Getting Your Money Back After a Tech Support Scam

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If you’ve ever had a virus on your computer, you know what a nightmare it can be — a slow computer that crashes unexpectedly, your contact lists getting messages that you didn’t send, your online accounts vulnerable to hacking.

Perhaps just as frustrating as a virus infecting your computer? Paying someone to get rid of a virus that isn’t there.

Here’s how it happens: Scammers call and claim to be associated with a well-known tech company like Microsoft. They warn you that your computer is infected, and that you must act right away. They might even post fake tech support ads in online search results to trick you into calling them.

Once they’ve convinced you that there’s a “virus,” they ask for remote access to your computer to get rid of it — for a fee.

The good news? The FTC has cracked down on these scams, and continues to investigate and prosecute them. But that’s not all: if you lost money to one of these tech support scammers, some credit card companies are making it easier for you to get your money back.

If you paid for bogus tech support services with a credit card, call your bank or credit card provider now and follow their instructions to dispute the charge. The credit card provider will open its own investigation to determine if the caller lied to get you to pay for the “repair” services, and will contact you within two billing cycles with the results of the investigation.  

For more information, check out Tech Support Scams and Disputing Credit Card Charges.

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Got three phone calls in the past 24 hours, shows up as Food Bank NYC , I live on opposite coast, from this number 212 -777-3456, I finally answered this last one. Man said I had computer issues with Microsoft Windows, very heavy accent hard to understand. I told him I was not interested and to remove my number from their calling list.

Just got my second call today. They first said they were from Microsoft and had me bring up the error logs. I asked for a contact number and comany name so I could call them back then they decidedthey were not with Microsoft and gave me 1-800-986-6856 as there company number. After a little research I found this blog. I ope the FDC will do something. The said I had a virus called "KOOBFACE" which was not detectable by my security software and Microsoft had them contact me.

"KOOBFACE" Sounds like Facebook but backwards.

They just did this to my 79 year old mom but instead of taking credit cards, they sent FEDEX to her house asap and said she could only pay in check or money order. So by the time I figured out the scam for them, they had cashed the check. They were calling themselves GEEK DEFENDERS LLC but only after they posed as being part of Microsoft and used the same KOOBFACE. How do we get the FDC involved and help get my mom's money back??

You can report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

You could contact the business and ask for a refund, but it could be difficult if the business isn't legitmate. If you sent a personal check to a scammer, they have all your bank account details. You may want to contact your bank and ask how to protect your account.

On Feb 23 2016. I had a pop up and said they were part of Microsoft windows and a number pop up 1877 284 6789. They had a very bad accent. It sounds like they are from India. The person uses names Anthony Victor (senior tech) Sandria and Jerry. They are the same person. Extremley pushy to charge you $199.99 to fix your computer. They are the one who holds your computer hostage and dowloads all information in your computer. They even show you a web page of there company. Right help desk. I have called and reported to all government authorities. My credit card was notified immediately and closed and created a new one and the credit card company let it threw. I am very angry and I have to fight with them. It will take 60 days for investigation. I even called the Attorney General is Massachusetts. Theses people are scammers. I also had to change my ISB address. This has been an headache.

On May 23, 2016 my husband was at home on the computer and a pop up came up stating that there was a virus, it even locked the screen up and he is not computer literate and so he panic calls the number on the screen and begins to talk to them, he allows them to take control of the computer and this is even before he gives them banking information, finally they tell him there is a bad virus on the computer and it will cost $270.00 for them to fix the computer, within 5 minutes I arrive home to the situation and I stop what they are doing and start raising a fit. I tell them they are a fraud and that the only thing they did was download free software called malwarebytes. I told them I wanted this transaction cancelled and I did not need their service, they took the money from our bank account and I contacted the bank the next morning, THE NAME OF THE COMPANIES INVOLVED ARE CALLED MY EASY PC REPAIR LLC, they are suppose to be located in Murray, Utah, they then switch you over to a company named CUBE SOLUTIONS , they are supposedly located in Tampa, FL, when checking on the Secretary of State and Attorney General's office no company listed by that name. I also reported both companies to the Federal Trade Commission. DO THIS ASAP. These people set up a pop up screen to lock up your computer, if this happens, just pull the plug, or press in on your power button and hold for 10 seconds until it shuts -down. Wait a few minutes run a full system scan and see if they downloaded any new programs and remove or uninstall them. Wish this site had a name of all of the companies who are doing this scam

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Please file a complaint with the FTC.  Unfortunately, we cannot address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments. Complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. Watch this video to learn how to file a complaint with the FTC and why it matters.

