UPDATE: The scammers called back today informing me that my computer had been sending “error messages for quite a long time”! They identified themselves as the “Technical Maintenance Department”. I was told that the count at the top of my Event Viewer is the number of infections on my computer. For $199 they would help me fix my computer. They directed me to browse to ms7.us, presumably to purchase something. I didn’t browse to that address, but I did a whois which indicated that the domain is registered to someone in India. Today, like yesterday, the people on the phone were very difficult to understand. Also like yesterday, the supervisor is very easy to understand when he curses. Perhaps he has practiced English curse words more than regular conversational words.
YESTERDAY: Minutes ago I received a phone call that the caller ID listed as “Out of area”, which I knew was a bad sign. It was difficult to understand the caller because of his very thick accent. He told me that he was from Microsoft and that my computer was throwing a large number of errors and he was calling to help me. He directed me to use Windows R to open a run dialog box, type eventvwr and then look at the Event Viewer. Within Event Viewer, he instructed me to open Custom Views and then open Administrative Events. He wanted to know the number of events. I told him that the count was 16,908, which he said was very bad. He routed me to his supervisor.
The supervisor asked me if I knew what this meant. I said yes, it meant that he wasn’t with Microsoft, and that he was a scammer. He asked me if the other guy indicated they were Microsoft. I said yes. He said that they were not Microsoft but instead a contractor to Microsoft, a certified and authorized company trying to help me. He said that if he was a scammer, he could hack my computer (after all, he said he knows my IP address), but he wouldn’t because he is a legitimate business. He did some cursing and hung up on me. His cursing was amazingly good, actually accent free as far as I could tell.
In case you don’t know what the Event Viewer is, it is a log of things that happen on your computer. It is not a listing of malware infections on your machine. It is completely normal for it to have tens of thousands of events. Don’t fall for someone calling you trying to scare you about how many events are in your event logs. Microsoft doesn’t call Windows users at home and have them open a run dialog box.