Most of us have received that call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Support saying that there is an issue with our computer that they want to help us resolve. This scam has evolved into something so sophisticated and so refined that it has become big business in and of itself.
Today’s guest is Jim Browning. Jim can’t stand scammers, so he’s doing something about it. Jim has been baiting, investigating, and exposing scammers on his YouTube channel for over 5 years. His channel now has over 2.3 million subscribers and many of his videos showing how these scams work have been watched millions of times.“The vast majority of robo-calls are scams.” - Jim Browning Click To Tweet
- [0:51] – Most people recognize tech support scams as a cold call where the scammer claims they are working for a company that needs you to get on your computer to gain access.
- [2:34] – Jim says the way to put these people off is to deny having the device they are asking for you to connect.
- [3:13] – These types of scammers might also claim they are your bank or credit card company. Either way, this scam is all about logging into your account and giving them access.
- [4:32] – Jim describes what would happen if a scammer gains access to your computer after you follow the steps they give you over the phone.
- [6:01] – Jim never intended to be a YouTuber. In fact, he has a “proper” job in IT and is an engineer at heart. But as someone who received these calls, he became curious and one day recorded what a scammer did.
- [7:23] – More often than not, the people running these scams are out of a different country and it is near impossible to do anything about it through law enforcement.
- [8:21] – Jim shares that India’s equivalent to the FBI has recently conducted raids and some of these operations may actually be dealt with.
- [9:27] – Through running scams, Jim describes how one operation brought in over a million dollars per month and employed several hundred people.
- [10:19] – When hiring, these operations may hire people who don’t know they’re scammers. Some, though, actually advertise that they are scammers.
- [11:27] – With enough computer knowledge and the curiosity, Jim let scammers access his computer but was able to reverse it and gain access to their computer instead.
- [12:31] – Jim tells a story about how he accessed a scammer’s CCTV recording and was able to see and hear how they are running their operation.
- [14:12] – These scammers take the business very seriously and professionally. Like legitimate organizations, they record calls and use them to train their employees.
- [16:39] – Sometimes scammers will retain the access to the computer, but most of the time, they will get their one-off payment and it will likely be the last time you hear from them or you won’t hear from them for a while.
- [17:56] – If you are scammed once, your information will be sold to other scammers. Once you’ve been victimized, you are far more likely to fall victim again.
- [19:10] – The cold calls are the most common, but a more subtle scam is to Google for genuine support. Some sites are not genuine and many people do not check the legitimacy of the site.
- [21:27] – There are various software you can install on your computer that help identify a site that is not legitimate.
- [22:14] – If you think you are a victim of a scam, you need to start by contacting your bank or credit card company as quickly as possible. If it has been several months, it is very hard to get your money back.
- [23:40] – The most safe thing to do if you fall victim of a scam is to completely wipe your computer and start over. But Jim does state that most of the time, scammers are only in it for a one-off payment so you might not need to do that.
- [25:01] – Jim has also seen scammers take identities to open up bank accounts in order to launder money.
- [25:46] – There are scams that ask for gift cards, which is as good as cash in most cases. If you use a gift card or read out a gift card number, you will not get your money back.
- [26:40] – No legitimate online business is going to ask for gift cards and is a big red flag. The big one right now are Amazon gift cards.
- [27:52] – A lot of employees who sell gift cards are trained to ask the customer who is buying large denominations on a gift card to ask if they have been put up to it. But Jim gives examples about how scammers get around this.
- [29:55] – Scamming organizations have also recruited people in the US and the UK to be a part of these scams to make it more believable because of their lack of foreign accent.
- [31:42] – Scammers have been known to cunningly coach people into willingly transferring money to them.
- [32:40] – No legitimate company will ever have a problem with you asking questions. Be a skeptic.
- [33:44] – Another red flag for a scam is urgency to take action. Always stop and ask questions and call them on the number you know is accurate.
- [34:28] – Anyone can forge a number. You cannot trust the caller ID. But there is something possibly happening in the United States that will help identify real numbers.
- [36:49] – Jim’s YouTube channel shows how scams work and can help you recognize when a call could be a scam. His YouTube channel’s mission is to bring awareness.
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