Can you tell me what was done after they took the money out of your account! I was done the same way on May 27th 2016 I gave them my bank info but did not sign gave them the check number . Went to the bank paid to stop the check and took my computer in to have everything they installed taking off ! I am checking the bank account and it is coming in and they used a different check #

I also got hooked. Had message on iPad that a Trogen virus and another one had infected me. Do not try to clean as computer could crash etc... Well I too panicked called the number which was 1-844-305-2491. Turned out computer company TECH NERDS SOLUTIONS, LLC. Began talking to me asked name told them my name and nothing else. My iPad completely locked. Once I gave them my name told me they could take it off for $465.00 yup I bit but not right away not until the 3rd guy. By name of Ryan Wayne threatened if I didn't pay this they would lock my computer account until it was paid. I could pay with Chase, Plus 3 other cards I panicked gave my credit card as need my computer. During time arguing with them and telling them I was skeptical they were I control of my computer. They even told me to send cash to them by UPS if I didn't want to use card...talk about ignoring red flags... Well after 4 hours it was done. I talked to Microsoft as they were saying they were affiliated with them. Well guess what...NOPE. I then called back and another company MACWIN SOLUTIONS (1-800-754-2219) was on. They told me to dispute card as the guy I talked to was scamming me...yikes so hit me with $199.99. Got bit again! Well thankfully my credit card is on top of this and is accepting both disputes and investigating them too. They even sent me a signed document with my name on it looking like I signed it agreeing to this. I have since taken in my lap top and computer tower and iPad to get cleaned. I am hoping that this will be the end of my mess.

This just happened to me did your computer work how did you unlock it

Was that the end of the mess? Sounds like just what happened to me just now. I feel so stupid. Was the $199.99 the end of it or did they get personal info off your PC? That's what I'm worried about.

exact same thing happened to me. They did fix computer, but now they're calling to say their support isn't compatible w/my system (but it was 2 months ago?)and they want to take over the computer again to give me a refund. bank is investigating fraud.

I was just in the same boat as you. they said it was corrupt now and could crash my computer.

I am receiving the same calls I realise my initial mistake don't want to do it again. What was your outcome?

Same thing hapoened to me yesterday!! VERY PUSHY...VERY HEAVY accents talked to 2 people...same person.
They said they were with Windows and convinced me to give them access to my computer. Gave me a "deal" on lifetime protection. My bank is going to have a fit!!!! Second time I fell for a scam in 4 montbs. I am DONE! These low life scum should be put in jail to ROT for what they do to elders like me!!

My computer was emitting a loud chirping noise & then I got a message to ring a number & after much ado I was asked to pay $299 for a quick fix or $499 for a long term fix. I declined & said I would get in touch with my provider.

Same thing happened to me except I fell for it.disputing and taking care of business! I have taken the legal course of action because I know who and where they are.time to get rid of these people and I have all the time in the world to pursue this.

July 1, I was a victim of the same scam. Now, I can't uninstall the software they installed when they took control of my computer. I am dumbounded by how gullible I have been. I will notify the FTC, I already have my credit card company involved. BUT HOW BAD IS THIS - will every computer in my home network (smart tv,cell phones, wiretless router, ipad) is EVERYTHING now infected? Thanks for any feedback!

This FTC article about tech support scams has tips about what to do if you responded to a scam.

I must have been scammed too--just paid $149. and yess software was downloaded that I am supposed to run a sweep of my computer regularly and they left their number at the bottom of my screen to contact as needed. My screen was frozen with the number to call and you are right the accent was foreign and sounded like the same person but was supposedly two different people. Does anyone know if that means they pulled all private info off my computer and if I were to scan with this installed software (cleaner) are they getting all my info. How can it be cleared of their info and how do I determine that it was a scam.

It was totally a scam! They convinced me that they were from Microsoft and left me a permanent 800 number at the bottom of my screen to call. But every time I call it, it's just a generic voicemail box and no one calls me back. I'm having trouble getting the dispute to stick with my credit card co. (Barclay's Bank / LLBean Visa). They're telling me I now need a letter from someone to verify that I did not receive the services that were rendered. Crazy!

