Saturday, November 19, 2022

Let Sleeping Services Be

AKA, latest scam attempted on me, with most of the caller's fumbles of his script left out.

A call claiming to be my ISP (never used it for home internet, but the phone number had been with them at one point, so others may have a match claiming your ISP based on who your phone has been with), that they had a failure on their server and that there 70% services stopped, and we need to fix them. 

Caller: How many devices do you have using the internet?  

Me: (quickly count the list) I have 15 IPs active today as seen on WhoIsConnectedSniffer (software I have running on my computer most of the time), but some of them should never get to the internet.   

Caller:  Then I need you to get in front of your computer.

Me:  OK, since that is where you caught me, where did you think I had WhoIsConnectedSniffer running?  yes I am there.

Caller: confused sounding
(a bit of back and forth with this drone in a call centre, to get him back on track of the scam to see where it is going)

Caller:  Do you see the Windows key?  Hold it down and press R

Me:  Ah, you want the Run prompt, OK, I am there.

Caller:  type in msconfig   and then press the OK button

Me: (I know this first bit is safe, so I proceed) Oh, it looks a bit different since I last looked this way, I see the Tabs: General, Boot, Services, ...

Caller:  OK, need you to click on Services, now see how many are stopped. 

Me:  Yes, I see many of  them stopped and that is the normal amount I expect there.

Caller: Then we need to remote into your computer to fix these stopped services as part of the service you paid for.

Me: But those services aren't needed, in fact some of them really shouldn't be running most of the time, rather like one doesn't leave their car running in the garage when they aren't driving it.

Caller:  But you paid for this service, so we need to restart them for you.

Note: This goes on back and forth for nearly 5 minutes until a meeting reminder gets me to wrapping up.  I could have so dragged him along for ages if I had the free time.

Me:  I have several ways to prove you are a scammer. 

  • I'm not with the ISP you claim to be, though I have worked with them.
  • It is normal for Windows to have stopped services as many are use only occasionally and the system knows how to trigger them on when needed, or are only on when the applicable hardware is turned on, example: the Bluetooth support service is stopped because I don't currently have Bluetooth turned on. 
  • Clearly, as someone who mainly works on Linux servers, I still know way more about Windows than you do. 

Caller:    Ahh..ahh....ahhh..........

The line goes dead.  He was clearly very new at this, or was just following the script in front of him. 


If you ask a question and they immediately re-ask their question, it is almost certainly a scam. 

Stopped Services on your computer is a normal thing, just like your microwave or shower are not running much of the time.  A server failure at your ISP is not going to impact the services on your computer, as, if necessary, a reboot of your system is all you should need.  Never let one of those callers remote into your system, as that is a disaster waiting to happen.  What exactly they will do varies, bit it won't be in your interest. 

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