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The unstoppable "tech support" scam

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By Barry Collins

Posted on 6 Jul 2010 at 12:52

Barry Collins investigates a computer virus swindle that the authorities seem powerless to prevent

They take mere hours to set up and they’re near impossible to shut down: a pernicious new type of scam is targeting British computer owners.

The con is both fiendishly clever and ridiculously simple. The fraudster cold-calls the customer and tells them that Microsoft has detected a virus on their PC, then invites them to download a piece of remote-assistance software. No doubt reassured by the lines of indecipherable code flitting across their screen, the caller assures the customer they can make the virus vanish – but first, of course, they want payment. £185 to be precise.

That’s the point at which PC Pro reader Mike McCartney entered the room and prevented his grandfather from making what could have been a very costly mistake. And judging by the groundswell of comments on the story we ran on the scam in March, many others have received similar calls.

The “company” behind the scam is called The Nerd Support – although there are others perpetrating similar swindles. The Nerd Support points its victims towards a legitimate looking website, which carries official-looking logos that reassure visitors that it’s a “Microsoft Registered Partner” and is even verified by McAfee Site Advisor as a site that’s passed its “intensive daily security scan” that tests for “dangerous sites, phishing, and other online dangers”. To add to its legitimacy, the site bears a working London 0203 telephone number.

It’s absurdly easy to pull off such a sting. Website domains can be registered for less than $10, and the relatively skimpy website could be cobbled together within hours. What’s more, the website’s FAQs and customer testimonials are duplicated across several other domains, suggesting the designer has either been making liberal use of the cut and paste commands, or that there are several identikit sites waiting to pull off the same scam if one domain gets blocked.

Cheap telephone numbers

The British telephone number can be bought from companies such as Skype for less than £4 per month and, of course, you don’t need to be anywhere near London to buy an 0203 telephone number. In fact, judging by the Indian hold music and the accents of the staff who answer The Nerd Support lines, we’d wager that the scam is being run closer to Bombay than Brixton.

And using a service such as Skype, scammers can make their international cold-calls for only fractions of a penny per minute (although there’s no suggestion Skype’s involved in the fraud).
While it’s a doddle to set up such a heist, shutting them down is much more difficult. A spokesperson for the Office of Fair Trading urged affected customers to ring its Consumer Direct helpline, although quietly conceded that if the scam was being run from abroad, the chances of it being closed down were slim.

Credit cards

A spokesperson for PhonepayPlus (formerly ICSTIS) said his organisation could only get involved if the fraudsters were using a premium-rate telephone line, and not the standard-rate 0203 number. He pointed us to telecoms regulator Ofcom, but its spokesperson said that shutting down a telephone number was “not within its remit” unless the telephone line itself was at the centre of the scam (such as charging people excessive fees for text messages).

And what of the companies whose reputations are being tarnished by association with The Nerd Support? In a statement sent to PC Pro, Microsoft said it was investigating the company: “There are no circumstances under which we would ever allow partners or any other organisations to pose as Microsoft. We take matters such as these extremely seriously and will take immediate action if such behaviour is brought to our attention and found to be the case.”

Meanwhile, McAfee said that “Site Advisor rates websites based on the security implications of visiting them – McAfee visits websites and tests them for a comprehensive set of security threats. Although some users’ experiences of The Nerd Support seem to imply that its activities may constitute a scam, testing is currently in progress to understand whether it carries any of these security threats”.

Which leaves only The Nerd Support itself. When PC Pro first telephoned the company and began asking questions, the company representative hung up. On our second attempt, the person who answered the phone – who claimed to be “in charge” – told us that The Nerd Support has never cold-called customers.

When we asked him why he was using Microsoft logos and pretending to represent the software giant, he became angry, demanding to know why he “should justify himself” to us before once again hanging up. Alas, it seems the con artists answer to no-one.

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User comments

Is this REALLY a problem?

"The fraudster cold-calls the customer..."

Put the phone down.

By grumpycrabuk on 6 Jul 2010

Of course its a problem...

Many (indeed, the vast majority) of computer users are not savvy guys like you and me, grumpycrabuk.
One of my clients nearly got caught by this exact scam (but a different company)last week. He eventually realised something was wrong and hung up, but they called him back!
I could not nasties left behind, but they had accessed his PC using LogMeIn (rescue, I think).

These are smart people.

By adamgashead on 6 Jul 2010

Meh..

This con relies on ignorance, the sooner details become common knowledge through the papers or TV, the sooner it will die.. or mutate.

Good article though, I should think they'll make a good few hundred thousand before people catch on.. even more if they can gear it up quickly before people get wise.

