Phony computer techs shut down

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Scammers know people pay attention to warning signs, like the car’s “check engine” light, or railroad crossing gates and weather alerts. So when a fraudster wants to grab your attention, he may disguise his pitch as a warning. At the FTC’s request, a federal court temporarily shut down and froze the assets of an operation that allegedly used phony online warnings about computer security, and deceived people into spending millions of dollars on unnecessary computer technical support services.

According to the FTC, a network of five companies and three individuals that worked together ran online pop-up ads that told people their computers were hacked, infected or having significant performance problems. Sometimes, a loud alarm or voice recording played when the ad appeared. If a user opened the ad, it hijacked her browser and she couldn’t close or navigate around the ad.

The bogus warnings directed people to call a telephone number that was linked to a boiler room in India. The FTC says that call center staff had zero information about consumers’ computer, and falsely claimed they were affiliated with famous companies like Microsoft and Apple. Call center staff pressured people to give them remote access to their computers, and pay $200 to $400 for “technical services.” When scammers got into the computers, they pretended to run diagnostic tests that revealed “problems,” and made unnecessary or harmful changes to the computers.

If you get a pop-up that doesn’t look right, shut down your browser. Don’t click “No” or “Cancel,” or the “x” at the top right corner of your screen. If you use Windows, press Ctrl + Alt + Delete to open your Task Manager, and click “End Task.” If you use a Mac, press Command + Option + Q + Esc to “Force Quit.”

If you think a cyber scammer has had access to your computer, start by getting rid of malware he might have installed. Update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete anything the software identifies as a problem, and read more about tech support scams. If you spot a scam, please report it to the FTC.

 

Comments

Mirco soft directs you to a Tech company that remotely fixes your computor. Is this safe?

D O N' T!!!!!!

Two days ago received a voice message on my computer saying it was infected. My son told me to ignore it, which I did. Earlier this year had a man calling from "Microsoft" regarding my computer. Hang up on the man telling him we had an Apple computer.

Do you have any information about geekstudio.us ?

Go to a tech store and buy a good Mal-ware program. I have been using one for years, it will warn me when a site is bogus. It also does a scan at least daily if more if I tell it to.

This exact same thing happened to me about 3 wks ago. I realized a scam was happening to me but not until after they had control of my computer for at least 5 min. or longer. A friend spent a few hrs. cleaning up what they messed up.

What about the phone calls? I was receiving a call from these scammers more than once a day.

Exactly! An endless stream of thieves ring up. One tip, the India based scammers have a 'boop' sound before the thief connects to the victim. So many of these calls target 'live' contacts to train a new generation of thieves and pointlessly harass and intimidate.

I have been trying to recup my money from scammers like Superior Tech and Miscrosoft (engineering) for over a year they ruined my HP ENVY32 ALL IN ONE even GEEK SQUAD isn't able to fix... The credit card company reversed the $600. and then gave it back due to paperwork glitch. I am out $600 to scammers and the cost of my computer. Filed complaint with FTC several months ago to my knowledge they did not respond. Anybody with suggestions or help is appreciated. The same scammers call me weekly Sincerely S

Any PC can be restored to its original state. They may not be Able to save what is on it but they should be able to restore it like it was new. We have done this for a lot of people who fell victim to this Scam.

Another idea that I have used for several folks in the past is to use a digital usb external hard drive to save documents,photos and so on. Restore the computer to original condition. Install and run anti-virus / malware software. Make sure your software can do a boot-time scan. After you have installed all your store bought software. Plug in your usb digital drive and run your virus malware software to detect any problems. IF you have downloaded software from the internet. each time you install another program, reboot, run boot-time scan and continue. These are easy steps to take, but I will warn you that depending on number of files, photos songs you have, plus programs obtained on line t can take a full day or better to restore a moderate sized computer. But it can save you a great deal of money if you take the time to do it yourself

You have my sympathy. I get the same kind of calls from AZ and a number of states on the east coast. I live on the west coast and, unless I know someone in another state, I don't even pick up the phone. I too have suffered at the hands of scammers. Not fun. Not fair.

Yep, unfortunately I was scammed. Cost me a totally good computer. It's in the junk now.

dont trow it out it might just be ur hard drive

I lost the same $600.00 from some Indian guys who placed the same pop-up on my computer! And, because it was my debit card, not my credit card, "nothing" could be done to recoup my lost money. The woman at OfficeMax said that if I got another one, just turn off the computer. Luckily she told me that, because I got smacked with one just four days later! I am also asking anyone with the know-how, HOW do I get my money back???

When you use a debit card to pay, the money comes directly out of your checking or savings account and goes to the person or business.

You can contact the bank or business you paid and ask for a refund. You could contact your bank and file a dispute about the charge.If you have documents showing you were supposed to be charged a different amount, show those to the bank staff.

Finally! Now if you stop the phone calls identifying themselves as Microsoft technical support.

