Clicking for support could cost you

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The next time you get a message offering to fix a supposed problem with your computer, you might keep this in mind: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Because there’s a good chance that call is a tech support scam.

Today, the FTC announced a case against Click4Support, charging the company with fleecing people out of up to thousands of dollars per consumer. Here’s how it worked, according to the FTC: the company used search engine results and pop-up ads, which seemed to come from well-known tech companies, but did not. Those ads drove people to telemarketing centers. If you called, the Click4Support reps would get remote access to your computer to – ahem – identify and resolve issues. Then the reps would make you believe your computer had a virus, spyware, malware, or was otherwise compromised.  But the FTC says those claims were false.  

Then, according to the FTC, the company sold their tech support “service” to consumers. That meant anything from a one-time “fix” to a long-term services plan, and cost from $69 to thousands of dollars. The FTC estimates these fees added up to more than $17.9 million for Click4Support. And what did consumers get? Big charges for unnecessary so-called repairs – which, in fact, sometimes damaged computers, according to the FTC.

If you see a pop-up, an ad, or get a call for tech support services, here are some ways to keep your money to yourself:

  • Don’t give access to your computer to anyone who contacts you.
  • Never give your credit card or financial information – or your passwords – to anyone who calls asking for them.
  • Hang up on anyone who pressures you to pay for a computer security product or service. If you have concerns about your computer’s security, call a reputable computer security company using a number you know is really theirs.  If you need to check a company out, search its name online with words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.”

Comments

My computer is not even set up &they call me almost daily! I'm using my mobile phone!

Same here! 11/20/15

If I am doing a mindless sort of task, I do my best to waste their time when they call. I play along as though I believe them and in the end make fun of them. I waste their precious time scamming innocent people.

thanks

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I don't trust those so called reputable virus protection programs either. They always find viruses even after a fresh cleaning. They want to sell their protection product. If you do buy it and let it expire, it will leave a nasty virus behind.

I got caught in this scam and paid $98.00 for a fix on line that ended up costing over $800.00 and two computers, as well as dropping a class as I am an online degree student. I hope that some enforceable internet regulation is passed soon.

I had the same thing happen to me, I contacted the FBI it has cost me hundreds to have my computer repaired, also since I have their phone number I call them and drive them nuts with stupid time wasting questions.

Just got caught yesterday, Now the company is called "Support By Techies". I followed a pop-up for my online "MCAFEE" support renewal and they picked it up & redirected everything to their website.

They told me I could not renew my subscription to MCAFEE because it had run out over a month ago and my computer was infected with viruses. I told them I wanted the MCAFEE program & they said they could clean up my computer so that MCAFEE could be installed. They needed access to my computer system to perform the work.

They then told me they could also supply on-going support for my vulnerable system along with the virus protection program. Long story short, they are not associated with MCAFEE and are a scam. If you get a pop-up for renewal be careful, MCAFEE (INTEL) recommends you call their direct # 866-622-3911 and use their Tech Support to assure yourself of a trusted program & correct installation as well as followup support. Luckily I used Discover to pay them and have initiated (opened) a dispute of the charge and will followup with any action I can. I will be adding a complaint to the files kept on this company by the BBB. I'm on this site researching similar schemes to see if filling a complaint with the FTC has merit. If anyone can add feedback to this subject it would be welcomed. Thanks and have a great day !!

I've gotten pop ups like that and it totally stops you from doing anything except clicking on the ad. Also says "don't shut your computer off" I shut it off.

Don't forget you also always have Ctrl+Alt+Del or right click on your taskbar - Task Manager - End Task and Alt+F4 at your disposal as well!

I got one recently that said I had the Trojan virus and needed to buy spyware immediately. My Apple guy had said to never buy these products and, in fact, when I did my computer was totally screwed up until he removed it.

I almost fell for that one but I woke up before it was too late. We always have to be alert.

I got taken my a company who pretended to be microsoft

I have received phone calls from someone who state he is Microsoft employee. And that my PC is infested with all sorts of negative issues. And he will fix the problem for a fee of around $180. and wants only my bank account number and routing number. He will not accept a credit card. So I gave a bogus account number and solved that scam. Then I blocked the telephone number on my phone system. Every time someone calls with similar offers, I block their phone number also.