By pinero50 on 6 Jul 2010

Wrong place for this article

Surely a better place for this article would be in a newspaper like the Sun or the Mirror, or the Mail?

Most people who read PC Pro would instantly recognize this as a scam.

The message needs to be sent out to the masses who aren't tech savy.

By Perfectblue97 on 6 Jul 2010

As much as I deplore the scum that do this, if I was called by them, I would at least have some fun and play dumb.

We have all heard the fake IT support joke where the PC didn't work because of the powercut.

Reply with 'How do I login' or 'Is the keyboard this thing with lots of buttons on it?'

Pretend to have Linux/Mac instead of Windows but don't tell them that.

Tell them to hang on a second, then start to play a game so that they hear you. (I do this with all cold callers)

All of this is hopefully costing them (at least some) money.

By metalmonkey on 6 Jul 2010

A singular mistake?

"for only fractions of a pence per minute"

Which journalism school did you go to?

Pence is the plural (i.e. more than one), penny is the singular! (one or fewer)

By BornOnTheCusp on 6 Jul 2010

@metalmonkey - another good one for this particular call would be to, when they ask you to visit the site, play the noise of a modem trying to connect and failing then point out that because you are on the phone you can't connect to the internet.

By rlsdaveas2000 on 6 Jul 2010

@BornOnTheCusp

Quite right - stupid error corrected.

Barry Collins
Online Editor

By Barry_Collins on 6 Jul 2010

Is this not the sort of thing credit card companies are supposed to prevent -by not providing merchant accounts?
If you do a charge-back on the credit card the merchant is fined for false billing.

By milliganp on 6 Jul 2010

Kota rather than Bombay

According to their domain name registrar GoDaddy, who incidentally also host the site, contact details for TheNerdSupport are

The Nerd Support
+91.9680115111 Phone
280-A, Talwandi
KOTA, Rajasthan 324005
India

see http://who.godaddy.com/WhoIs.aspx?domain=thenerdsu
pport.com&prog_id=godaddy

By thumphrey1 on 6 Jul 2010

Use your head...

Seriously, do people really think corporate giants are going to spend time and money to survey, scan and call you to tell you have a virus? And you know very well if they did, it will cost you.

When you get an unsolicited phone call it means the person on the other end wants your money. Virus scam, Credit Card 'scam', credit card companies... all the same. If you acknowledge them, you deserve what you get. Computer savvy or not.

I think this has more to do with the gullible masses than computers... But that's nothing new.

By bink009 on 6 Jul 2010

Here in the United States

Here in the US and at ZolexPC I haven't seen or heard of customers speaking of the Cold Calling to trick them. They must have enough success without resorting to that method yet. www.zolexpc.com

By ZolexPC on 6 Jul 2010

Here in the United States

Here in the US and at ZolexPC I haven't seen or heard of customers speaking of the Cold Calling to trick them. They must have enough success without resorting to that method yet. www.zolexpc.com

By ZolexPC on 6 Jul 2010

Another pedantic point...

... there is no such dialling code as 0203. The code for London is 020. The 3 is part of the local number.

By john_sn on 6 Jul 2010

For PerfectBlue

You are on to an interesting twist, in asking why this should be covered by PC Pro. The smart part of this scam is that people who are ignorant about their PCs, are very often somewhat ashamed of their ignorance - frequently, I hear some version of "oh I didn't want to bother you with..." when facing a smoking ruin - a two second call would have headed off disaster, but their embarrassment makes it worse. Therefore I fully expect PC Pro readers to only get to this scam too late - and to be a bolshy enough lot to not get far enough into a cold call to discover the scam for themselves.

By Steve_Cassidy on 6 Jul 2010

Bargain hunters in protective aura shocker!

I work in an IT department and am seen as the ‘go to’ guy when folks have probs with their pc’s at home. I’ve had 2 co-workers approach me in recent weeks after being contacted by one of these companies, interesting twist, on both occasions the company claimed that Microsoft had contacted them and told them that the PC was infected. They can of course fix all the problems for around £100.

Both turned down the ‘generous’ offer at this point and came to me. I gave them all the usual advice about virus scanning and updates and what. The thing that made me smile was that both users refused the on-the-spot help not because they recognized it as a scam but because they wanted to check with me if there was a cheaper alternative.

Savvy British ‘tinterweb shoppers ftw ^^

By rozman on 7 Jul 2010

Dave

I've been phoned a couple of times by the "International Computer Centre" - the last time by an Indian called Tony!!!!

