Dulisse of Nelson, B.C., decided to take matters into his own hands two weeks ago, turning the tables on a man falsely claiming to be calling from California to offer Microsoft tech support.
"He wanted to get on to my computer to show me how badly corrupt it was and [said] he would fix it from there," Dulisse told Go Public.
"It became pretty obvious from the start that this was a scammer … a lot of red flags went up. He kind of mumbled his last name, sort of mumbled the business name. It was obviously not a legitimate call."
Dulisse played along for a while, secretly recording the conversation and questioning the caller, asking if he was really from Microsoft and really calling from California.
The caller became irritated, but it wasn't until Dulisse asked why the man would try to steal from unsuspecting people that the conversation took what Dulisse calls a "sinister turn."
He started getting kind of nasty and angry.
"He admitted that he was in India … and then he said, 'If you come to India, you know what we do to Anglo people?' I said, 'No.'
"He said, 'We cut them up in little pieces and throw them in the river."
But it didn't end there. The scammer knew Dulisse's full name and Canadian address, telling him he would send someone to his home to kill him.
Dulisse said the threats were chilling, but hard to take seriously.
"He was still trying to get me to do what he was trying to do with my computer. He was actually threatening me as a tactic."
These aggressive tactics are becoming more common with this kind of scam, according to Gregg Keizer, a reporter who writes about Microsoft for digital magazine Computerworld.
Other victims report getting dozens of calls the same day from scammers hoping the person will just give in.
Keizer said people continue to fall for the scam for two reasons.
First, many aren't tech savvy enough to know if their computer has been compromised. But mostly, he said, it's about fear.
People are afraid their online banking information and other personal data could get into the wrong hands so they accept what sounds like help from an expert, not realizing the real thief is on the phone line.
In some cases, if scammers get access to someone's computer, they plant viruses or Trojan malware — malicious computer code — to harvest passwords for banking or other personal data.
But in most cases, the bad guys are looking for a quick payoff.
Those who fall for the scam are asked to pay a fee of around $100 to "clean" their computer, when in fact there is nothing wrong with it.
Others are conned into a contract that could last years, leaving them on the hook for hundreds of dollars.
'Microsoft tech support' scammer recorded threatening to kill B.C. man - British Columbia - CBC News