The phone rings, you pick, up, it’s tech support. How nice! They’re calling to follow up on a computer problem you had or to warn you of a virus in your system.
That’s the start of a phone call that could end up costing you. The FCC is reporting that an old “Microsoft” tech support scam going back to 2011 has been reinvented with a twist.
In one new version, the caller claims to be from tech support – some say “Microsoft” or a Microsoft partner. The caller offers you a refund of whatever you last paid to a technician for help on your computer. The person claims you paid too much for the service (or, in some cases, claims the company is going out of business) and if you’ll just give them your account information, they’ll direct-deposit the refund for you. Easy. Except, of course, you’d be giving your account info to a fraudster.
In the other version, the caller (possibly identifying themselves as “24/7 tech”) claims to need remote access to your computer, either to manage the refund via Western Union, or in a different scenario, to fix a known technical issue with your computer or clean a virus. Maybe you’ve been getting those error messages everyone gets once in a while, so you might agree to some trouble-shooting help. The caller then walks you through some steps on your computer, gains access and either installs a virus, or grabs your personal and banking info. In some cases, the caller might even ask for payment for the “repair.”
What Can You Do?
Here’s what the FCC advises:
- Never give a caller access to your computer. Neither Microsoft nor any legitimate tech support company will cold call you and ask for access. If you receive a call like this, hang up. Log the date and time of the call.
- Never give anyone your banking information unless you called them (and not because they left you a message!).
- File a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint.
- If you already received a call like this and paid for a supposed repair with a credit card, call your credit card company and ask them to reverse the charges.
For more information, check the FCC site – read the comments there, too, from people who’ve received these calls.
Read more about keeping your computer safe from malware and other cybernasties
Have you received any of these “tech support” calls?
Yes, I received a call yesterday. They were going out of business…. blahblahblah… they wanted to send me a refund…. blahblahblah…
I let them rattle off their spiel without answering, hoping they’d have to spend more on the call if I didn’t hang up. I get lots of these calls. They are a nuisance.
Today I received an email which I am sure is computer scam
attempt. Beware, they are sending emails now but the info
they give is the same as by phone message.
These scammers (pretending to be Tec Central) called my parents (they prey on octogenarians) today with a great offer: For only $249, you can have a year of protection against scammers like us. And, for another $499, you can have even better protections against scammers like us. Or, for only $1499 you can have super-duper protection for life! Who wouldn’t want that? Guess what? All the services have already been performed, so there is nothing left to do but reimburse us. Just go to the post office, purchase a money order and mail it to 27901 SW 129th Ct, Homestead, FL 33032. I wonder why they are too stupid to use a PO Box. I looked up that address on Google. Its a genuine dump in a slum neighborhood. Then I looked up the corporation named “Tec Secure, Inc.”. They are in good standing with the State of Florida, which doesn’t prove that they aren’t criminals. Now I have the names and addresses for the “CEO”, the “Manager”, and the “President” who lives in Oregon. The owner and his girlfriend appear to have moved to 1633 Greer Ave — a townhouse in another crappy neighborhood, 7 miles down the road.
Now, let’s count a few of the ways that these slime have violated the law:
1. Dialed a number on the National Do-Not-Call List. That’s good for a $17,000 fine per call.
2. Committed fraud by representing themselves as a fictitious company.
3. Committed fraud by soliciting payment for services not performed.
My next call will be to the Dade County Sheriff to see if I can get these guys arrested.
This just happened to me. Got a call from a “HP support tech”. Told me I had problems. I immediately suspected a scam. Then he read me my computer’s serial number, e-mail address, etc. Still I questioned him. Showed me ratings, some, web sites (yikes), business registration (Florida). Win Support 247 LLC. . And I fell for it. And I stupidly allowed remote access. And installation of alleged spyware detection, anti-virus programs.
I am spiting mad at myself. I am going to plead with my IT connection at the college where I teach (not computer science obviously) to tell me what to do. Then I am swinging by campus security as here is college material a-plenty on this computer and they may be interested. Oy vey!
No, the sheriff won’t do a thing. He’ll be too busy busting those who carry concealed with a permit but who accidentally (gust of wind that opens their jacket, raising their arm to reach a jar of peanut butter on the top shelf of a supermarker, and so on) make their holstered gun visible to some Snowflake.