By BAKERDAVE on 7 Jul 2010

Conference cal to Local Police

I recommend setting up a conference call to the police whilst they're talking so they can get all the info they need to bust them :-)

By datc42 on 7 Jul 2010

Conference cal to Local Police

I recommend setting up a conference call to the police whilst they're talking so they can get all the info they need to bust them :-)

By datc42 on 7 Jul 2010

A similar scam was tried on me: I played alog

And I wrote it up. It was quite amusing.
For your entertainment:
https://www.srcf.ucam.org/~drt24/blog/2010/06/phon
e-scammers/

By drt24 on 7 Jul 2010

It's still a problem...

I had been unaware of this scam (been busy doing other things..) until I got one of these calls 2 days ago.

I knew instantly what a 'crock of s...' it was but I strung them along while they strung me along.

They claim MS has contacted them, then they get you to check eventvwr to prove that you have 'warnings' and 'errors' which "triggers microsoft to contact them". Then they get you to open a command window and ask you to enter the 'assoc' command. They say the output is ".. a list of junk files that your PC has downloaded from the internet..".

Then they asked me to go to site www.logmein123.com. At this point I ended the call.

Even though I was persistent in telling the guy (an Indian?) he was talking rubbish on all points he was very, very persistent in his efforts.

I immediately emailed family I knew who may fall for this scam. Many of them would suspect, but not be certain, and may have been convinced by the scammers' demonstration of their PC problems.

PC Pro readers (some of whom seem very snobbish in this area) are least likely to get caught out by this but, the best way to reduce this scam problem is national media information coverage.

By diadon on 8 Jul 2010

What's in a name...

The guy (indian?) who called me was called 'Jason Miller'. They (foreign call centers) always use common names from the country to which they are calling.

By diadon on 8 Jul 2010

This has been going on for over a year now

I reported this to Microsoft UK customer services over a year ago as the company claimed to be Microsoft UK technicians. Obvious frauds to people with IT backgrounds, but to the standard user very frightening especially as they also get your name with your phone number.

By EricBell on 8 Jul 2010

This has been going on for over a year now

I reported this to Microsoft UK customer services over a year ago as the company claimed to be Microsoft UK technicians. Obvious frauds to people with IT backgrounds, but to the standard user very frightening especially as they also get your name with your phone number.

By EricBell on 8 Jul 2010

Some Coincidence.............

Rec'd a round robin email yesterday pointing me to this page, & the scam.
I'd had lots of calls earlier in the year(Feb & March, but nothing since then, then this morning I got a new one!
Same as everyone else, eventvwr, etc, then passed onto 'Paul Woods'.
As I knew the game I stringed him along as long as I could, but I couldn't get him to admit he wasn't in London, gave me an address of 24 North Stree, East London ! With a website of microworld pc solutions, we debated back & forth, with me trying to get him to admit he wasn't in London, which I failed at.
However I managed to beat my world record of keeping him on the phone for 24 minutes, and he believed I was sat in front of my PC screen, which I wasn't ~ LOLs.
What I did get out of him was they would support my PC remotely for £55 for 1 year or £100 for 2 years, and he said they use TeamViewer to manage this remotely. He finally got fed up with me & hung up!!

Do let as many pc users know about this scam, its being run by at least five different crews, probably all out of the same building somewhere in Asia, some people will get caught, otherwise why do they bother doing it.

By OwainGlyndwr on 8 Jul 2010

How about playing along with them in a virtual machine (VirtualBox) ... and then say "Oops, I've just reset my VM snapshot" when they demand a hundred quid?

By fusioned on 8 Jul 2010

Nice one Diadon

You're quite right; and it's the snobbishness one one side, and the neediness on the other, that sustains the scam.

By Steve_Cassidy on 8 Jul 2010

I had a call from one of my customers on his mobile this morning. He'd got Comantra on the phone who'd contacted him telling him he'd got errors on his computer. They got him to look in the Event Viewer where of course there are always some warnings. He believed them and gave them his credit card details to sign up for a 12 month contract. I advised him to get off the phone and cancel his credit card immediately.

By RichieP on 10 Jul 2010

UK Police close in..............

http://www.computeractive.co.uk/computeractive/new
s/2267232/police-act-shut-cold-call-scam?page=1

By OwainGlyndwr on 30 Jul 2010

I think I've just been done!!

I had the call this weekend - before I got the warning email - they were very convincing, the company number and address even come up on a companies house search. They are calling them selves onlinepcmasters.com. I did find out that the lad who called was in Delli and he was actually very helpfull and cleaned up our 3 computers so I was very pleased (mind I am a total technophobe). After getting this email warning I called the number for tech help and got through the second time of calling and was told I would get a call back, but nothing as yet, so I guess they are part of the con. is there likely to be any problems that they have put into my computer while they were 'fixing' it?