The same thing I have been reading here also happened to me 2 days ago. I clicked on a link after a google search and all of a sudden my PC was frozen. There was a pop up with the number 1-888-559-2353 to call for help and it said I had 5 minutes to do so. I couldn't do anything on the PC. There was a circle with a red line through it every time I clicked the mouse or hit a key on my keyboard. There was also a recording that repeated over and over about information on my PC being sent to hackers overseas, that my PC was being stopped because it could cause harm to the network so I called the number. I spoke to a lady name Nancy and also a Senior Engineer name Anthony who were indian, I recognize the accent because I talk to a tech support in India thru my job but they use indian names. They claimed to be Microsoft certified so I agreed to let them help me. Nancy had me click on the windows button on my PC and type something in the block that popped up and I think that is how she was able to get into my PC. I watched as she delete some files and downloaded 2 programs AdBlock Plus and CC Cleaner. She told me there was no Virus on my PC but I did have a Trojan Horse attached to my static PC address and that if I use another PC at my current location the same thing would happen.

After about 25 minutes the PC was operational again and she told me I would have to pay $149.99 but she didn't want to take any personal info over the phone. She said payment would be by check or money order. I agreed to pay by check and she wanted the check #, the 3 digits in the top right hand corner. Nancy left a wordpad file with the company name, address, and phone number that I needed to send the check to. VIANDE LLC In Florida Toll Free 1-800-735-8043. I asked her for an invoice and she said she would send it via email but never did. So at this point I am to stick a check in the mail for $149.99 to this company along with the billing number and account id in the file she left on my PC. Afterwards I noticed my TV was still going, I am a streamer and I have wifi to my TV and other devices, same static IP address, so why would it still be going. That made me search to see if this was a scam and also CC Cleaner and AdBlock Plus are free downloads. My major concern is how comprised was I, did my info really go to hackers overseas.

Something very similar happened to me on Jan.22, 2017. I have refused to pay. Phone call asking about check today with message recorded. How did your incident work out?

I fell for the scam, not the first time when I called the provided number on my frozen computer and the answered with "Hello", that didn't seem right so I hung up. I thought I would be safe if I looked up a number for help and I picked the one that had Apple listed. Same story as everybody here, but I had a weird feeling when they kept calling to say they were locked out of my computer. I called Apple support and they confirmed it was a scam, apple will never ask for a credit card or any money. She remotely fixed what they had done and removed everything they had installed. Try calling Apple support and see if they can help you.

Don't feel bad; I got sucked into $1800 for lifetime service and had to make the decision on the spot before it was safe for them to get off my computer. I'm poor, I live on 1,200/mo. That credit card payment actually robs from my food budget.

You may have some consumer protections. Please see the FTC article, Disputing Credit Card Charges.

I got scammed for 1499.99 (supposed to be for fixing computer virus - but the receipt came back as 2 years of web hosting by Combyte Info Solutions (Jason White) The guy I talked to from the so called Microsoft security team was John Black. I talked to PayPal and supposedly they are trying to fix it. However, if it still shows on my account at the end of the week I'll contact my credit card co to dispute the scammed cha4799rges

Well, I have one that is better than this.

Same guys you described, however instead of billing my credit card, they've found a new way to extract money. It seems that you can have your computer and bank account cleaned at the same time.
Anthony called me and told me that they no longer accept credit cards over the phone, and I have to go down to the local Walmart to get an I-Tunes card. For $500.00 to have a lifetime guarantee that no one will hack into my computer no matter if I change computers or locations. Well it appears that after trying the first I=Tunes card it somehow doesn't work, so they want you to go beck to the store and get another 2-4 cards for $100 each. After they obtain all $1000 dollars from you because they promised that they will reimburse you for the original $500, you can't get a hold of them anymore and they have disappeared. I should have known that this was a scam, but they had an automated phone service that continued to call me telling me that there was a computer virus on my network and they showed me that there was a Trojan Virus on my system. I believed them as I could see that there were 13 users on my network that I did not authorize, (who knows they could have been the ones that were hacking the system in the first place), however as an unsuspecting person, I believed them. Now I'm out a grand.
The name of this company is called HiTec Services Logmein Rescue

These details are important to law enforcement. Please report what happened to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I have an ongoing scam with a company called IT Tech Solutions. Fraud was >$1000 with iTune cards. They called last night from 888-372-8714 offering to give me a refund thru Western Union

. I have a time set to do this on Sep 1 1:30 CST for a delivery to a name in FL. My FTC case # are 755xxxxx and 759xxxxx If FTC wants to actually catch someone contact me to be part of a set up where the scammer has a face.

