Tech Support Scams: Part 2

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Computer Screen WarningThey’re baaaack!

No, not poltergeists. Scammers. And they want your last penny.

We’ve written before about tech support scams — where a caller claims that your computer has a terrible virus and needs immediate attention. The scammer asks for remote access and then charges you for “fixing” a problem that wasn’t there.

Now, they’re working the phones again, and they claim that if you paid for tech support services, they can get you a refund. We’ve heard about several variations of this scam:

  • They might ask if you were happy with the service. If you say no (and you probably will), they claim they can get you a refund.
  • Or they might say that the company is going out of business and providing refunds to people who already paid.

Once they’ve got you hooked, they claim that they need your bank or credit card account number to process the refund.

They might say that you need to create a Western Union account to receive the money. They may even offer to help you fill out the necessary forms — if you give them remote access to your computer. But instead of transferring money to your account, the scammer withdraws money from your account.

So, what can you do if you paid for bogus tech support services?

  • File a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint.
  • If you paid with a credit card, call your credit card company and ask them to reverse the charges.
  • Hang up on callers who offer a refund in exchange for your bank or credit card account number or a Western Union account.

Comments

I just had an experience with a fraudulent Canon support person. I let her use the Microsoft LogMeIn to access the issue. At the end she tried to sell me #1. One time fix:: $199.99 Service or #2. Permanent fix with permanent security:: $399.99. I paid nothing and gave her no financial info. I told her I needed to get to an appointment but would call back. What I wonder is - can she ever get access to my computer again? Should I do a virus check or a security check? thanks.

This FTC article about malware (malicious software) explains how to avoid malware, and how to detect malware that's on your computer.

It also explains the steps to take to get rid of malware.

Wait, you called them? Maybe it was actually legit? Usually scammers call you.

No, I contacted Microsoft and through their site got logmein which was a scammer. Wish MS would help with the scammers available from their site. It's been a couple of yrs - since then I just don't answer unless caller ID shows its someone I know. I get many many more calls from Unknown, Private, and various numbers than I get from known callers.

Now the trick is to put warning screens that pop up with an alarm that tell you you have a virus or worm and that you need to call this number at Microsoft to fix it. Dummy me did and allowed them access and now my computer info is gone. I realized what was going on before they finished and never gave them any money but still lost all my info.
My question is that I'df they can get that far can they also get onto your other devices because my iPad and iPhone are having glitches.

I fell for the exact same scam last week. In hindsight I should have picked up on all the warning signs, but I was in a rush and wanted to fix my computer ASAP
Now I understand how so many people who should know better get duped. I wish there was a way to block these bogus websites permanently

I got the same call last night. Being dumb, I shared my screen with them, but once he asked for the $199.99 amount, I suspected a scam, stopped sharing screens with him and hung up... No obvious change occurred on our computer afterwards, but will run malware removal, etc to be safe... So upsetting that they are using the EPSON name... I totally fell for it!

I was having trouble settting up my new Brother printer. I called Brother's customer support line and got Daniel an Indian person with a thick accent. Cutting to the chase, he said that Hackers had accessed my computer via my network, had 149 intrusions and added 53 devices to my wifi. He told me he could get rid of it all, guaranteed for $399. I told him "no way' and that if I was going to pay that much I would buy a new computer and start over. Beware. It was a scam.

The same thing happened to me only I was asking for Canon printer support. Was chatting on line when a phone call came in from 1800Service. Stupid me let him on my computer and he was there for about 2-3 hours meanwhile the idiot who should have fixed my printer in 5 minutes was keeping me distracted chatting on line. I cancelled the whole antiviral software (they deleted the one I had) showing me a phony list of errors. Now they keep calling my house. So I'm filing a police report and I have them recorded on line. Don't fall for it.

This is exactly what happened to me today, going through Canon website, and chat came up which seemed legitimate, next a phone call and I also stupidly allowed him on my computer. Soon they were asking for $149 to fix all the “problems” on a brand new laptop... I’m more concerned that they might have installed something or changed something . Gave them no info or money; really annoyed it happened through Canon website (it seemed that it did). Just wondering if there’s anything I should do now.

I complained to FCC online thinki.g they might help & instead of sending to FTC, they printed it & sent it back to me months later saying I had wrong agency.! I coplained to my Atty General & he just sent me a form letter saying his office dosen't address individual complaints. Question: why do we continue to support these govt agencies who do nothing concrete to protect average citizens , many of who i are already struggling to make ends mee

I did some digging and found out there is a way to stop these guys; however, it takes patience and effort. For starts, immediately after you hang-up your cell, cable, or land line phone enter *57. This is the code that all carriers use to trace calls and I would also log the date and time of the call. Then I would go to the website www.ic3.com. This is the website for the government agencies that investigate online crime. Warning, it will take a long time to see results from the Federal site; however, the more leads they get, the easier it is for them to track down these scammers.

