Tech-support scams, in which fraudsters pose as computer technicians who charge hefty fees to fix non-existent malware infections, have been a nuisance for years. A relatively new one targeting Dell computer owners is notable because the criminals behind it use private customer details to trick their marks into thinking the calls come from authorized Dell personnel.
"What made the calls interesting was that they had all the information about my computer; model number, serial number, and notably the last item I had called Dell technical support about (my optical drive)," Ars reader Joseph B. wrote in an e-mail. "That they knew about my optical drive call from several months prior made me think there was some sort of information breach versus just my computer being compromised."
He isn't the only Dell customer reporting such an experience. A blog post published Tuesday reported scammers knew of every problem the author had ever called Dell about. None of those problems were ever discussed in public forums, leading the author to share the suspicion that proprietary Dell data had somehow been breached.