I posted my complaint with FTC # 759xxxxx This company is actually part of PC Care 247 who isn't suppose to do business in the US. I'm seeking real person support in catching some folks during a pick up at western union.

If you think you're dealing with a scammer, you shouldn't send money. You can contact the customer service department of the money transfer service and report what you know.

Same scam happened here. Pop up claiming to notify Microsoft or computer will not work. Claimed Koobface virus on static IP address and must have third party fix it for you. They transferred me to a company called Geek Defender LlLC . Said they would send a bill for $549 after they fixed it for me and they would show me everything that was wrong.I disconnected immediately then but they did have access to computer for a while before that . They called back and I told them power went off here and to try again later. They did just return call and left me voicemail. How much personal info could they have gotten

Same thing happened to me today. Concerned about how much info they got from me. I am older and don't get the computer do and don'ts. Said that I would send check via FedEx tomorrow yo 3524 Silverside Road, Suite 35b, Wilmington, DE 19810-4929.

If  you think your computer was hacked or infected with a virus by the "tech support" company, stop shopping, banking, and entering passwords online until your computer is cleaned and restored.

You need to update the security software on your computer. A legitimate security software program will scan what is on your computer and alert you if it finds malicious programs, called malware.Then you can delete the malware. This FTC article tells more about Malware.

To get help with your computer, see if your computer is covered by a warranty that offers free tech support. Contact the computer manufacturer. Before you call, write down the model and serial number of your computer, the name of any software you've installed, and a short description of the problem.

Or, find a company that offers tech support. Some companies have tech support staff in retails stores. If you want tech support, look for a company’s contact information on a package of their software package, or on your receipt for your computer.

My mom who is 80 got scammed last year and lost $2000 from her checking account. Today I answered her phone who said it was Alex from Tech Plaza and I pretended to be my mom. He said he was going out of business and was going to give me back the money I paid him last year on 2/6/15 for his computer services. He said I had to go online for his refund form. Told me I had to go to my control center and let him access my computer to get the refund. I then told him he was a scam and he immediatley hung up Please warn all older people to NOT talk to these people. The number that he called from was 121-318-1390.

My business also fell to this scam of Geek Defenders LLC on March 10th.I have not paid them the money yet. they have the phone number we can reach. He is patient to wait for money, either check or money order. their phone number is 727-230-7872/ 800-746-0897 same address of 3524 Silverside Rd Suite 35 B, Wilmington, DE,19810-4929 I will report to FTC

They did the same thing to me. They wanted a check send to them the next day. They had FedEx come to my shop for a check. I took my computer into Best Buy and the geek squad fix the problem. They said I got scammed. So I had to call FedEx to stop the shipping on the address they provided so they wouldn't get my banking information. Now they called a couple days later saying FedEx lost my check and to send another one.

Same thing happened to me they have called twice for me to send a check for them for repairs I din"t have, no checks no money so I not out Lously scammers.

I got an issue. I was recently hacked by some so called friends and family members and now I'm being punished due to me saying that a certain job that I used to have was a government one and I accused them of continuously hacking my phones and things. Now I can't get a job here in Kentucky and Indiana and I'm almost out of food what will become of myself- Death by starvation is what! I hate hackers and how they can mess up a person's life and not concern themselves with them after they do. I don't know what is going on now because every time I try to get a job they tell me that I messed up this and to come back later and that they aren't hiring at the moment and things like that. I am trying so hard to get a job but no one will hire me due to those stupid hackers.

Some employers check into your background before deciding whether to hire you. When they do a background check, you have legal rights under federal law. This FTC article about employment background checks tells you more. It explains what an employer can and can't ask about.

If you think someone stole your identity or hacked your email and did things in your name, go to identitytheft.gov to find out what to do. If you're still having trouble with your email, this article about hacked email may be useful.

They keep calling me; I beat them at their own game. I say, "I DON'T HAVE A COMPUTER", they keep insisting and I keep saying it over and over no matter what they say. BEAT THEM AT THEIR OWN GAME, NEVER OWN UP TO HAVING A COMPUTER AND THEY WILL BE GONE. THEY'LL SAY GOODBYE.

An elderly friend just got scammed like this. The person got their money back. Do the scammers leave harmful software on the computer to steal other identity or financial information or otherwise be harmful.

