Tag Archives: Scam

Delivery spam scam

There seems to be a new way to propagate a virus using the UPS system for tracking your parcel. I received both of these email  messages within a couple of hours of each other.

This is a poor attempt at a scam. The originators yahoo email address is exposed, the spelling is poor, and the To:line shows multiple addresses.The Zip file is the same size in each, there is no corporate branding on either email and the spelling leaves a lot to be desired.



With success rates for spammers increasing all the time it is worth being vigilant. Two easy ways to make sure that you don’t get anything destructive on your machine:

  • Take your user account out of the Administrators group.The default account when you first get your machine is in the Administrators group. Create a separate account called admin, and protect it with a password. You will be prompted every time something needs to have administrative access to your machine, whether an update or a fix – or a worm. Stopping and checking – before you allow access will minimise your chances of introducing malware.
  • Check dodgy emails such as these carefully. Poor spelling, multiple recipients, attachments should all make you suspicious. If in doubt, don’t open the email…

Eileen is a social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can elevate your brand and help your business become more social.


Poor quality phishing attempt on Windows Live accounts

Here’s another poor quality example of an attempt to extract information from my Windows Live account.  This time my account has been blocked.


What’s wrong with the email?

It is in the wrong font. Microsoft usually sends email in san serif fonts.

Windows Live is two words, not one

‘exceeded it’s sending’ – poor grammar

‘our customer’s account’ – the grocers apostrophe strikes again

Suspension has been misspelled

Link mismatch – phrealtyfunding.com.  Ha!

Its such a shame that so many people still click the link and are duped by these scammers…

Eileen is a social business and social media strategist and consultant at Amastra, a columnist at ZDNet and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact Eileen to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

HMRC scam from the Grenadines makes basic mistakes

I’m convinced that some spammers and scammers are getting lazy. I’m not sure that this is a sophisticated attempt to extract cash from me.  This is the latest piece of spam I received. Unlike the last email scam which got my attention I was curious to see how different this email was.  This email included an .rtf attachment with the following text. There are some glaring errors here… 


Date: The letter isn’t dated

Phone number: HMRC publish contact numbers on the web site.  The code for London does not start with 070

$15,000,000.00 USD:  We deal in GBP here – sorry.

W-8BEN:  This is a US tax form – and not used over here.

email address ending in .vc. This is the email address for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. Obviously not HMRC in the UK. 

Ms Lin Homer. You can keep the 15 million dollars you owe me – It looks like you need it to furnish your country home on the Islands.  I’ll deal with my local HMRC thank you and get any payments due to me in British pounds.

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Fifteen ways to amuse yourself when phone spammers call



I seem to get more and more unsolicited phone calls nowadays.  In addition to the regular calls telling me I have a virus or malware on my PC, I’m getting more and more calls I don’t want.

I’m bored with just putting the phone down on the callers.

I want to tie up their lines so that they don’t get the chance to call others and annoy them.

So here are a few of the fibs I have told to occupy their time so that they don’t have chance to call you…


Annoying the logmein scammers:

  • They call from PC support.  I say yes, I’ve been waiting for an engineer to arrive.  When are you going to get here?
  • They call from Microsoft support.  I engage them with a long conversation asking them which organisation or division they work for, whether they are full time employees, or vendors
  • They call from a Microsoft Partner to say I have a virus.  I tell them they have got through to the reception of a large company and ask them which department they want to be connected to.
  • Another call from a Microsoft support organisation.  I let them talk me through the options and then tell them that I can’t find the ‘Start’ button on my iPad
  • Another call.  I tell them I know a damn sight more than them about messages on the PC that tell where there is a problem and then go into Event viewer and start grilling them on the system messages
  • Yet another call.  These guys don’t give up do they?  This time I start talking about the Workstation and Server service which appear not to be working on this machine.

Callers from a call centre, far far away..

  • As the line clicks through, I say: Hello?  Hello?  Hello?  repeatedly for as long as it takes them to realise that I can’t hear them
  • I carry on having a normal conversation – as through I haven’t realise that the phone has connected

Cold calls

  • If it is a call telling me about a government initiative or discount, I grill them on which initiative or discount, and then spend time tapping the keyboard trying to find the initiative online
  • I tell the caller that I already know about the initiative as I work for the department that is organising the scheme
  • I ask for the name of the company calling and the company offering the discount and then spend time searching for the correct spelling of the company online
  • I tell the caller that I’d love to have new white UPVC windows / conservatory / porch, but I’m not sure how it works with a grade I listed building /court judgement / bankruptcy notices etc.


  • I answer yes to each question until they realise I’ve said yes all the way through the conversation
  • I tell them I’m of a completely different age range / home owner status / financial position to the truth

Photographic studio calls:

  • I was asked whether I wanted a cheap family portrait done.  I said I was single with no family.  He suggested that I had my photo taken with a pet.  I told him I had no pets apart from 2 chickens and I didn’t particularly didn’t fancy having my photo taken with either of them.

