opened you are asked to enter your email address – yes, suddenly all the errors are in the email! Doing so in my case resulted in 14 errors, 1 warning. By this point I was bored and told the man I had “25 million errors”. He said “25 errors?” and I said “no, 25 million” to which his response was “oh dear, that is really bad”. I was then told that this meant that my email account had also been hacked.
- I then begged him to fix it, and tell me how much it would cost. He transferred me again, to the fourth man.
- The 4th person turned out to be the 2nd person again. He told me I had a lot of errors, to which I replied “no I don’t, the W3C validotor is used for validating the HTML on websites and has nothing to do with my email account“. This did not deter him!
- I asked again how much? and he replied “29 euro dollars”. To which I said “what??? dollars????” and he said “sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, I made a mistake, I mean pounds“. Phew!
- I then noticed that it was time to get my son from playschool, so said “bye, gotta go”.
- I got as far as the front door and the first lady (not Obama’s wife) phoned me back to say she had my new Windows code. I said “thanks, please email it over, your colleague has my email address – I put it into your error tool” and hung up. They did not call back.
So, a new scam circulating. Sounds like the same people (Indian call centres) being used to sell dodgy software or services which will likely cause a lot more harm than good.
Remember: Microsoft will never call you.
The W3C Markup Validation Service
Note: a tool for web designers only, not for checking errors on your computer or email account.