OFFICIAL SECURITY BLOG

Tech support scammers spam YouTube with robot-like warnings

December 11, 2013 | BY

If you have been following our blog, you certainly know how much we despise the fake tech support scams.

In a twisted new variant, crooks are calling out to all antivirus / anti-malware customers and urging them to fix their computers now.

One such account was spamming YouTube with hundreds of videos, all using a computer-generated voice and personalized for each AV/Anti-Malware company:

vendors

One of those videos hit a little too close to home: “Malware Bytes Antivirus Support”. It has since been removed by YouTube’s Legal Team but we did save a copy which you can watch here.

MBAMyt

Not only do they not know how to spell our name properly, nor know that we are not an antivirus, they further advertise their service in the video’s description:

service

Time to pick up the phone and expose those crooks.

The company behind this scam is “My Tech Gurus” (http://www.mytechgurus.com):

website

Once on the phone, I am quickly directed to a remote technician and instructed to hang the call to pursue the support session directly through the chat window on my computer:

chatsession1

I know the drill (having performed it too many times to remember) so I just keep playing the game to see where it’s going to take me.

If the ‘technician’ were honest, she would tell me there is absolutely nothing wrong with this computer and perhaps even say: “Nice try! This is a Virtual Machine”.

But this is not the road ‘Helen’ is going to take, oh no… Instead she wastes no time in making up fake errors:

ping

100% Loss, argh!!!!

services

Yikes, everything is stopped!!!

errors

Bucket loads of errors!!!

infections

All my files are infected!!! Someone please save me!

And here is the ‘technical’ explanation:

thedetails

Of course, fixing those ‘errors’ is not going to be free:

pay

The little charade had gone for long enough so I decided to question them. Unsurprisingly, those guys have an answer for everything, including how honest their business is and that they are located in the US:

certified

address

This is rather curious because most of their website’s traffic comes from… India:

india

So has Helen been lying to me all that while? Well, there’s one way to find out by asking the $1M question:

man

The reason I asked that is because when I first called, the technician was a male with a heavy Indian accent. He told me to hang up and that Helen would continue working with me over the chat program, thus confirming the technician and Helen are the same person.

I continued talking to Helen for a little bit more and found out she/he was quite busy at the moment helping – ahem scamming – other customers.

Sadly, tech support scams are still going strong and robbing many people of their money. Throughout my investigations, I’ve come to learn about many victims who already have financial difficulties and feel completely devastated after it’s happened to them.

Our fight continues and we encourage everyone to report each incident. We have created a guide for victims that describes the variations of scams and what to do in each case.

It may seem like a never-ending battle, but at the end of the day, if we’ve managed to save even just one person, then we can feel confident we’re doing the right thing.

A video capture of the scam in progress can be found here.

[Edit 01/22/2015]

The lawyer for My Tech Gurus has sent us this:

The article falsely accuses My Tech Gurus of “spamming YouTube with hundreds of videos, all usinga  computer-generated voice and personalized for each AV/Anti-Malware company” and goes on to state that “The company behind this scam is ‘My Tech Gurus’ (http://www.mytechgurus.com)”.  The article did not provide any proof that MTG is the entity that is responsible for posting the video or any of its contents; the only link between MTG and the nefarious video?  An advertisement that allegedly peddled MTG and its tech support services.  Although your client was reckless in posting such accussations without any proof, the lack of proof is not surprising.  MTG is not the entity that is responsible for posting the video or any of its contents–and any accusation to the contrary is simply false and damaging to MTG’s business and reputation  Ascribing the actions of the publisher to MTG just because MTG may have advertised with the publisher renders the article fatally flawed.  This is especially so where your client failed to reach out to MTG to determine the veracity of its claims prior to publication.   We urge you to remove the article at once, as it continues to wrongly harm the business of MTG.

With respect to the particular experience of your client’s staffer, the individual at MTG is no longer employed by MTG.  MTG is dedicated to ensuring that its customers have the ultimate experience in satisfaction with the company’s services and any employees who fail to adhere to MTG’s strict standards are terminated at once.  MTG employs hundreds of individuals and the experience cited in your article is not at all representative of the vast number of positive experiences enjoyed by MTG every day.

We decided to investigate My Tech Gurus again to check if this was indeed an isolated case of a “bad employee”. We took notes during the process and the technician “Jamie” boldly told us:

As I diagnosed your computer found that the reason you are facing this issue might be that in the computer there is some sever Infections installed unknowingly from the internet

This was not true of course, since we were using a fully patched and malware free computer. This was the course of action recommended by Jamie:

Now we need to manually remove the infection   entries quickly, delete all the embedded system files, secure your computer protocols so that the security updates can be applied to all your software applications

It came at a cost, with a choice of different plans:

—>One time fix -$169.99
—> 1 Year Unlimited tech support and Ultimate Maintenance plan – $269.99
—> 2 Years Unlimited tech support and Ultimate Maintenance plan – $379.99 (Discounted Price)
—> 3 Years Unlimited tech support and Ultimate Maintenance plan – $479.99 (Discounted Price)

From our standpoint, My Tech Gurus has not changed its practices. For the benefit of consumers, and potential victims we are still blacklisting “My Tech Gurus”.

[End of Edit 01/22/2015]


  • suranjitpaul

    Thanks for explaining this kind of scam.

    – Suranjit

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  • https://www.facebook.com/gilda.m.sanchez Gilda Sanchez

    This is so important for educating the public. During your investigations, were you using a WinXP computer without AV and Advanced Firewall protection? Is that how the infection injected itself? Was the company “myTechGurus” the creator of the infections? I’d sure like these scammers to be caught. Thanks Jerome!

  • Jerome Segura

    Hi Gilda,
    There was no real infection, they simply use “tricks” to make you believe there are.
    This was a Windows 7 with AV protection and fully patched… just to be sure ;)

  • Stan naz

    I know who I’m calling when I want a laugh.

  • aza3ful1 .

    You guys are amazing.
    “Are you a man?”
    “Yes”.

  • ekaj

    Messing with the scammers is all i use virtual machines for.