I could hear him laughing as he put down the phone…

So sometimes my way of getting rid of cold callers isn’t all that bad.  Perhaps I need to get an answering machine and free up some of my time.  Well what do you know, the phone is ringing again.  Which response shall I use today?…  Open-mouthed smile

Eileen is a social business strategist, ZDNet columnist and author of Working The Crowd: Social Media Marketing for Business. Contact her to find out how she can help your business extend its reach.

Credit: TheGiantVermin

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How to annoy the logmein123.com scammers



They never learn do they?  Only a few weeks after I blogged about my call from a software ‘expert’ telling me they had found worms on my machine, I’ve had another long call with them…

This time, they avoided telling me about ClassID. They went straight into Event Viewer then directed me to Http://logmein123.com.  This site is a remote access website which is used legitimately by many companies and is used to gain access to remote PC’s

There are loads of examples of people either falling for, or having fun with the scammers.  Search for logmein123.com for a selection of these.   Have a look at this blog too for a huge amount of links…  There are loads of videos too about this on YouTube – with people winding them up much better than I could…

From there have a look at some of the related videos.  Listen and learn.  Other good ones here:



http://youtu.be/dNPZf_ZWJ80 (This guy keeps them on the phone for 70 minutes and states that Google maps are wrong because they include N. Ireland as part of the United Kingdom!)

and there are lots more.  All have the same theme… 


I’ve been looking at of the examples around the web about people who successfully keep them talking online, see through their scams and help other people so that they don’t get caught and I’m impressed by how many of us aren’t falling for the scam. 

However, for them to be continuing their efforts for this length of time (over 2 years now – and more here…) , there must be thousands of people who are actually falling for this.  Older people – not the digital natives seem to be particularly at risk – like James’ Dad

So all of you techies – when you get one of these calls.  Try to tie up these scammers for as long as you can – play the innocent and confound them with your slow bandwidth speed, your poor typing and your inability to understand anything technical at all.  There are some great examples of others doing this on YouTube or search for http://onlinepccare.com scam and hear some other examples.  The longer you tie them up on your call, then the less they will be dealing with less calls per day and are less likely to catch anyone who might just fall for this scam.

And if you feel like a smile – watch these videos and pick up some tips to delay the scammers next time they call Smile


Dealing with the ‘Your computer has malware’ call from ‘Microsoft’




I had an interesting phone call today from someone who told me that I had issues with my machine – ‘Right now’.  I was curious to find out the technique that they used to scam people so I acted dumb and asked him why he knew. 


The caller – and the delay on the line  – sounded like I was talking to someone from India.  He said his name was Michael and he was calling from the Windows Service Centre and worked on behalf of Microsoft.  Pah!!

He assured me that this was a British company with offices in Manchester.  He gave me the phone number too: 0161 4085 067.  Hmmm…


He stated several times that if I called the company, then it would prove he was legitimate.  He then asked me if I was sitting in front of the computer and asked me to do a few things for him…



He asked me to access the Start button and type in Run, then cmd

He then told me to type ‘assoc’ and hit enter, told me not to worry about all of the text scrolling down on my screen, but as proof that my computer had sent him a message, he read out the line at the bottom of the screen


He quickly read out: CLSID\{888DCA60-FC0A-11CF-8F0F-00C04FD7D062} – whilst I tried to slow him down, pretending to write everything down… He said that the number proved that he knew it was my machine (actually this number exists on EVERY Windows machine!)

Then he asked me to type EVENTVWR and asked me what appeared Smile

He took me into the Application log in Event Viewer and told me that all of the application information messages were being sent to him so he knew that there was malware on my machine, quoting the errors and warnings on the screen. He asked me how many entries I had, and I told him 763!  He said.  That’s how many times your computer has been messaging us with this information.

Unfortunately, my dumb act must have made him a little bit suspicious. I asked him if he worked for Microsoft, which division, and how he knew it was my machine ‘sending him messages’.  I spent a little bit too long grilling him on how this relationship with Microsoft worked.  I was rumbled,  so I never got to the URL part of the script. 

Of course this is a telemarketing scam, which has been reported on several times,  where the scammer tries to gain access to your machine to run a script and gain access to your machine.  But so often, people fall victim to the scam.

Microsoft have a page dedicated to common scams stating that they NEVER call anyone to help them fix their computer (they’re busy enough on the forums and dedicated support lines)


I kept him chatting for as long as he could – my reasoning is that the longer I kept him talking, the less calls he’d be able to make that day, but I think I was rumbled.  Unfortunately, a search of the web shows that too many people fall for this type of scam…

Sure, he asked me if I had a PC, and if it was a Windows machine.

But he didn’t ask me if I was actually connected to the Internet… Oh Drat… Hopefully I’ll be able to get the punch line out next time..  Smile