Mr. King, this JUST happened to me, I JUST reported it. I am lucky, I felt something was off, lied to the caller, then waited and called the phone back from a different line. A woman answered and just said hello. I knew then this was not the real Microsoft. I am so angered. I really hope the FTC gets back to me fast because these scammers are due to call me back. I want these people caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law!!! This kind of stuff should NOT continue....

How do you know if it was Microsoft or not. My computer was frozen up. It said do not turn off. I called the number given, (Which was supposed to br Microsoft) but I was skeptical from the start as they spoke with an a heavy accent. Even though I skeptical (and I guess stupid) I let them take over my computer and paid $99 for support and "Stop Zilla" for a year. They wanted me to call the next day and tell them if everything was working OK, which I did not do. He called me many times, and I did not answer the phone. My charge card was billed to PC Support Services, LLC in CT. I still don't know if I was scammed or not, but I do not trust them. I am supposed to call every month so they can clean up computer, but I have not done so. What do you think? Was it a scam?

I think you were scammed. I fell for something very similar.819

I had the same thing happen to me by PC Support Services. I paid $99 for support for 1year. It was definitely a scam. I got nothing but a one time scan of my computer and they showed me all these problems my computer supposedly had at that time. He called me the next day and asked if my computer was working better and said I should call him if I had anymore problems The service I paid for was for one year. I googled the telephone number and I saw that it was all a scam. Needless to day I was very upset. I wanted to report this incident but I did not know whom to report it to.

You can report it to the FTC. Follow this link to FTC.gov/complaint. You can give details about the company and what happened after you paid. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I just got the pop up a and the letter to not shut off my computer, course I shut it off, and now they are calling me like three times a day. Today th Ed you ask if I was male or female, I said what does it matter your not from Windows cause Microsoft won't call me he said no I am not from Microsoft I am from Windows and we call I said "you are full of "s" they won't call either. Thanks I told him I was going to turn him in if he did not stop calling now that I have their number he than said I was full of "S" I don't think Microsoft or. WINDOWS WOULD SAY SOMETHING GOOD LIKE THAT..

My daughter-in-law was on her computer yesterday, suddenly the screen went black and a pop up came up. The pop up said to call call a number for Microsoft Tech support. She called and this guy name John with a heavy Indian accent answered. This is haw they want to scam you instead of them calling you they have you call them, then they say it's not a scam you called us. DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER, IT IS A SCAM. They did the same thing on my grandsons computer.

John, a guy from India scammed us out of India. They, a Steven, too, are selling life time contracts at the rate of $699. The credit card company is protecting them, but now the FBI.gov / cyber crime is investigating.

I was scammed by some one pretending to be Microsoft also. Very up setting.

I was scamed by this kind of service. A pop up ad continued to display it's self every time I entered a different web site. I finally called the phone # provided. A person on the other end of the call told me he would help fix the problem, but could not tell me what kind of problem I was having.

I did ask if I would be charged for fixing my computer, and was told That would be discussed after being fixed. Also poor English, And hard to understand.

The tech support guided me through a bunch of command's, and after doing such, Wanted $69 dollar's to fix my computer. this locked up my computer, and would not be fixed unless I paid the money he asked for. I refused to pay anything to someone I did not no, or trust. I did get upset, for he would not give direction's to undo the change's he promoted me too do. After a few unfriendly word's I directed to this person, He dropped the repair price to $29.99. I then stated. " I would bye a new computer, rather than give an payment info too you".

This guy then called me back, on my land line, and tried to influence me to pay for my computer reboot, which he caused me to lock-up. A few more Bad word's were spoken to this individual, so I ended the call, again. He then called me back 2 more time's, right after one another, and I gave him more bad remark's. Finally, I disconnected my phone for the rest of the evening. The Jerk.

I am still upset at my self, for letting a stranger instruct me too lock up my own computer, which was less than a year old. I will never call a phone #, or reply to an email to fix a problem, for pop up's again.......... My locked computer will still not function after trying many a fix's I found on the internet. Oh well, live and learn .....

Same happened to me. Still feel like a total fool - never did pay him though… had to get a new computer:( Like you said, I'd rather pay $1,000 to a good guy than a penny to a scammer.

