03 August 2018
SCAM ALERT: IP Location is Mountain View, California
We’re seeing a new type of cyber scam where callers are phoning unsuspecting victims pretending to be from companies, like BT and tricking them into believing their computer systems have been hacked.
The method is clever and starts off by claiming to be from your Internet service or telecoms provider, with no pressure like asking you to give out any personal details or passwords. When questioned about their legitimacy, the caller pretends to pass you to a supervisor and also offers to give you a telephone number to call them back on. By tricking you, the caller then proceeds to explain there’s a problem with your IP address and as your Internet service provider, they suspect your computer has been victim of a cyber-attack. They further trick you by asking questions, such as, “have you noticed your computer has been running slowly lately?”. The caller then directs the victim to open their Internet browser and type in “what is my IP location” which returns Mountain View, California and the victim is led to believe that someone from California is attempting to control their system.
This is nothing to be alarmed of and is instead manipulation of Google’s search engine crawlers and the pre-saved snippet that Google serves in its search results. Mountain View, California is the location of Google’s headquarters where their systems periodically will crawl the Internet, gathering information about web sites and then storing this information in it’s database.
What you’re seeing when you type in this search query, is the result that the particular web site, IPLocation.net, returned to Google at the time of its query. Google have stored the result and it’s being shown to you as a preview of the information gathered at the time. If you click in to the web site result for IPLocation.net, your actual IP address is displayed along with your geo-location.
Victims of this scam are then convinced by their caller that their systems have been hacked and the caller will assist in removing the alleged attacker. This is done by directing the victim to download Teamviewer, which is a well-known and reputable remote access control software, and the person is then susceptible to giving full control along with screen-sharing of their computer to the caller. In the cases we are aware of, the victims were directed to log on to their Internet banking and e-mail accounts, potentially exposing their details to the scam caller.
Don’t be fooled!
Sadly, this is another clever example of scammers abusing their victims’ innocence and taking advantage of the way Google’s crawlers store information in their database. There’s nothing wrong with your IP information and if you’re worried, contact a genuine I.T. firm for assistance but don’t fall for a cold-caller!