This was a good one. I did the pound 57 and got "this number is no longer in service." I've heard of this happening before with scammers. When "Henry" said my computer was generating error message to the server, I said I was having no such problem and hung up. This must be my week to get targeted by scammers.

Skippy, did you forget the $1.00 charge for calling *57? Or maybe it's just my phone company that assess a charge for tracing the phone number. The recording went on to say something I only heard part of it. It said several things from the beginning I'm afraid I missed altogether, but what I did hear was ......"calls 3 times, use 1-800-582-???? and it will"... I cannot remember things for 5mins these days and it didn't help that I missed much of the recording. Now knowing that there is a $1.00 charge, I chose not to call back to listen to the message in its' entirety. I'd appreciate it if you could shed some light on this recording for me, if you can. Thanks!

You should tell your readers to fish for the scammer's telephone number before hanging up and forward that information to the FTC. If the reader is a a do not call list, that's another reason to get the scammer's number.

Another variation I see was a call I received from someone who identified themselves as "Tech 24/7".

They ask you to bring up a folder on your computer which looks like there is a lot of stored up files which are now sending out bad messages all over. They have identified YOUR computer as the problem.

Next, they want you to access a website they say has a program that will clean out the problem(and probably your bank accounts, too.)and then your computer will be safe and sound, and so will everyone else. In order to do this, you have to give them access to your computer. And that was the big red flag. Turning over your computer to someone else gives you NO control over what they do. The one on the phone has a accent that sounded oriental.

What will they think of next?

i just paid tecksupport247 the amount of 249.00 for teck support they said I had a virus and malware i called and asked for a refund they said no because thy worked on my computer for hours,rosedeam

no offense Rosedeam... it's people like you that keep these guys in business.

I was contacted by phone saying that they were Microsoft Tech support and that my computer was infected and was corrupted. I challenged them and they said they could prove they were legit by telling me CLS # that only they could know. All I had to do was do ta couple things on my computer. I challenged them again and asked for their phone number which they gave me 800-492-3960. I hung up on them and called the number and the same guys answered. Trace who has this number and bust these guys. I happen to have just purchased a new laptop and had anti virus security on it.

i just recieved a call from "windows tech support" claiming that my computer had been sending them messages saying my computer was heavily infected. he had an indian accent as well. he proceeded to give me my customer license number or CL# and then asked me to go to my computer and open it up. i was on a landline and wasnt near my computer. i new something was up since my computer isnt registered with a phone number. i told him to call me back in a few minutes....he didnt call back.

I got a call saying my computer had "downloaded critical viruses and some services have stopped running." It sounded fishy to me, he was very insistent it wasn't a sales call or a scam. I asked if he was calling from Microsoft, he said that Microsoft doesn't have time to call all it's customers, he was calling from "Tech Support Benefits" a company that employs Microsoft certified technicians. I asked for a call back number, he gave me 800-492-3960, same as the phone number given hanktank.

Did a search, VERY glad I found this post confirming my suspicions. Oh, did I mention I have a Mac? Should've hung up MUCH sooner, but it was the first conversation of the morning and I have MS Office.

they call whta suppost to be microsoft, your computer is infected, and they read messages, they offer to correct the problem, unfortunately I let them thinking was microsoft. my credit card and permit to enter my comp. I felt for it. I had to take my comp to be clean , cancell all my credit cards, go to the police,change all the bank accounts, a nightmare....

Yes, this is a scam. The only way for someone other then you to know if your PC is infected is if their software is the infection. However, apparently these people con people into giving them control of their PC's so that they can infect them and/or charge them for "technical support".

I received a call from a man who spoke with an accent indicating I was hacked he gave me a # that was probably phoney 1800-758-6416 and said his name was Tom . I did not respond

I got a call from a company who said they were a partner with Microsoft and needed me to download a .exe file from ammyy.com (I didn't do it), the person said the company name was Nurture My PC.

I had the same call 1/7/14. Just looked at these scams - I got lucky, I hope, by ending the call saying I was not comfortable with the whole thing.

Got a call from "Microsoft Tech Center" claiming the same stuff, sent me to the same site, wanting me to install some .exe file to give them remote access to my computer. I was suspicious of the call from the start, esp. at how insistent this person was I do what they asked. This man, in a thick Indian accent, told me, "Please, get in front of your computer, madam" over and over and over. It was irrtating the crap out of me, and should've just hung up. If I had, I wouldn't have been able to get information to pass along to the FTC, though. When he insisted I DL this exe file, I said it wasn't my computer so I didn't have the PW to allow the file to install. That's when he left the number and his name - David Watson, yeah right - so my "sister" could call back and finish the process.