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

If you aren't computer savy enough to try to fix the problems yourself; it's doubtful you will be able to find a fix on the internet without having to pay for the information. I have a tech support contract with a company. I received a call from them to perform my monthly maintenance. That Friday afternoon, I received confirmation the person I was talking to is running a scam; to the tune of $1500.00 - $2000.00. They locked my computer; I was to get a money gram sent to them for some over $1500.00. Once I sent the money, I would get a confirmation number from the money gram; I was then to enter that confirmation # into the password box that came up when I rebooted.On Saturday I provided the guy a verrryyy large amount of yelling and cussing him out. I flat told him that I would NOT send him even one red cent. I had turned my computer off and disconnected it from the internet. On Saturday, 1 call lasted about 15-20 minutes; I ended it by hanging up on him. Second call came about 5 seconds later; I answered and told him that if he didn't give me the f'ing information to restore my computer, he could go f himself and hung up, again (he didn't even get a chance to say one word. He called back about 10 seconds later, I didn't answer. About 10 minutes later, he called back and I answered. He gave me four numbers to enter to unlock it. I entered them and my account was available again. HOWEVER, (there is always a however) when I clicked on my C:// drive, I had no access. Knowing before I called, I placed a call to tech support of the company I purchased my computer from. My warranty doesn't include software. The tech told me that I needed to back up my data and wipe my hard drive and reload everything. The week before Christmas, I received a call from my tech support co. and answered the 4th or 5th time they called. I found they are getting scammed by someone using their business name, only a different set of phone numbers. My computer is fully back to me after I let the legitimate company fix it for me. I was 99% sure the scam WAS NOT running the scam because they get a very large amount of business and wouldn't jeopardize being shut down for running a scam. I haven't yet filed a report with IC3, but I will be doing so very shortly. I called the FBI; they said to file it with IC3 because the FBI doesn't work cyber crime.

I have purchased a new router/switch that has a built in firewall that is more simple to work than any I've found on other small hardware routers/switches. I also needed the new hardware because one of my routers was on it's last leg and needed to be replaced. The second reason is so I can take advantage of the higher bandwidth; my new equipment supports 10/100/1000 Mbs on the wired lines. I can't keep connectivity with my ISP's wireless router/modem. I live in a 2 story home.

For anyone that does read my comments that has been, nearly has been; I strongly recommend you file a report with IC3, especially if the caller is calling from outside the US.

On a different form of media but still falling under the SCAM subject. There is a company that calls offering to lower your interest rate; you have to have minimum of $3000.00 to $10,000.00 of debt across all of your credit cards, DON'T fall for it; it is a scam. They have a very large number of call centers across the US. I think that if they get one center closed by a law organization, they open 3 or 4 more. You will need to keep track of the phone numbers they call from, date & time, etc., etc. and if possible any recordings you may have from your voice mail or answering machine. The more information you have, the better it will be to file a report. AND, if you are on the Federal Do Not Call list, give the information to the FTC because they don't care about you and the Do Not Call list. FCC runs it, FTC polices it. I monitor/screen my calls. If a number comes up that I don't know who it belongs to, I don't answer it. I can usually figure out which scammer is calling. You can also put your cell phone number on the do not call list. They don't stop at using landlines, they also abuse you on your cell phone too.

Good luck.

Last night this guy called .... said I was riddled with viruses, like 78% corrupted. Would remove those for free. Then! he wanted $510 to install anti-hacking and anti-virus/worm programs and five years of support. I shut down computer and hung up on him. He kept calling and calling, I didn't answer and finally took the phone off the hook .... He has only called once (so far) today as of 3:40 pm

Hope you brought it to a reputable computer repair shop by now....they should be able to rectify the problem!

You are so right. I was taken in by a company claiming they were Micro Soft approved. I have gotten calls since I did not "renew" their service. I simply hung up

they have calling me 4 over 4 yrs & did hurt my pc...

This number called many times about fixing our computer. (412) 441-4053 It sounded like the same person, but gave different names.

a company calls us every day I answered once and then hung up. They call with different numbers which appear on my caller id. Sometimes it says security screen. I just don't answer anymore. They call at all hours. I am sick of it.