By missmuffin on 5 Aug 2010

I think I've just been done!!

I had the call this weekend - before I got the warning email - they were very convincing, the company number and address even come up on a companies house search. They are calling them selves onlinepcmasters.com. I did find out that the lad who called was in Delli and he was actually very helpfull and cleaned up our 3 computers so I was very pleased (mind I am a total technophobe). After getting this email warning I called the number for tech help and got through the second time of calling and was told I would get a call back, but nothing as yet, so I guess they are part of the con. is there likely to be any problems that they have put into my computer while they were 'fixing' it?

By missmuffin on 5 Aug 2010

I think I've just been done!!

I had the call this weekend - before I got the warning email - they were very convincing, the company number and address even come up on a companies house search. They are calling them selves onlinepcmasters.com. I did find out that the lad who called was in Delli and he was actually very helpfull and cleaned up our 3 computers so I was very pleased (mind I am a total technophobe). After getting this email warning I called the number for tech help and got through the second time of calling and was told I would get a call back, but nothing as yet, so I guess they are part of the con. is there likely to be any problems that they have put into my computer while they were 'fixing' it?

By missmuffin on 5 Aug 2010

Me Too :(

My Father has just been done by this scam. The company was under a different name - supportvirtual.com but all the other signs listed in the article remain the same. Unfortunately they also managed to convince my dad to enable them remote access to his PC so we have had to reformat it all and block his cards etc. They used klickandPay to process the payment. I hope this will be publicised more on a national news channel to help prevent it from happening to more and more people. These guys must be getting rich from scamming vulnerable people.

By murdoch on 1 Sep 2010

Apturo is superb

Apturo is providing tech support, and it is doing very good in its own way. Apturo guys are too good, and they have a very good reputation in market. Unlike others they are not providing any fake tech support, but they are really trying their level best to provide quality service to their valuable customers.

By ivanawilliams36 on 6 Sep 2010

Tech Support Phone Call

Hi..i received a phone call last week from supportvirtual.com. i a bit disagree that not all companies are corning people. This guy helped me out in resolving my long time internet issue which i was facing for past 2 months, moreover i kept a close watch throughout the time they were working on my computer. After there service my computer responds much faster and also i have been provided with few softwares which i run every week which cleans up my computer. So i am happy with there service so far...

By Johnbailey on 8 Sep 2010

I have just been cold called by this company. I did not switch my laptop on but asked them lots of questions. Where did you get my phone number from? Answer; When you registered your computer with Microsoft. I hung up and reported it to the Tech Guys that I am registered with and then searched the internet for them. I found their web page and your article. I will keep an eye on this site now so I am ready for any future scams. Thanks.

By lindar on 14 Sep 2010

Just been called

Just had one of this lot on one the phone chatted for a while and played stupid. Then said sorry and put him on hold. I kept going back and checking on him every few minutes. It was over fifteen minutes before he hung up. I think I'll see if I can find a really loud whistle for next time I get called.

By ATees on 13 Oct 2010

Another Just been called

I went looking for something written on this con after I had been called. Didn't give him chance to complete the patter and told him I hadn't got a computer and put the phone down. They must still be making money if they are still at it.

By valbatty1 on 14 Oct 2010

cougar j

unbelievable... only yesterday i fell victim to 'supportvirtual.com'. they cold-called and fed me all the patter that has been said above, and because i am a computer luddite they were phenomenally persuasive. i ended up going for their 'diamond' option = £199.99. i told my computer savvy friend about how happy i was to have found a fairygodfather to overlook my computer: friend said- 'schmuk!'you've been had. now i am petrified because i gave them all the credit card details (except my account no) and they also accessed my computer virtually. I feel so vulnerable right now, and totally angry with them but more with my own naivety. HELP!!

By cougarj on 23 Oct 2010

Thank u...

I have also received a call from support virtual... but the person helped me out from a very old computer problem of mine !!! yes they accessed my computer but they have provided a very good service to my computer and its working very fast now !! i have their name and all the details and i have also rechecked that.. i do not think that they are conning people because they have provided me the invoice and all the details of the transactions !!! and i believe that others who received their services are very happy with their computers now !!! i have also subscribed for the diamond plan and i am verry happy with that !!!

@cougar j - How is your computer working after the service ???

