back to article Boss at 'Microsoft' scam support biz told to cough £000s in comp

A fraudster who conned consumers, particularly silver surfers, into parting with cash to fix phantom PC bugs was handed a suspended sentence on Friday and ordered to pay thousands of pounds in costs and compensation. The national e-crime squad based in Yorkshire, together with ActionFraud, brought the case against Mohammed …

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  1. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "From Luton" - surprise! (NOT!)

    Luton always makes me think of Star Wars: "You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy".

    ... in fact, I reckon that the only reason that Betjeman wrote "Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough" was because he hadn't heard of Luton.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "From Luton" - surprise! (NOT!)

      I lived there for about 8 years - it's not as bad as they say, it's worse! Getting married and moving away was probably the best thing I ever did, even if it did cost me £30K from the drop in house/flat prices in the area,

      1. Mtech25

        Re: "From Luton" - surprise! (NOT!)

        So it's just like Croydon then?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "From Luton" - surprise! (NOT!)

      Credit card fraud capital of the UK.

      Also, wasn't one of the most expensive postcodes for car insurance there once?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "From Luton" - surprise! (NOT!)

      No, because he couldn't think of a rhyme for Luton. Boot on? Suit on? mouton? JB wouldn't have heard of futon. And none of them really fit the bomb theme.

    4. MOV r0,r0

      Re: "From Luton" - surprise! (NOT!)

      "... in fact, I reckon that the only reason that Betjeman wrote "Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough" was because he hadn't heard of Luton."

      Crab Air: aim for Slough, hit Luton.

  2. malle-herbert

    How about...

    Microsofts own little scam where they (ab)use windows-update to put

    a nagging screen on your desktop to remind you to upgrade away from XP ?

    And then they ask you for a boatload of money for their latest OS...

  3. Phil Endecott Silver badge

    Cost of doing business

    He's been doing this since (at least) 2010. He has to pay a total of about £24,000, which works out at about £15 per day over 4 those years.

    I'd say that he will write this off as a "cost of doing business", and continue to put aside a modest percentage of his income to cover any future fines.

    But he'll keep his head down for the next year, to avoid any chance of that suspended sentence getting activated.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Shocking

    Shocking that when they finally catch one of the bastards behind this odious scam, they don't bang him away for 5 years+.

    1. TonyJ Silver badge

      Re: Shocking

      Agreed. What they did was fraud, plain and simple.

      The leniency shown will just tell others it's a reasonable business model.

      I'm just surprised he ran it out of the UK.

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  5. John McCallum

    B'stards

    They tried this "trick" on me about 4/5 times,every time I told them to go away very politely except the last time I said to the woman at the other end to eat shit and die that was about 9/10 months ago.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      Re: B'stards

      If you get one of these calls, pretend to be a composite of the most idiotic users you speak to on the phone and take up as much of their time as possible.

      You can drag the call out through the following techniques:-

      1) Your on a slow computer and <program/webpage> is taking ages to load. You can easily stack up 15-30 seconds with this repeatedly.

      2) Tell them their remote access program that they want to connect with has been blocked by your firewall. You can easily stretch it out for another 5 minutes with them trying to talk them through this before offering to uninstall it.

      3) Tell them their program is blocked by your AV software. You can get another 5 mins from this, and offering to uninstall and then tell them it's asked to reboot and ask them if they want you to do it. That'll be another minute or two.

      4) In case of emergency, feign an XP SP1/2 box, and claim that anything the scammer wants you to run gives you a "this computer needs SP3" error. and let him talk you through downloading SP3 so he can scam you. You know how long you can gain through this if you can keep the scammer on the phone.

      You should be able to keep them on the phone for 15 minutes easily. 30mins is quite possible, and points should be awarded exceeding 30 mins or for getting the "engineer" on the other end to:-

      1) sound audibly frustrated.

      2) Scream or shout at you. Bonus points can be earned if you can sound like your upset at being shouted at enough to make the "engineer" feel guilty. Further points if you can calm him down enough to keep him on the phone only to repeat a few minutes later. Considerable bonus points if you can get his supervisor on the phone so your wasting 2 peoples time.

      3) get the caller so frustrated that they end up taking the frustration out on people in the office at the other end, or just get so generally frustrated that they consider a new career in response.

      My record is about 40 minutes before the phone was slammed down hard enough that it could have written off the handset, but i'm sad to say that I think i'm on a blacklist now. I've not had one of these calls for several years so I haven't had any opportunity to get a higher score.

      Bastards. I was starting to enjoy those calls.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: B'stards

        I tried this and they are wise to it. They cut the call after N minutes if they arent making progress.

        And this scam isnt confined to just the UK, they were calling me in Sweden.

        1. Peter Leech

          Re: B'stards

          The trick was to keep them thinking that they are making progress through letting them "solve" the problems with the IE6 security settings, firewall blocking the program, AV blocking it etc so they genuinely think they are making progress.

          It may well be that it's hard to get a decent score these days because a lot more people are playing, but competition is good. At worst, somebody is paying them to talk to you so it costs them a bit for the time, and while they are talking to you then they aren't scamming somebody else.

