Don’t Be a Support Scam Victim


Don’t Be a Support Scam Victim

Computer users from around the world are being targeted by 3 types of technical support related scams: 1)Phone calls from companies claiming to be associated with well known software vendors – offering assistance with a problem with your PC 2)Deceptive advertisements for technical support for a particular software product placed on search engines like Google and Bing and 3)Browser Hijacking – that promotes phone based technical support.

Phone Support Scams

Direct Calls Offering Support

ALERT: We have recently received reports of Tech Support scam phone calls being made by persons claiming to represent PC Matic. PC Matic has NO relationship with these parties and does NOT solicit consumers or businesses over the phone. We are actively investigating this issue and will continue to provide information about the warning signs of these scams.
If you need assistance with PC Matic – our support team is available 7 days a week via pcmatic.com/help.

PC ‘Tech Support’ Cold-Call Scam Resources
http://avien.net/blog/pc-support-scam-resources/

Browser Hijacks – Promoting Tech Support Phone Numbers

As you browse the internet are you seeing endless pop-ups with offers of 800 numbers for technical support and more?

Your browser may have been hijacked.

Sophisticated malware now has the ability to recognize the type of page you are visiting, hijack your browser and serve you related pop-up ads.

Pop-ups like the one pictured below (being served to a visitor to pcpitstop.com) are most likely associated with a browser hijack/malware infection.

hijack1

The pop-ups are in NO way associated with PC Matic or PC Pitstop.

Search Engine Support Scams

WARNING: It has come to our attention that companies are deceptively promoting PC Matic “Support” via Google & Bing ads (like the one below). The company behind the majority of these ads -iYogi – is in NO way associated with PC Matic or PC Pitstop and is exploiting ‘loopholes’ in search engine advertising policy.

iyogi5


Consumers who respond to these ads are charged a minimum of $149.99 – for answers otherwise available for free in basic online documentation or via official PC Matic support.

PC Pitstop has repeatedly petitioned Google and Microsoft to have these ads removed.

Great advice from our good friend Leo Notenboom:

Avoiding the scam

Classic scam-avoidance 101: never completely trust someone who you don’t know who calls you.
Listen to them, if you like. Ask questions, if you feel so motivated, but never ever give them access to your PC and never ever give them your payment information.
Let them know that you’ll have your local tech look into it (even if you don’t have one).
Once it becomes clear that you’re not going to fall for the trap, it’s very likely that you’ll get hung up on, or that the caller may even become abusive. At that point, you can hang up on them.
If you’re concerned that there is a real problem, do the research yourself, or contact the technical resources that you trust and ask them about it.
Chances are there’s nothing to see here.

Recovering from the scam

If you handed over payment information, you’ve just given that information to a complete stranger. Immediately contact your credit card issuer or other payment provider and put them on fraud alert.
If you allowed the scammer access to your machine … well, things get ugly.
The short answer is that you have no idea what they did. If you saw them install software in the guise of tools to help repair your system, it’s very possible that software’s really a bundle of malware that’s now residing on your machine.
Even if you didn’t see them download something, they still could have placed malware on your machine.
You just don’t know.
And there’s no way to prove that they didn’t.
There are two approaches at this point:
Assume the worst. Revert to a system image backup taken before the access was granted. If you don’t have such a backup, then backup your data, reformat, and reinstall Windows. This is the only way to know that whatever the scammer might have left on your machine is truly gone.
Hope for the best. Run up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware tools, making sure that each is running with an up-to-date database. I’d be tempted to scan with an additional tool or two; I would specifically recommend a scan with MalwareBytes Anti-Malware, which seems to catch a lot of the more aggressive malware. I’d be tempted also to try the process outlined here, as well as Windows Defender Offline. And then I’d hope that whatever may have been left was caught.

It’s a scam

This appears to be a common scam right now and the best defense, as you can guess, is to not fall for it in the first place.
If you do, then the next best thing is to make sure that you have regular system backups that you can revert to.
And if you walk away remembering just one thing, remember this:
They won’t call you.
If “they” do, be very, very suspicious.
Read more from Leo here

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14 thoughts on “Don’t Be a Support Scam Victim

  1. I received that ” Call Computer Support” message and knew it was a scam so I didn’t call the number. But I’ve still got the message and related pop-ups on my computer which disrupt my computer activity aside from being very annoying. How can I get rid of these messages???

  2. I no longer subscribe to PCMatic, so I hope you are not still charging me for your service. But I thank you for the info here.

  3. father in law called one of those numbers after popping up on his screen.I told him not to call them but he didnt listen to me. He paid them 400.00 they told him they would fix it for life. Neeedless to say it cost a few more to repair his pc

  4. Just got a call from a Hindu sounding person claiming to Microsoft tech support. I told him that I had another call to finish and that if he held on that I would talk to him. I then simulated a call by sayin "Sherriff Johnson, I have to go I have a Call from a Microsoft Tech Support Person and he says there is a problem with my computer. Then I wait like the caller is talking and then I asy "What, a scam, really. well I have got to go. When I got back to the phone the scammer was on he was gone.

  5. I believe I’ve already bit the scam from India while I was installing PC Matic the very first time. I paid them $300 ?? for 5 years of coverage. They call periodically & say my computer is sending out messages and I have a virus they need to fix. Sorry to say I thought it was PC Matic. I don’t know what to do now.

  6. Being fairly computer savvy, I’ve had some fun on the phone with these guys but never to the point where they get credit card or access to my computer. I asked them exactly what errors they were getting (he read me some from a list) and he said he knew everything about my errors. I said well then tell me what is my OS (Operating System). He said Windows. I said yes, but which one. He said he doesn’t get that information. I said then how can you know so much about my computer and not know that? And after I get bored with the call, I tell him I do IT and he is full of crap and then hang up.

  7. I had a couple of programs which promised to clean and speed up my PC installed because they were advertised as Microsoft partners but the computer had many problems it did not have after I installed it, so I removed it and asked for my money back. I did get it, but they delayed it with emails about how they could fix the problems I was having. It was not easy to find a way to contact them either and there was no address for the company. Now I do not trust any of those ads that pop up.

  8. I've so far been lucky that I havn't received such calls or messages. That, I realize, doesn't mean it wont happen. My reason for writing this is to mention my appreciation for PCPitstop for these weekly newsletters. Some of the articles, such as this one, have been very interesting and helpful. I do keep a system image backup, by the way, which I update weekly. Thanks again for the newsletter.

  9. You said: "Assume the worst. Revert to a system image back-up taken before the access was granted. If you don't have such a back-up, then back-up your data, reformat, and re-install Windows." Could you give me (an 88-yr-old amateur) gidelines to accomplish this process? Thank you.

  10. I had an ad pop up on my computer saying it was Microsoft help. I clicked on it and was told they would check my computer for all problems. They ended up messing my 3 computer and tried to charge me over $600.00 and ended up with a $179.00 charge, then had to take my computer to a local shop to get them back to work properly.

  11. Once every 2 or 3 weeks some one will call and claim to be from PC Matic and tell me my computor is sending out error messages. The first time it happened I called PC Matic to verify that it was them, it wasn't. Now when I get a call I tell them that they aught to be ashamed for what they are doing for a living, tell them they are liars and hang up. Never had the same one call back so far.

  12. Just before opening this article (“Don’t be a Support Scam Victim”), I got a phone call from “Micrsoft Support”. Very broken up, very Indian. When I insisted that he prove he was from Microsoft, he just went into his spiel. Having been stung once before, I just hung up. Is there any way to trap these guys?

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