If you think there might be some malicious software, or 'malware,' on a computer, the tips in this FTC article about malware can help. It tells how to avoid getting malware and how to detect malware.

March 17,2016 I just got hooked with a company called ONE SOLUTION INC." THEY LOCKED MY COMPUTER AND I HAD NO WAY TO CLOSE DOWN TO STOP. THEY PUT A POP-UP STATING CALL THIS #1 888 698 3247 In bold words I>D> Microsoft have a virus and they have the software to stop the Virus called KOOBFACE, SPELLS FACEBOOK BACKWARDS.i WAS TOLD $349.00 FOR 5 yEARS COVERAGE AND REPAIR IT NOW.I didn't have that kind of money, I could buy a other one for that. SO "BEN" said ok senior citizen discount $119.00. said fine fix it, It would take about 45 minutes gave my card number and 45 min. later they fixed. My daughter came over and I told her and she starting yelling its a scam did you give them anything nope I said my daughter thinks this is a scam hold on. She is right of course!!! She became mean and insulting and gave me back the phone. I told them thank you and have a nice day!!!!!I was happy to have the computer back. She left and went to work. Meantime I went into my mail and the capitol card co. sent me a e-mail asking was this charge was made did you do it? Its CapitolOne fraud dept. I answered yes. and continued in the mail---I got e-mail from my daughter its a article about KOOBFACE its a scam. I quickly call capitol back and told them it was fraud. Thank God I printed the contract out now I had proof (to show my daughter it wasn't a scam) so I ended up it will help capitol. They stopped payment and know there going out for the licence now SO now we all know listen to your kids!!!! they tell you all the time "your going to get a virus". But maybe they shouldn't tell us WE'RE GOING TO GET A VIRUS"!!!!! SO look how many people got scamed, IT HAPPENS!!!!!!!!!

I'm so glad you listened to your daughter! My mom was scammed by these computer "fixers" back in late 2013 or early 2014. I tried to tell her it was a scam but she had already given her bank card #. Iv tried to tell her that she could try to get her money back but I think she doesn't believe that I know what I'm talking about. It really upsets me when these scammers target our parents & grandparents! My mom had just list her husband when they did this to her. They called several mths after she paid for the service saying they were closing their company & owed us $300.00 but they needed access to the computer to verify who we were. Thank God I answered the phone & not my mom! I told them hell no & if they owe us money to either mail a check or credit the card they charged in the 1st place. No exaggeration, they called 6 times in a row one day. I kept saying no, they would hang up or I would hang up & they would call right back. This went on for about a week & finally the calls stopped. She lost about $500.00. They charged her around $150.00-$200.00 for "fixing" her computer & then sold her a year membership for about $300.00 more dollars. Idk which bothers me more, that she was scammed or that she won't listen to me when I try to help her.

same thing happened to me only the company was MS Squard .Called my credit card company an we are in the process of disputing the card. gizmo

I was sent a online message indicating it was Microsoft notifying me of problems on my computer and to call the number. When they mentioned Geeks, I know local computer repair people go by title of Geeks, so unfortunately I thought it must be Microsoft techs. WRONG I have contacted my credit company (Credit Union) and blocked my card so they can't charge me more than the already billed and collected $199.99. This rip off group call themselves Geeks Soft LLC. After emailing them that I want to cancel with a full refund I received 3 phone calls asked what the problem was, Told them they didn't do what they said they would do and to give them another chance and if I look on Google will see they are part of Microsoft. I told they already had a chance and took advantage of there crooked actions and I told them I think they should be in jail. He stammered and ask to give them another chance and called back 3 times, I now have blocked the phone numbers from my phone and in process of blocking any email from them as well. Don't get caught by these scammers. Was asked to contact my credit company to work with them and refund would be "maybe in 3-5 days and through a dispute would take longer. I would rather file a dispute vs dealing with these crooks. I have contacted the Police and also will contact the Media to advise the public as many have been contacted by the Geeks and charged those caught off guard. Contact any source that can help make the innocent public aware. I hope they go to jail. Be aware of anything on your email with account numbers etc. they could make a mess of that too. Check your balances and also check the credit bureaus to be sure they haven't caused something in those area.

Thank you for sharing your experiences. Please file a complaint with the FTC.  Unfortunately, we cannot address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments. Complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. Watch this video to learn how to file a complaint with the FTC and why it matters.

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