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Tech support scammer dialed random number and Australian Police’s cybercrime squad answered
Cops used the opportunity to figure out remote access traps
A tech-support scammer making random phone calls in the hope of finding a victim called the cyber-crime squad of an Australian police force, which used the happy accident to document the con trick and inform the public on what to watch out for.
The call was placed to the Financial and Cybercrime Investigation Branch (FCIB) in the state of South Australia, where the cops serve 1.75 million citizens.
“No one is safe from receiving scam robo-calls, not even the police,” the police force said in a canned statement. When the scammer called, they were put through to the an FCIB officer, who used a “secure and controlled environment … to gain an insight into how this current scam was operating.”
Details of FCIB’s secure environment were not disclosed. The con artist told the plod there had been a security breach on their computer, the officer was asked to visit a dodgy website, and download something called SupRemo.exe.
“When we queried why software was being downloaded, we were initially met with hesitation, before the caller tried to reassure us that the software would help fix our internet problem,” the cops explained.
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The FCIB officer said they couldn’t make that executable work, so the scammers tried to have them download other apps. “After we kept experiencing problems, the caller terminated the call.”
The force has ascertained that the software was a remote-access app, and said the website offers better-known and more-reputable remote tools such as TeamViewer and Zoho.
The scammer claimed to be calling from Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), which as a wholesaler has no business making calls to end-users. SA Police also pointed out that the URL used – www.nbn247.weebly.com – should set off alarm bells that the call is a scam, the .weebly.com bit being the giveaway, and advised folks not to download software they don’t understand and certainly not to do so as the result of a random incoming call.
“Police recommend that you do not engage with scammers,” the advisory ends, noting that the FICB has specialist kit to handle this sort of thing. The Register is tempted to ask if it’s permissible to keep scammers on the line long enough to ask why their remote access software for Windows isn't doing so well under Linux, though we suspect the question won’t be appreciated. ®