Tech-support scammers know EVERYTHING about my computer, Dell customer says

It’s time for Dell to say how scammers got serial numbers and other customer data.

Enlarge (credit: David Precious / Flickr)

More than 30 months after surfacing, a tech-support scam targeting Dell computer owners continues to raise questions about how the callers know sensitive information, including PC serial numbers and the names, phone numbers, and email addresses customers gave to the PC maker.

Most tech-support scams are opportunistic. A caller falsely claims she’s calling from Microsoft to warn of a serious, non-existent problem with a person’s Windows computer, even when the person happens to own only a Mac. The goal of the call is to trick the mark into purchasing software or technical support to fix the issue or to install software that gives the caller remote control over the computer. These types of rackets have been targeting owners of Windows computers from a variety of sellers for years.

A scam targeting Dell customers, by contrast, uses sensitive details tied to their specific PC purchase, including the PC model, service tag number, and the contact information the customers provided at the time they made the purchase. Armed with those details, the caller has a much better chance of tricking the person into thinking the call is legitimate and, from there, ceding control of the computer or coughing up hundreds of dollars in fraudulent support costs.

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