By JohnSmith on 1 Nov 2010

I just had a call from scammers trying to send me to www.support.me which redirects to secure.logmeinrescue.com. This is a scare-mongering, hard-sell, packed full of deceipt and lies. However, some argue that it's not a scam as evidenced by people having signed up and paid for their 'service' who are happy with the result.

Let me try and be of assistance. What my caller was offering, was to install a program called Advanced Windows Care. A top Microsoft Engineer would show me all the bad and corrupt files on my PC and take care of them for me - for the cost of a new PC/Netbook!

They may have been referring to Advanced WindowsCare from a publisher called iobit. This tool is available to download and use for free from CNet.

Anyone who charges £200 to run a free software tool is beyond doubt a scammer and anyone who is happy to have paid them the £200 is sadly very naive, yet thankfully blissfully ignorant of having had their trousers dropped and wallet lightened. These people are the type that will always end up shafting not just themselves, but probably everyone in their address book sooner or later. No wonder viruses spread so easily - what would possess anyone to let some random caller access their computer, much less install unknown software on their machine. Unfortunately, the answer is ignorance and fear in response to the patter fed by the caller.

Do yourself a favour, if you need help with your PC, go to a reputable local PC repair shop or find an online repair service that actually has a website. Clearly, I'm not trying to reach the average PCPro reader here.

My response was to keep the chap and his manager on the phone as long as I possibly could. God knows I had no end of trouble trying spell www.support.me no matter how many times he spelt it for me. Even when I managed to get to the logmein page do you think I could tell the difference between the address bar and the box where you enter the six digit code? Could I heck! I had to keep going back to the Run command and re-typing www.support.me all over again and I can tell you it didn't get any easier the 2nd or 3rd time. They eventually gave up on me even after I offered them my credit card details over the phone if they could only help rid my PC of those menacing files they talked about.

Try and think. Would you hand £200 over to a stranger who approached you in a car park telling you he's from Ford and he's noticed your exhaust fumes seem to be a bit high on CO2, but he can fix it for you? Would you trust him with your credit card details? Would you?

By Gonz2 on 1 Nov 2010

most of us are not computer savy..........

I am an IT technician and i have gone through the above comments on technical feedbacks of software supports through remote support.
And i would like to add my view as an IT technicians.......
on the above comments that most of the people are getting calls to fix up the computer problems remotely from the software companies to fix up the software related issues.
well..... i would like to say that they are doing fair enough jobs if they are fixing the software related issues remotely........bcoz most of us are not computer savy......we are not technically sound as far as the software related issues are concerned......bcoz a computer is a device which is running with both the hardware and the software's part....when there is any problem arises as far as the hardware related issues are concerned we go to the hardware engineer's to fix up the problem but when any problem arises as far as the software related issues are concerned we dont no what to do and when any software parts is infected with any kind of viruses like the trojans,Randex, CMJ, Meve, and MrKlunky etc
we are not even aware of and eventually it corrupts any of our softwares resulting in decreasing the efficiency of our computer or eventually crash the whole system,though the hardware parts which we r using is extremely fine....then again we have to go to the market and purchase a new computer altogether but if they are fixing the software parts remotely then i believe they are actually saving the computer.
I believe many of us having antiviruses protections in our computer for the protection of our computer against the infections and the viruses but it will not be enough for us bcoz as an IT technician i know it will not protect your computer against all kinds of viruses like the deadly viruses for example trojans,randex,cmj this are the deadly viruses which can corrupt your whole system or even crash your computer without your knowledge.
SO as a technician i can suggest most of us to go through the computer check-ups to check the health and the performance of our computer as far as both the hardware and the software related issues are concerned in order to run it longer.
So according to me if Software companies are making us aware about our computer they are doing a good job in order to save our computer system.
But at the same time i would like to advise you that before giving the control of your computer to any one just make sure that he/she will be a microsoft certified technician and he is calling from the right source.

Austin (ITT)

By austin on 1 Nov 2010

Frustrated Support provider

I provide remote and on site support to customers who are registered with me. I find more and more of my customers calling me with this scam. Some have paid some felt it was not right. They are never the same two companies involved. When I trace them it always leads me back to India. As this is my core business it does effect customer confidence. I supose the difference is we Never cold call. Customers call us but how many do you think will feel comfortable calling a remote support solution if they here news like this.

By Ecopcsupport on 8 Nov 2010

Now in Australia

Someone just tried this on me. They claimed to be from Microsoft. They said the .pf files in Windows\prefetch and the events in the system log came from downloaded malware. (Not true.) They sent me to http://www.support.me before I stopped playing along. I spoke to at least two men, both with Indian accents.

By CChittleborough on 10 Nov 2010

HelppCONLINE.com !!

