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Fake Microsoft tech support scammer threatens to cut up victim, toss pieces into river

Mar 04, 20154 mins
Data and Information SecurityMicrosoftSecurity

There's a new twist on the old scam of fake Microsoft tech support calls. This time the scammer threatened to cut up a man and throw the pieces into the river.

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Credit: Illus_man/Shutterstock

A fake Microsoft tech support phone scam comes with a new twist. This time the scammer was recorded while he threatened to kill the victim.

If you loathe low-down scammers of all kinds, then you may recall a zero-day last year that allowed gray-hat justice by hacking back against fake Microsoft tech support. Microsoft has long-warned about such tech support phone scams; from May to December of last year, the company received over 65,000 customer complaints about fraudulent tech support scams. Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit took legal action to go after scammers last December.

CBC Canada reported that when a fake Microsoft tech support man called Jakob Dulisse of British Columbia, Dulisse immediately knew it was a scam and decided to turn the tables on the scammer who claimed to be calling from California and offering Microsoft tech support.

The scammer wanted Dulisse to let him remote into his computer in order to show him “how badly corrupt it was” and then fix it. Dulisse said he played along for a bit as he secretly recorded the call. “It became pretty obvious from the start that this was a scammer ... a lot of red flags went up. He kind of mumbled his last name, sort of mumbled the business name. It was obviously not a legitimate call.”

So Dulisse confronted the fraudster, asking if he was really working for Microsoft or even calling from California.

The caller became irritated, but it wasn’t until Dulisse asked why the man would try to steal from unsuspecting people that the conversation took what Dulisse calls a “sinister turn.”

“He started getting kind of nasty and angry.”

“He admitted that he was in India ... and then he said, ‘If you come to India, you know what we do to Anglo people?’ I said, 'No’.”

“He said, ‘We cut them up in little pieces and throw them in the river’.”

But it didn’t end there. The scammer knew Dulisse’s full name and Canadian address, telling him he would send someone to his home to kill him.

Dulisse told CBC that although “the threats were chilling,” he didn’t take them seriously. “He was still trying to get me to do what he was trying to do with my computer. He was actually threatening me as a tactic,” he added.

This is just the latest in scams, as Consumerist pointed out:

In recent months, there have been several reports of schemers claiming they would hurt or kidnap consumers’ loved ones if they didn’t repay purported debts. In many cases, the consumers would be instructed to purchase pre-paid cards worth hundreds, if not thousands of dollars and send them to the scammer to ensure their loved ones’ safety.

After the fake tech support phone call ended, Dulisse said he did think about the conservation. “It seems ridiculous on the surface of it -- but he does know my name and address so ... it is somewhat chilling.”

Microsoft advises never to trust unsolicited tech support calls. Cybercriminals pretending to be from Microsoft most commonly claim to be from the Windows Helpdesk, Windows Service Center, Microsoft Tech Support, Microsoft Support, Windows Technical Department Support Group, and even Microsoft’s Research and Development Team.

Although it might be fun to mess with a scammer, it would be creepy when he wields your personal information like a weapon, so if you receive such a call, please report the phone scam to the appropriate experts:

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.