Dell Tech Support Service Tag Hack
A number of people using Dell PCs have been contacted by scammers claiming to be Dell Tech Support who had PC-specific data that only Dell could have had.
Every Dell PC sold has a unique service tag number, which the CyberCriminals have gotten somehow.
Dell posted a warning in October about this phone scam, but did not mention a service tag number hack. Dell apparently does not know what is going on, and is “investigating”.
The scam goes something like this…
People are receiving phone calls reporting to be from “Dell Tech Support”. They have all the correct personal information, including your name, contact numbers, emails, and address, including the computer-specific service tag number, and any ‘ticket’ numbers assigned to any phone calls you made to Dell support, including the issue that the phone calls were about.
They try to manipulate people into downloading software onto their computer that will give the fake “support” access to their computer. They will not “fix” anything, but you will receive a huge credit card invoice, and may have ransomware infecting your computer.
Ars Technica reports several stories indicating a possible security breach.
- Joseph B. called Dell about a problem with his optical drive. A few months later, he received a call from a CyberCriminal who knew exactly what his problem was (optical drive), his service tag number, computer model and serial number, and other customer-specific information.
- Patrick Z. reported on a Dell U.S.A Customer Care Board about receiving similar calls. He stated the CyberCriminals knew his full name, email address, city, phone number, computer service tag, and a real Dell ticket number. He called the scammers back at the number they provided, and they answered “Dell Software Support”. Patrick Z. hung up & called Dell support directly [using a publicly available phone number, such as on the Dell website]. When he asked company reps to explain how CyberCriminals had so much information about him, a company employee answered “Dell is aware of this and other complaints and is investigating. No, there will not be a public post/blog. We consider this closed from a Forum perspective.”
- DJ, an unhappy customer posted in June 2015 that [other than a hack], there is no other way the person would have had my name, cell phone number, and know I had a Dell computer if it didn’t come from your company…”
In a 10ZenMunkeys’ blog post published Jan. 4/16, the author reported he had been contacted by CyberCriminals who knew of every problem the author had ever called Dell about. None of the problems had ever been discussed in public forums, leading the author to share the suspicion that proprietary Dell data had somehow been breached. The author reports that the CyberCriminals instructed to enter their domain name into the author’s “Run window”, which would have re-directed to a site to download software to allow remote access to their computer.
There are several other Dell customer complaints regarding the same type of scenarios.
If you receive a phone call reporting to be tech support (from ANY company), and they request you to confirm personal/payment information, or to grant them access to your computer —
Delete any email they might send you with similar claims.
ONLY give out personal information, if you have initiated the call, and looked up the main company number yourself on the company’s main website.
Do NOT rely on information in pop-ups, ads, in general internet searches, or on another website or forum, unless you can verify it is a valid source and verify it is a valid phone number for that company.
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Check out our “Email Red Flags” for what to watch for in suspicious emails.