...and a new company incorporated 28/09/2010 named "helppconline ltd" registered at 3 Midhurst Close Ifield Crawley RH11 0BS in the UK cold called me from New Delhi India on 10/11/2010 at 1.46PM claiming that my ISP had provided them with details as I had reported PC issues. They could not say who my ISP was (surprised?) but that all the large UK ISPs reported IT issues to them in order to help resolve any & all issues!!

By HenryD on 11 Nov 2010

And Another Just been called

Seems like still rolling on. Newcastle UK

By Grendel on 11 Nov 2010

i m satisfied...................

This is Rex and i would like to inform you that i m happy with the tech support service and the most important thing is that i will get unlimited services for the upcoming one year free of charge whenever i want in my computer and i m extremly happy.

By austin on 20 Nov 2010

Persistant devils

World PCTech - another scammer operation have called me 5 times in the past 10 minutes offering to 'fix' my computer. I have read about this scam on different sites on the net and know they DO have success with some people and manage to gain access to their machines whilst 'fixing' problems. I have asked them not to call back, they do, repeatedly. There's no 1471 number for me to report this as harrasment and I'm getting angry at the level of persistance.

I read upthread some people have paid for services similar to this I'd recommend they check their credit card accounts and take their PCs to a reputable expert as they are probably now infected with all manner of viruses/malware and will not be secure.

I know I'm late onthis thread, but just wanted to let you know this scam is still alive and well. I live in London and to the chap upthread who said 0203 numbers are not valid for London - they are!

By Scoobs on 4 Mar 2011

They almost got me this time!

The third time they called in two months I agreed to go along with it. Against my usual better judgement I let the Indian chappie take me to the event viewer and display the error logs. He then took me to www.onlinepcmaster.co.uk registered with a Luton address and post box no. He then instructed me to download Teamviewer. This enabled him to control my pc remotely. Showing me his legitimate website he talked about the free of charge fix he could perform on my pc. However, he needed my credit card details for the £85 12 month subscription. It was at this point I realised there's no such thing as a free fix and put the phone down. Hurrying to shut down my pc and sever the connection I noticed that my email program was trying to open. I pulled the plug to my router immediately. I assume he was after my contacts, not the kind of behavior one would expect from a legitimate company.

By Skinnymaldoon on 9 Mar 2011

they called me today almost fooled me! BEWARE

I got the unknown name/number call today. I answered and the guy named charlie said he worked for Windows. i went through everything with the guy upto entering the 6 digits he asks thats where i told him i have to goto work and so I asked him for his phone number to call back at another time. this is the info i got from him Charlie 1-321-280-6757 the 6 digits he said to enter are 602257. I hope someone catches these guys!

By MastaD on 21 Mar 2011

Here they go again as ITcounselor.net

My neighbour has just been scammed for £70 by these people. Trouble is, he didn't come and ask me until after he had paid the money! He used a credit card but the card company will not do anything unless he starts a dispute trail. Difficult, I guess!

This cam is going under a new name of ITCouncilor.net with a (new) web site and a Manchester phone number - which diverts to India of course. If you look at the Web site and at the Disclaimer you will see the old name of helppconline.com still in there - something that they appear to have forgotten to change!

Their technician installed TeamViewer and some malware(?) scanning software on his PC. I think he may have deleted the Windows Event Viewer log entires. I am going to take a look at it soon, but does anyone have any idea what else they may have installed?

BTW, if you Google the helppconline name, one of the hits shows gives web page for a related company on which is a photograph and name of one or both of the Indian guys behind this scam!

Surely something can be done by the Indian and/or UK authorities to stop this scam!

By redcar on 29 Mar 2011

Fighting back

The scammers use commerial remote support tools such as LogMeIn etc. Make a note of the support tool being used and the connection code. Then kill the call. Get in touch with remote support company being used and give them date, time of call and the connection code. They should be able to trace it back and cut them off. I would suggest MastaD contacts support @logmein.com and with the 6 digit code.

By TarkaDhall on 29 Mar 2011

http://www.onlinepcconsultants.com

Tech Scam company name http://www.onlinepcconsultants.com...

I received a fake call from this company regarding for PC Virus & Software..

basically they are a fake Tech company & used to say calling from Microsoft & Cisco..

By rsmith123 on 6 Apr 2011

This happened to us

This happened to us but luckily we managed to stop it before they went on remote access

By bisto67 on 10 Apr 2011

My mum had 3 calls...