Someone with heavy Indian accent called my yesterday claiming to be from Microsoft Tech Center. Told me they have noticed that my computer was running slow and they could fix it since I was a Microsoft customer. He continued to as me for my cell phone number so they could send me a txt with confirmation of transaction. I refused and hung up on them. I should have quit there but they called me back 4 times which I let go to VM. Finally picked up phone and I ended up giving them my debit card # which they transferred $500.00 to Western Union. I immediately shut down my computer once I discovered the transaction, called Western Union who put a block on my card # and declined the transaction. ammyy.com was the name of the site they wanted me to type. After talking to WU and getting the transaction declined I used Vipre and ran a virus scan. 4 malware and 15 other virus were quarentined and cleaned from my PC.

I too was scammed to the tune of $250.00. The story is the same, but I was able to get my card to refund the money. The company was really pissed off and tried for months to legit itself to me. It doesn't end there!!! As this article shared then they call trying to "give you back the money you were scammed out of"!! Well, they didn't get any of my money, but insist they did and still want to return it...providing "I turn my computer on and they will gladly help me fill out the form for the refund." HA! I shared I did not wish to have the money, will not turn my computer pn and anything else my brain can dream up to shake them including "Hey, do you think I am stupid??". If I hang up, they call again. I have had 6 calls just today. All the calls are NY, Washington and Oregon and Michigan. I am a mark, but would gladly help to get them. I was weak the day they started it, but not anymore. Telling everybody!!

I received an "unknown" call on my home phone last night. 1-6-14 The caller with an accent told me he was with "windows technical dept." I asked him what company and he told me "Microsoft Windows Technical Dept.", only after asking several times. He said that my computer was sending him "warning messages", that were "harmful" to my computer, and that he could help me if I would just "concentrate on my keyboard". He asked me to find the Microsoft flag key and wanted me to press several keys. I asked him where he was located, he said McKinney Texas. I had to ask him to spell it due to his accent. I asked for a number to call him back and his name. He gave me "Allen Lee" and the number was 214-856-8767. I hung up and called him from my cell phone which is a private number. Another male answered with the same accent and I asked for Allen Lee. He got on immediately and once again told me the same story and wanted me to press keys on my keyboard. I then told him that I still did not believe him and that I would look into this with my internet company myself. I do not have any problems with my computer as of now...I am not sure exactly what he was up to, but I know it was NO GOOD!!

I just had this same kind of phone call. She said her name was Jennifer Williams and she sounded Indian. The phone number was 888-586-3257.

I received 2 of these calls, the first guy I didn't believe at all, he was very rude and hung up on me, the second, a woman identifying herself as from Windows Instant Virtual Support also said we had been hacked. She transferred me to her supervisor, and I explained that with the high volume of scams today, that I would need to check their story, and call them back. Number was: 888-586-3257. Glad I checked! Definitely was from a large call center, I heard at least 50 people in the background, all persons had an Indian accent.

How funny! I just spoke to Sarah Williams, must be her sister! I messed with her a little and asked a bunch of questions. She said she was from Ask Tech. When she told me her name I said,"Sarah Villians?" She laughed and said no. I told her I was not near my computer and for her to call back tomorrow at 2:00. We'll see. Is it against the law to cuss them out and use foul language? I know they have done it to other people. Just would like to know how "Sarah" would handle being called a scum sucking *^&$#&(*! Do not have time for them!

I just received a similar call, he claimed he was David Thompson. I laughed and said you don't sound like a David Thompson. He gave me 817-381-5716 and that he was from "TX, Florida, I mean TX, Ft Worth." But he was calling from 530-619-3038 according to caller id. He finally hung up.

I just received the same call. Male with a heavy accent and difficult to understand in English insisted he was with Windows. I challenged him numerous time to explain what Micorsoft Windows department he was calling from and he said it wasn't Microsoft. He was with Windows Technical support. I ask him to go through all the instructions but he didn't want to do anything until I ran a program he was asking to enter. I told him I was on the phone with Microsoft on the other line and he used profanity and asked me to perform carnal acts to myself and my computer and then hung up. BEWARE.

I got the call tonight. He was rude and obnoxious, hung up on me when I asked for his number bc I was not able to discuss with him now. He hung up, then immediately called back and got nasty that I hung up on him. I repeated my request and he hung up on me.

