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article image'Microsoft tech support' scammer recorded threatening to kill man

By Megan Hamilton     Mar 5, 2015 in Technology
Nelson - In a scam that has defrauded Canadians to the tune of $347 million dollars, scammers are resorting to unnerving tactics, including threatening a man in British Columbia with death.
That's what happened to Jakob Dulisse, who decided to be proactive.
Dulisse turned the table on the scammers a couple of weeks ago when he was contacted by a man claiming to be calling from California to offer Microsoft tech support, Go Public CBC News British Columbia reports.
"He wanted to get on my computer to show me how badly corrupt it was and [said] he would fix it from there," Dulisse said, according to Go Public. "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 took his time a bit, secretly recording the caller and asking him questions: Was he really from Microsoft and was he really calling from California?
The caller got feisty, but the call didn't take a nasty turn until Dulisse asked the man why he would try to steal from unsuspecting people. That's when the call took a "sinister turn," Dulisse told Go Public.
"He started getting kind of nasty and angry," Dulisse said. "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.'"
What was even creepier was that the scammer said he knew Dulisse's complete name and Canadian address and told him he would send someone to his house to kill him.
Dulisse found the threats chilling but didn't take them seriously.
"He was still trying to get me to do what he was trying to do with my computer," he said. "He was actually threatening me as a tactic."
WinBeta notes that the 'Microsoft Tech Support' scam is huge — among one of the largest in operation, and it targets the USA and Canada, although the scam runs globally. Around 2.8 million Canadians received calls from tech scammers in the last year, and out of that number, around 200,000 people lost money, Microsoft reported, per WinBeta.
Most of the calls to Canada originate in India and Bangladesh, Daniel Williams of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre told WinBeta.
There's been a spate of reports regarding scam artists claiming they that they would harm or kidnap consumer's loved ones if they didn't cough up purported debts. In most of these cases, the victims would be instructed to buy pre-paid cards worth hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, Consumerist reports. They were instructed to send them to the scammer to protect their loved ones.
The Federal Trade Commission has been cracking down on tech support scams like the one in Canada and shut down a tech scam operation based in New York that allegedly tricked older consumers into paying for technical support that they didn't need. They were also tricked into purchasing software that is actually available for free. Sadly, people were tricked to the tune of $2.5 million by this company which frequently cold-called consumers while pretending to be representatives for Microsoft or Facebook.
The operation that targeted Dulisse is now the biggest ongoing scam in Canada, Williams told Go Public, adding that they are tough to investigate and shut down. Most of these operations are overseas, and if one shuts down, dozens more pop up.
"The scammers will go where the money is," Williams said. "As long as there is money to be made, nothing will convince them to stop doing it — no matter how many are shut down, others will take their place if there's money to be had."
The scammers are getting even more creative, taking their dirty dealings online.
"The bad guys are setting up their own websites, making it seem like they're connected with Microsoft or whoever else and consumers are finding these websites when they are looking for help," Williams told Go Public.
He added:
"And of course the bad guys are there to offer them all sorts of help and protection while taking their money and offering very little in return."
On it's website, Microsoft has a warning about the scam and advises the following:
• Don’t purchase any software or services.
• Ask if any fees or subscriptions are associated with the “service.” If there are, hang up.
• Do not give control to your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that the person is a legitimate representative of a computer support team where you are already a customer.
• If possible, write down the caller’s information and immediately report it to local authorities.
• Never provide personal financial information or credit card numbers to someone who claims to be from Microsoft tech support.
Microsoft told Go Public that it has contacted the CRTC, the Canadian Competition Bureau, and the RCMP and provided the organizations with information regarding Canadian victims and those who scammed them.
Go Public reports that it didn't find any evidence of Canadian authorities taking action against the scammers.
Dulisse said he decided to talk to Go Public in order to warn others about the scam. He has received and recorded another call from another person who claimed to be from 'Microsoft tech support.'
He's now considering giving up his landline because of this experience.
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