My mum had three calls like this, all because of my (late) Dad's PC which has been turned off for several months (for obvious reasons). The third call, I happened to be there, and took the call, and humoured the gentleman that called... seems they'd found my father's details on the internet (paper had put the obituary on-line), and the guy had found the phone number in the 192.com (I know, because the address of the house has the wrong county in 192.com, and he gave me the wrong county).
Anyway, he had me boot up the PC, and asked me to click Start, Run, eventvwr, and click OK. I did that, and when I told him what was there, he said that was a major problem. He asked me to go on the internet to logmein.com - I told him that to do that, I'd have to hang up on him as it was a dial-up connection (true - they live in the sticks). He then got confused, and started to argue with me over the fact that he said I had broadband, and BT confirmed that - I told him that the phone system was not BT's... I said if he wanted to help, then he could give me the code and I'd hang up on him, go on-line and then he could "talk" to me through LogMeIn... code was handed over, and details passed to LogMeIn themselves...
After that, we had my mum's phone number changed, and she's not had any further calls. PC has since been re-built and donated to a local charity.

By Iconic on 13 Jun 2011

They never went away, did they?

You get suspicious when they need to use the Run command to set up a browser window to allow a technician remote access - why would you want to allow a company whose existence you can't verify (and who are an AVG reseller calling on behalf of Microsoft...that was the killer - when did Microsoft ever ring me? They sent me a large SP1 (for Windows 7) the other day - duly applied - hopefully with not too many further items needed to be able to continue? We shall see...

By NigDav01 on 14 Jun 2011

Postscript

They won't give out a number on your phone's caller display (if you don't have this, get it!) and probably aren't who they purport to be - Sprint Media Design - best of British - and they ring back if you hang up on them - so be prepared to tell them that you will be trying your best to track down who they are + where they live (mwahaha)

By NigDav01 on 14 Jun 2011

Postscript

They won't give out a number on your phone's caller display (if you don't have this, get it!) and probably aren't who they purport to be - Sprint Media Design - best of British - and they ring back if you hang up on them - so be prepared to tell them that you will be trying your best to track down who they are + where they live (mwahaha)

By NigDav01 on 14 Jun 2011

onlinepcmasters is a technical support company

onlinepcmasters is a technical support company and its all services are genuine its not a scam.

By onlinepcmasters on 29 Jul 2011

World PC Tech still persistent

Although I am on TPS we still get some cold calls. One this morning, which my wife took, warned us that our ISP had reported "polymorphic viruses" on our computer and they wanted her to log on an run some tests. She refused, as the PC was not turned on, and was elsewhere. She has a PhD and the curiosity that goes with it, so she started asking questions. The caller claimed to be from World PC Tech and was very persistent, keeping her talking a while. She rang off. A minute later they were on the phone again. "Number withheld" on Caller ID. They kept on phoning again and again, even when each of us told them to get lost. Same experience as "Scoobs" (4/3/11). Only by turning on answer machine were we rid of them: they hang up as soon as they find they are connected to an answerphone.
This afternoon I turned off answerphone and within a few minutes the same voice was back. Claimed to be in Indonesia, but when I challenged him for a phone number he gave me a London 0203 number.
I warned him that he was illegally calling a number protected by TPS and that if his company called once more I would report him for telephone fraud (I had read this page by then). He hung up in a hurry, but within one minute another call from same guy. I told him that I was now going to report him for fraud. He has not called again (1 hour).
Google has links to dozens of pages with advice about unwanted phone calls, but it is very difficult to find anywhere to report persistent nuisance or potential fraud calls. Even if the company is abroad (and the voices from World PC Tech sound Indian/South Asian) there should be wider publicity about their scams and some way of dealing with them.

By triffic on 30 Jul 2011

Still Going - this time pcoutput.com

Received a cold call today, from 'Jeremy' with an Indian sounding accent. I'm sure I have had phone calls from this guy before, usually I hang up. Today I had a bit of time on my hands... He claimed to have had notification of malware and viruses slowing down my computer. After explaining that my computer was owned by my employer and the IT technicians regularly check, 'jeremy' was undeterred, and began to get argumentative. He finally admitted he was trying to get me to buy technical support, which would only cost £59! He got quite upset when I said I wasn't going to switch on the computer and let him check.
He did give me a web address - www.pcoutput.com and a phone number 18000322395 (which doesn't appear to have an area code)
The website is reasonably convincing, but this clearly is all part of the same scam as reported by others in this thread

By Di_Green on 4 Aug 2011

Are Companies what they say?

onlinepcmasters.com mentioned above have a PO Box address in the UK and their head office is a PO box in Dubai. I'm not saying this is anything wrong, but it does make it difficult to get hold of them if they don't answer the phone.
http://bit.ly/q8GYfd is a link to the google streetmap view of their UK address as per Companies House.