I got a call today. Very similar to this and others. My first contact was with "Millie" who had a very strong Indian accent. Unfortuately, I went along with this for a good long way and was given the Supervisory Technician "Sandy William" (a male with a very strong Indian accent. I challenged him when he tried to sell me software to protect me from malware that Norton would never protect me from. He gave me a phone number and showed me a web address of his company www.expertztech.com and an email. He kept pushing for the sale because my computer was going to be a "lost cause" any minute. I would NOT make a decicion and insisted I wanted to do my "due dillegence" BEFORE making decisions as there are "a lot SCAMMERS out" there.

I just received one of these calls from 917-436-1814. awful.

I received 10 calls 3 different phone numbers/names of company. Didn't give them any information! "They were able to access our computer and planted 197 viruses!" These calls claiming we had dangerous viruses on computer. India accent Started 3/2/16 through 3/8/16 1. Get Tech LLC 253-693-2120 2. Get Tech LLC 855-693-7638 3. Wesoftcare 253-693-2120 3/2/16 3/7/16 4. No name # written x2 on Caller ID 855-778-2922 x3 5. No name # written x2 on Caller ID 855-778-2922 x3

Last night I rec'd tel. call from Microsoft Tech who said I had serious Trojan virus and they wanted to help me get rid of it (No fee) I was led to site www.ammyy.com to download something. At that time, I said I was uncomfortable, and exited all andhung up. Tel. identified as Research Center 586-625-1581. Was this a scam?

Yes, this is a scam. The only way for someone other then you to know if your PC is infected is if their software is the infection. However, apparently these people con people into giving them control of their PC's so that they can infect them and/or charge them for "technical support".

If I allowed them access to my computer but didn't download anything and then I powered down the computer as soon as I realized it was a scam is there a chance they could have downloaded something without my knowing it? I did run the scanner from the Microsoft website and it said nothing was found. Should I still be concerned there might be spyware, malware or any virus's

If the scammers had access to your computer, it is possible that they could have downloaded something without your knowledge, but it sounds like you've been vigilant in checking for malware. Keep your security software updated and look out for signs of malware. Also, be sure to change any passwords the scammmers might have had access to.

This is very important and will apply to any who has been directed to the AMMYY web page. The software they are trying to install on your machine, is a remote desktop software and can be very well hidden in your system. It is important to take action right away. Do a full system search for files named AMMYY and remove them, as long as this software is hidden in your system, they can get hidden access to your machine. relevant files are: AMMYY Admin, settings and settings 3.

I have been getting calls from 855-302-8650 repeatedly for weeks now and I've been ignoring them...then all of a sudden I started getting calls from 911-8 a couple days ago...I finally answered out of irritation and a guy with a HEAVY accent named Sebastian said he was from windows tech and that my computer had sent them several messages indicating it's going to crash...I laughed...took his name number extension number down and said I'll call you when I get home. (Don't count on it) seriously...I'm pretty sure the reason why windows has tech numbers in there manuals is because we call them...not the other way around. Hope these scammers leave me alone!

I have received 2 calls, same number, 1-213-221-3528 and the ID screen also shows a long # starting with V.maybe it's a id # of some sort. After I got the 1st call and refused their generous assistance I called my ISP and they checked my connection along with others things & said I was not having any issues; that it was a scam; so when I got another call tonight I told him exactly where he could take his scam.

This is now the eighth call in one year that I have received from these people, who mostly speak in nearly unintelligible English and claim to be calling from Microsoft with a need to take over my computer to "fix" the problems it's causing. I have been unable so far to get a phone number - their info shows "Private Name, Private Number" on CallerID. I inform them each time they call that I know they are scammers and that I will be reporting them to the authorities. However, my worthless Attorney General's office website doesn't even have a place to report these scammers.

My number has been on the Do Not Call list since its inception, and I check regularly to ensure that it's still on there. If there is any way I can assist in putting a stop to these creeps, I will be glad to do so. However, if there has indeed been a "major crackdown" on these scammers, I have not yet seen any evidence of it down here in TX.

I recived 2 calles in the last 2 days he said he is a windows tect caller ID #530 619 3038

I received a call from (971) 555-0129 stating he was from Windows Technical Dept and that they had detected a problem with Windows on my computer. Thankfully I refused to do what he asked, contacted Microsoft and was told that it was a scam.

Just got a call showing on caller ID as 315-789-9872. Caller sounded a lot as others described above. I do not fall for these and asked w ho they were, etc. They said they were calling from "California" while the caller ID showed New York. Io already suspected from poor call quality and accent that they were not from Microsoft or legitimate told them they were a fraud, I would not "turn on my computer", etc. and hung up. checked the phone number and it is for a private home in rural New York for people that certainly may not be aware there phone number has been hacked for this purpose. The name of a common English name did not sound at all similar to the caller from "Microsoft". Don't know what FTC will do as we are on a "Do not call list" for all of our phones, but here is the trend as a warning to others.

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