They got me a few years ago when I had my old puter. They are calling me on the average of twice most days. If I do not recognize a number (which shows up on my tv screen) I do not answer. They hang up when it goes into voice mail. I had cable put a block costs $1 mo. to stop foreign calls; most were from India. Auntie Em

A firm called "Yoda Care", 1 888 897 3162 and 1 855 238 5381 claimed to be from Microsoft and operated out of New York. These 'pop-ups' can be full screen, claim they originate from Microsoft and lock the computer. A more aggressive effort to collar and prosecute these thieves is necessary. If the FTC wants to get the job done, prosecute 'Yoda Care'.

You can help law enforcement by reporting a scam. Go to FTC.gov/complaint and enter the details you put in your comment. The details will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

If the FTC isn't sharing these posts these posts aren't of much value. Blaming the victim is an interesting reply from the FTC. Thanks!

Was scammed about a year ago when someone called from Microsoft said my computer was hacked. Lost a great deal if money.

I got the same call and allowed them to check my computer since I had not ever heard of this happening and they assured me they were Microsoft. My Norton software was checking everything they loaded and all was okay. When the man kept insisting I needed to buy software that my Norton was out of date and they showed me they were providing the software for less than what I'd pay for it elsewhere, I told them I'd rather take my chances and get my computer checked by a technician. After futile attempts on their parts to get a credit card from me, they stopped the malware software and exited out of my computer and I ensured they could not re-enter my computer and removed the software they loaded to do so. I then ran Norton and it found no problems. If large companies would stop contracting out to India to handle SW problems, we would know right away when these are scammers. His accent was the first thing that made me suspect it was a scam but then I thought MS may have contracted their technical departments to India. I believe it was "Yoda Care" who contacted me too but they keep changing their phone numbers. I had written everything on Facebook to warn my friends and now cannot find it since it was awhile ago.

ito was scammed this way and ran immediatly to the bank and stopped payment they kept trying to get the money until i filed a complaint with the ftc the bank finally excepted my complaint and refused payment in my behalf

They kept calling me and I told them I did not have a computer. Then my compute was in the shop and they called me stating there was something wrong with my computer when it was not even in my house.

I too was scammed, and while the supposed tech had access to my computer, threatened me, saying if I didn't pay up I wouldn't regain assess to my computer and said I think this file is important to you and started deleting files. I lost the ability of using my computer all together. Reported this to FTC but haven't heard anything until now.

Thanks. You did it. I was getting up to 2 x a day.
Always beginning on Mondays. There have been no
calls this week.

Here's what I do for the Microsoft calls - I tell them almost immediately that I know it is a scam, and that they are being traced at this moment. They usually hang up immediately and don't call back for quite some time. Too many different numbers to keep reporting them all. 99% of the time it is a thick East Indian accent with a very American-sounding name. Yeah, right...

Once, when I told them about the trace, they said it takes at least 59 seconds to be located. I told them "not with modern technology!" - they immediately hung up. I love scamming the scammers :)

Keep up the good work!! They have trying this with me for years. Calling saying they are from Microsoft and my computer is infected! I tell them, "That's funny, I have a Apple"!! Then, when they say they are from Apple, I tell them that I have a Microsoft operating system! computer

I had "Geeks" something? pull this on me last year with the pop up. I didn't pay them anything but gave them control over my computer. A couple days later I got a call from my debit card company that my card was attempted to buy items at 4 different merchants. I reported to the FTC.. I hope these creeps are punished to the max!!! They tried it again on my this year

Been there with all the folks listed here except I was able to have the bank freeze my account so the hackers got scammed !! Have good protection now. BIG lesson learned.

It happen to me twice! The first time I paid $200 with my credit card but I realized it was a scam and my bank took care of the credit charge! The second time I knew it was a scam and I did nothing. Just turned off my computer. I also had the Geek Squad check my computer.

11/16/16 - received call from unknown - caller id -stated they were tech service from Microsoft and had access to my computer license and IP address - they have been alerted that a hacker had infiltrated my computer and potentially had access to my personal information. She said that she is requesting I download free software and that she would walk me thru the steps - so that she could protect my computer from hackers. I replied that I was not convinced as to who she was and remarked on the caller id 'unknown' - she then gave me this number 855-299-1871 to call and be connected to her supervisor for verification - she stated she would remain on hold while I verified the number and would automatically be reconnected to her ( heavy accent Indian descent? Could hear many people in conversation in background - seemingly call center) Upon hanging up I immediately googled the number revealing many scam complaints. After 5 minutes received a phone call from above number - did not answer.

I received a call on my answering machine stating my Windows on my computer will be stopped unless I call this Number 1800-667-6915. I also sent a e-mail to Microsoft telling what was said. The call did not say "Microsoft", just stated Windows and to reinstall call the 800# I sent an email toAz Attonery General. I have a claim but I have not heard anything even entering my claim number, seems like a round around to me. Maybe no one really cares.

Just had the scan alert come up on my computer. Insisting I call Microsoft. So yeah a very pushy guy from India was prompting me to give him access to my computer. Meanwhile I was searching for scam info on my phone.I hung up and shut my system down. Didn't get access to my bank card from me.

Got a pop up warning yesterday that said call this 1-800 number from Microsoft but I knew it wasn't from Microsoft, so I shut down my computer and made a appointment with the geek squad to check my computer!

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