By Alaric on 18 Aug 2011

Are Companies... Correction

Sorry, here's the correct house http://bit.ly/qd2tAo a couple of houses along the street.

By Alaric on 18 Aug 2011

Are companies ... continued

And apparently Luton Council trading standards are interested in the activities of onlinepcmasters...
http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/0208144560
2

To moderators: sorry for serial posting, but keep on finding new details.

By Alaric on 18 Aug 2011

Let them talk

I managed to keep one of them on the phone for almost an hour I have the spare time and it was time that they were not scamming someone else. I just recommended that she get a new job at the end and told her that I was just wasting her time... so she put me onto the supervisor. I just told him he should be ashamed of himself and he hung up after only 5 mins trying to convince me that my computer was full of viri

By funcubus on 23 Sep 2011

helpconline ltd india

my elederly neighbour had a pop up on her pc saying she needed help with her pc.they took control of her p.c for 10 mins and took £450 out of her bank.payment to helpconline ltd india.
has anyone heard of em

By jasey on 14 Oct 2011

helppconline ltd india

i thought these scams were cold callers not pop ups.

By jasey on 14 Oct 2011

cold caller installed ammyy

Hi,
I recieved a call from someone saying they were calling from Microsoft that they had detected viruses sent from my email account and that i would have to pay £210 + VAT@20% otherwise they would block my email account to protect others and asked for my bank card details and 3 digit number to get my email account back. on remote assist they took me to the New World Services Inc. Site (CISC Support) and selected 4yr support (but told lifetime) and to fill in the details. remote assist then wrote a letter as if I had written it saying I accepted the service. After the call ended and I had time to think I cancelled my debit card and contacted New world sevices inc and they said they would look into it and give a refund but now are saying that their staff did not say about the viruses so will not refund so if that is true as some others have found is that an imposter remote assists taking bank card details then buys legit remote access from a real company then soon afterwards empties there account. Luckily I cancelled the card before they had time to take that money.

By aimee1969 on 22 Oct 2011

cold caller installed ammyy

Hi,
I recieved a call from someone saying they were calling from Microsoft that they had detected viruses sent from my email account and that i would have to pay £210 + VAT@20% otherwise they would block my email account to protect others and asked for my bank card details and 3 digit number to get my email account back. on remote assist they took me to the New World Services Inc. Site (CISC Support) and selected 4yr support (but told lifetime) and to fill in the details. remote assist then wrote a letter as if I had written it saying I accepted the service. After the call ended and I had time to think I cancelled my debit card and contacted New world sevices inc and they said they would look into it and give a refund but now are saying that their staff did not say about the viruses so will not refund so if that is true as some others have found is that an imposter remote assists taking bank card details then buys legit remote access from a real company then soon afterwards empties there account. Luckily I cancelled the card before they had time to take that money.

By aimee1969 on 22 Oct 2011

cold caller installed ammyy (2)

if it was an imposter that threatened me, the imposter took me on remote assist to legit site then told me to enter my details so to allow my email address to remain unlocked and once i had done that they said the services for a lifetime. luckelly i cancelled card soon enough but unfortunately others were not so lucky.

By aimee1969 on 22 Oct 2011

What Do I Do Now?

Someone called my father, who doesn't have much to do with computers, and got him to remote link to them and showed him what they claimed to be a bunch of viruses that were on his computer. They then said they would sell him the tool to fix the problem. In the end, as he refused, the cool, calm, collected sales person became very hostile and made claims of dad "wasting his time". My dad hung up but now I am not sure how to check his computer to make sure no one is accessing it and that there isn't anything put on it or taken that should not be. My question is, "What do I do now?" Thank you for your time and help. =)

By Softwolfsong on 19 Feb 2012

HELPPCONLINE Ltd

Hi these people are still phoning re problems on our PC and quoting that they represent microsoft support. An added twist is that they are registered with Companies House ( Ref No. 07390129) They gave a call back No 0808 280 2518. They told us to check with Cos House to validate teit integrity !!. The SCAM continues. I suggets you just hang up.

By workflow on 5 Jun 2012

Cold call scammers - ccwhs.com

Had somebody cold-call me here in South Africa tonight and he also claimed that I have malware installed on my computer and got me to run 'assoc' from a cmd prompt which shows a CLSID that can we found on any windows computer. but he reads this number to you and will catch unsuspecting users in believing he knows what is going on in your computer LOL. He took me to their website ccwhs where he got me to install remote control software which I refused to install.

By enerdude on 16 Jun 2014

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