Should You Record & Share Calls from Telephone Tech Support Scammers?

Christian Cawley 29-04-2016

They will ruin your day, and if they manage to con you, they could ruin your life with identity theft 6 Warning Signs Of Digital Identity Theft You Shouldn't Ignore Identity theft isn't too rare of an occurrence these days, yet we often fall into the trap of thinking that it'll always happen to "someone else". Don't ignore the warning signs. Read More . It’s the “Windows tech support” scammers, the perpetrators of a scam that implies you have a virus on your computer that only they can fix — for a fee. Once you agree to their remote access software, you and your data are at their mercy…


Now, we’ve recently explained how you should handle a tech support scam phone call What Should You Do About the Windows Tech Support Scam? If Windows Tech Support calls you, it's a scam. But what should you do? Hang up, lead the callers on, or report them? Read More . The sensible thing to do is to just hang up – without even talking – before telling everyone you know that these people are working on a massive con.

But you want to fight back. You might think that it’s a good idea to let others know what they’re letting themselves in for if they embrace the scammers, perhaps by recording and sharing a call from a Windows tech support scammer Anatomy of a Scam: The "Windows Tech Support" Con Examined They're constantly on the prowl: cold calling scammers claiming to be from "Windows Tech Support". We were targeted by one of these con artists and here's what happened. Read More .

The thing is, this might not be a good idea.

How It Might Go in Your Head

The idea is intriguing, but it probably isn’t something you should get involved with unless you’re absolutely clear about the outcome, and the preparation.

Here’s an example call:


Now, the recording above was made on the spur of the moment, half-way through a conversation, and recorded on my Android smartphone. It’s not bad, but it could have been better. So why wasn’t it?

You Probably Won’t Be Prepared

Put simply, I wasn’t prepared. You probably won’t be, either.

Let’s be clear: there’s only one way to catch the scammers in the act, and that’s to record the call. But to record them, you’ll need to ensure that you are prepared. Recording a call on a landline isn’t the easiest thing, but it is possible.

However, the privacy concerns with recording calls should not be overlooked. Different countries and territories have different rules; for instance, in the UK, it’s legal to record a call without telling the other person if the call is for personal use. In the USA, however, it depends on your state; this Wikipedia article provides further detail.


Scam Calls on Your Mobile

Want to share scam calls received on your smartphone? Again, you might want to record calls, and if you’re using Android you have a few good options available How to Automatically Record Calls on Android and Never Run out of Space Recording phone calls is a great way to keep data for your records. Let's compare some apps that will do this on your Android phone. Read More . As a general rule, however, you shouldn’t expect any of them to “just work” — often these apps will only work on a small group of phones.


(Interestingly, it seems that there is some difference in how the telephony systems of phones from different manufacturers work, with the result that with some apps, calls can be easily recorded, and other times cannot.)

For iPhone, look at Yallo’s Call Recorder, which will record incoming calls for free. Credit is required for recording outgoing calls.


You’ll Need to Keep the Scammers Talking

The scammer is on the phone. You’re determined to record the call, and use it later. But in order to do this, you’re going to have to put yourself in the firing line, and expose yourself to the scam. This means engaging with the scammers, and keeping them talking.

Do you really want to do this?


It’s entirely possible, for example, that you’ll be quite comfortable feigning ignorance, seeming grateful for the call, perhaps mentioning that your PC has been running slow 5 Little-Known Specs That Could Be Slowing Down Your PC We'll take a look at five lesser known factors that affect your computer's performance, and show you how you can always get maximum bang for your buck when upgrading. Read More . You might try their patience by “struggling” to find the website to download their remote app.


Getting a decent recording, however, means a bit more than this. You’ll have to keep them talking, while simultaneously keeping personal information to yourself. If you are going down this route, please play safe. You don’t really want to let the scammer onto your PC for real, so one option is to invite them into a virtual machine session. This is done by running a version of Windows in a VM Testing A New Operating System? Stay Secure With A Virtual Machine Read More and using that session to download the scammer’s remote software.

Our detailed list of wind-ups for telephone scam callers 5 Great Ways to Wind Up Telephone Scammers For a while, there has been a trend that involves scammers posing as customer support and calling up innocent people only to falsely inform them that their computers have viruses. The scammers in question will... Read More may prove useful, but be mindful of the dangers. Should you find that you actually have been scammed, follow these steps to take action What Should You Do After Falling For A Fake IT Support Scam? Search for "fake tech support scam" and you will understand how common it is across the world. Some simple precautions after the event could help you feel less of a victim. Read More .

Why You Shouldn’t Share the Tech Support Scam Call

With the recording complete, you’ll want to share it. Perhaps you’ve plans to share it on YouTube, (yes, audio can be uploaded to YouTube 3 Ways To Add Your Audio-Only Podcast To YouTube The world's 3rd biggest website will not let you upload audio without an accompanying video. Maximise the profile of your podcast by featuring it on YouTube with these three workarounds. Read More ) if you didn’t webcast it live in Google Hangouts, or use Periscope to share it live to the Internet 10 Reasons You Should Be Using Periscope Now With so many different social networks, it's difficult to know where to put your energy. But there are plenty of great reasons why you should give Periscope a go. Here are a few. Read More , as it happens.

Now, it would be great if you ended up with with something like this…

…but the fact is, you won’t. You’re putting yourself at risk recording the call, not only from the scammer, but from the authorities, too. Wasting the scammer’s time might seem like a good idea; it may feel public spirited, but really, there’s no need. A trip to YouTube reveals dozens of similar calls, recorded, uploaded and shared. You don’t need to add to this number.

You just need to hang up.

Have you recorded a Windows tech support scam call and put it online? Share your findings in the comments!

Image Credit: Fingers point by Maryna Pleshkun via Shutterstock, Thief with mask by Roger costa morera via Shutterstock, sam72 via, Andrey_Popov via

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  1. Anonymous
    August 18, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Hilarious comments..!! xoxo

  2. sitcomkid
    May 1, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    They won't sue. They won't say who they are. That's the whole point of it.

    • Christian Cawley
      May 1, 2016 at 7:58 pm

      I suspect the vast majority would avoide revealing themselves. However I understand a few of these businesses are striving for some respectability. While this might involve moving into legitimate outsource contracts, they apparently maintain the criminal stuff.

      It's a minefield, clearly.

  3. Bill
    April 29, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    In some areas to legally record a phone conversation, by civilians, both parties must agree to the recording. So by doing this without the scammers knowledge could open you up for a law suit. Wouldn't that be interesting on the news. "Phone scammer sues individual for illegally recording attempted Microsoft Tech Support scam".