      2. Robert Sneddon

        The Scores on the Doors

        I managed to get the supervisor after less than ten minutes of failing to type the Teamviewer URL correctly no matter how carefully they spelled it out for me, and I kept him on the hook for at least three or four minutes after that before he hung up on me. It only counts if they hang up, of course.

    2. AlbertH

      Re: B'stards

      Whilst the "little old lady" they thought they were playing was keeping them on the phone, we gained access to their servers and wreaked havoc. Every Windoze infection we could find was unleashed in their network. I hope they still haven't cleaned up the mess.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: B'stards

        > we gained access to their servers and wreaked havoc. Every Windoze infection we could find was unleashed in their network

        I can smell the bullshit in your post from about 13 traceroute hops away.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: B'stards

      > except the last time I said to the woman at the other end to eat shit and die

      But did you tell her politely?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fraud

    If he'd actually went to an OAPs door and lifted the cash after inveigling his way in, he'd have rightly been locked up and vilified in the press. The fact that's he's done it via an online scam shouldn't make a difference. Absolute scum preying on the weak.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A retired friend of mine got caught by this scam

    In his case the calling phone number was in California, which probably means little.

    It was only towards the end of the session that he smelled a rat. When he refused to pay the Indian at the other end of the phone got extremely abusive, and told my friend he was going to fuck the computer up so he couldn't use it again. A wipe and installation from the original DVD did the trick of course.

    These scammers are scum and a custodial sentence might have sent them a clearer message.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A retired friend of mine got caught by this scam

      These scammers are scum and a custodial sentence might have sent them a clearer message.

      Personally, I would have preferred they got shipped off to be a test subject for Taser quality control, mainly using their genitalia, but I'm clearly getting soft in my old age.

  8. Firefox

    Crime Certainly Does Pay

    "Now that one of the many individuals who've been operating this scam has been brought to justice, it's a stark warning to anyone else still doing it, that they can be caught and ...."

    ...let off with a slap on the wrist and paltry fine, just like this lucky chap.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I have one way of dealing with them.

    I say "No you are not from Microsoft, you are a criminal fraudster and your mother would be ashamed of you if she knew."

    One of them started to argue with me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have one way of dealing with them.

      > One of them started to argue with me.

      About his mother being ashamed?

  10. Phil the Geek

    Time wasting

    I kept one on the phone for 18 minutes before revealing that my PC was running Linux Mint. Prize please.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper

      Re: Time wasting

      That's my favoured approach. "... But there isn't a Start button on this UI ...".

  11. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Pirate

    My preferred route

    is to pretend to misunderstand their first sentence, and pretend they have called *me* for advice on getting their computer fixed.

    It's very easy, if you pretend your grasp of English is as good as theirs.

    1. Robert Sneddon

      Re: My preferred route

      If you get THEIR credit card number then you're golden.

  12. Richard Jukes

    Punishment should fit the crime.

    I say make him offer free 24/7 genuine IT support to the golden oldies. That would teach him.

    1. James 100

      Re: Punishment should fit the crime.

      Community service de-lousing charity PCs for the public would be a nice touch, yes .. maybe put him to work in one of those charities that recycles old hardware?

      It's a depressingly light sentence, particularly for a persistent repeat offender - and have there been any consequences for the scammers in India he was working with? I have a nasty feeling the fine just dented his profits a bit, and the rest of the "sentence" will just give him a reason to avoid getting caught for a short time.

  13. Gartal

    How to handle them.....

    We had them operating here down South as well.

    One time I stuck the phone in the dog's collar and slapped it on the arse and sent it yelping around the house.

    One little old lady client of mine rang me up and asked what she should do. I told her to be as rude as she possibly could. Several days later I was at her home when one of the sods rang. I f'ed and blinded cursed them a blue streak, called their mothers whores, really vented my spleen. Let him have what I had been saving for former Prime Minister John Howard. They didn't call back. LOL (Little Old Lady) was nonplussed, upset, amused, embarrassed and laughing.

    Another time at yet another LOL's home I decided it was time to be a friendless, family-less mental deficient. "Ooooh I'm so glad you called, no-one calls me anymore. Tell me about your family, Is you mother tall? Does your father wear a dress? Does you girlfriend like two up the arse? Have you ever sucked off a blind man's dog? Does your mother know that you have had sex with a cow? I am so lonely, I want to talk about my appendix operation which the surgeon botched and left me with one breast, not having had any before." etc.

    The benefit of this is that the person at the other end gets to keep their call length up and their self esteem down and I who am normally a rather quiet placid sort of a bloke get to be more rude than I would ever conceive of being under normal circumstances.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How to handle them.....

      > Have you ever sucked off a blind man's dog?

      Well... not a blind man's, no.

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  15. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Trollface

    Here's an idea for a cloudy app ..

    how about a call exchange, where you can divert one of these call when it comes in ? The exchange just randomly pairs two calls so the scamsters can have a happy time talking to each other.

  16. The Godfather
    Mushroom

    Robbery...

    4 months....suspended for 12 with a paltry fine or two? Easy money innit?

    Bloke should be banged up now for twelve months with a proceeds of crime claim to nick back every penny. He's done it before apparently....so, what are the odds he does it again?

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