You need to talk to me about my own more or less successful battle with one of these criminals enterprises who managed to work around some of the kinds of warnings the FTC is giving here. I can be reached at

Been getting phone calls also to get into our computer. They have accent when they talk. I checked phone number and came from Iran. Keep telling them we don't have a computer but insist we give info. We tell%hem take us off their list and threaten to turn them in. They continue to call. We ignore phone calls and continue to receive them.

I get these calls from the alledged "Tech" support people three times a week. I've even asked them to take me off their list to call because I am tired of hanging up on them 3 times a week! Telling them you don't have a computer doesn't work

Yesterday I was scammed by a company that initially purported to be Norton. As it turned out was not Norton but unknown, Jet Infosys. I did not find out until the end of the transaction that the company I was dealing with was not Norton.

Additionally, I was led to believe that I was purchasing Norton Internet protection for three years which included tech support. I was shown a bogus Norton document that stated that the amount I paid for my Norton protection had been refunded, and then I was asked to purchase a five year Norton Product.

When I refused that offer, I was offered a three year product for $199.00 which I accepted and paid for with my charge card. Something did not seem quite right to me so I contacted Norton today and found out that no new product was installed on my computer. Instead Jet Infosys’s reinstalled the Norton product that I purchased on December 17, 2014. As it turned out, I had two Norton accounts one with 321 days of protection under eac and one with 45 days of protection purchased on Dec. 17, 2014 under 14eac . Maria closed the eac account. The 14eac account now has 240 days. She transferred 70% of the protection days because the Norton product purchased on my Comcast account was a lesser product. I contacted my credit company and cancelled/disputed the charge. Am I within my rights? EAC

I fell for this scam when I tried to get McAfee support. I let the guy that answered access my computer but when he wanted to fix all the false errors, I hung up. But now he can still access my computer and I can't get rid of him. He used Media Player to start but after I got rid of that entry, he used other fake programs. Even going back to DOS & floppy drives didn't get rid of him. He is one smart cookie.

I had that on a brand new computer luckily bank didn't allow transaction. I have reset my computer so they can't get in. Told McAfee. They stole my software when I was activating it. They spent all afternoon pestering and even phoned a couple of days later.

Can you supply a list of some of the names of the companies that are being used? I have signed up for service with a company that claims it is a support tool for my computer, etc. I am now concerned about it being ligitimate.

I've been getting telephone scams like these every week for nearly 2 years. I either hang up or tell them I don't have a computer. When I have tried to get a name or call back no. they hang up.

They crashed my computer after I had the charge removed from my credit card.

I did get a call from them just in the last 2 weeks. I did not fall for it and hung up on them.

I was called daily from (412) area code. They convinced me I had a trojan virus. Allowed remote access to my computer, then realized it was a scan and deleted all information and used Microsoft Security Essential (factory install) on my toshiba laptop to scan and monitor virus(s) on my computer. The company can be very persistent and convincing that there is a virus when there isn't only to gain remote access and steal your private information. Be alert and cautious.

Thank you!

This happened to me an hour ago; never experienced anything like this before. Caller was foreign. Call came from 860-646-5825. I told the caller I was going to report this to the FTC. He promptly hung up on me.

THIS HAPPENED TO ME YESTERDAY 12/18/15 THE NUMBER WAS 326-291-4831, IT WAS A FEMALE WITH A HEAVY ASIAN ACCENT AND TRIED VERY HARD TO GET ME TO PUT SOMETHING IN MY COMPUTER TO CLEAN OUT VIRUSES NORTON COULD NOT DO.RED FLAGS WERE UP N FLYING,SHE TOLD ME TO PRESS AN HOLD CERTAIN KEYS DOWN ,THEN SHE TELLS ,SHE WILL CONNECT ME TO HER SUPERVISOR, HE WILL TELL ME WHAT TO FILL IN WHEN I TOLD HER NO I WAS NOT GOING TO DO THAT,THEN SHE COULD TELL ME WHAT TO PUT IN, DURING THIS TIME I WAS RUNNING MY SCAN WHICH CAME BACK CLEAN I HUNG UP.

Thanks for that info.

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