I’m a victim of all of the above, plus more! I receive 10 – 12 calls a day that usually hang up, but sometimes a generated female voice says “good bye” which hits my answering machine, of course. I have 38 voice mails on my phone right now that I’ll be checking out and listing for the FTC. It seems like these idiots are unstoppable! If the FTC would fine them a significant amount and spread the wealth amongst us poor fools that “bit” the scam. The first time I called HP Tech Support, I got the typical “Mujibar” voice and he fixed the computer and I paid a reasonable amount for the service. He then gave me a number that would go directly to him and avoid all the phone “garbage” of hitting “1”, “2”, etc. So the next time I had problems, naturally I called that number……WRONG! That’s how it started. My bank was able to retrieve what I had paid Geeks Planet, Inc for $530 and I learned my lesson. This morning I received 11 hang up calls between 8:30 and noon! THAT IS A PAIN! To me it’s also a form of stalking. And, after every phone call I make or receive, within 2-3 minutes I get a return hang-up call. I’m wise to all of it now and I change my bank account numbers every 6 mo. and I order new debit cards as well. Thank you for letting me vent!
Our answering machine was left the following which is a NEW computer SCAM.
It was left on 9/15/17.
We looked up the number and it is a SCAM phone number. But, it for us is a new scam. Luckily, we let our answering machine do the work so we can report these scam calls.
Our answering machine received the following message: It sounds like a female computer generated voice, ‘A computer technical support few months ago. We are calling to refund your money as the company has been ordered to close down. Please call our toll free number 888-608-6976, to get your refund. Repeating again, 888-608-6976.’
I just got what sounded like the same call with a female-generated voice as well just a few minutes ago . She indicated it was regarding a refund of Microsoft software that I already purchased. Since I never believe any of these calls, I wanted to check to see how widespread this one was. Thank you!
Hey umm this company itecgeek is calling me to many times about virus and pay 200 bucks to fix it his name is Peter.is this a scam I have 2 numbers of them.1 (844)210 9666 and also the other one is (507) 647 5409 Winthrop MN.let me know
Hi Julian, any company that calls you about a virus is likely trying to gain access to your computer or make some money without doing anything. We did a Google search for the phone numbers, and the second one comes up a few times with scam reports — here’s one https://seniorplanet.org//findwhocallsyou.com/(844)210-9666. The FTC has information about this type of tech support scam https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0346-tech-support-scams
Hope this helps!
I thank it happened to but low cost 99.99 dollar but not sure been hit at but feel it is scam
The Company is owned by Anuj Mehta and Kaz Lalani. and Yes they are a scam. be very extra careful when they start calling you or when you start seeing pop-ups on you computer. I was about to work for them till we started training and realized that they scam people for a living. they also use the website winsupport247.net and may use superbiz.com to show you that they a re legit(but they are not) and scamadviser.com which in itself is a scam…
I recieved the same call from the same number and foolishly allowed them to access my computer remotely. For over an hour they had access to it and suposedly loaded some software security and suposedly cleaned the errors and secured my wi-fi and all othe r errors they said I had. I have not experienced any problems thus far but I have also not done very much with my computer either. I am afraid to do any online shopping or online banking. I also have not sent them any money or given them any card numbers.. They want me to send thm a check for $300.00 but I got suspicious and found this website…What should I do short of buying another computer and starting from scratch?.
Hi Filbert, it’s possible that this was completely bogus – in other words, they didn’t actually have access o your computer and just wanted your payment. But if you believe your computer may have been hacked, watch this video from the FTC to learn what to do https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/media/video-0103-hijacked-computer-what-do.
You can read reports from other people who’ve fallen for this scam on this FTC page https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/clicking-support-could-cost-you . If you add your own report, you may receive advice from an FTC representative.
And you can report the scam on this FTC page to help the agency track down the scammer https://seniorplanet.org//ftc.gov/complaint
Let us know what happens!
In case anyone is still reading these responses, it is worse than what the above response says. If you allowed downloading to your computer by a scammer, they can install a program called a rootkit on your computer. After that, they can log all your key presses and learn your account names, numbers and passwords.
If you did allow such a download, you need to backup your computer data and reformat your computer at low level– best is to let a technician you know and trust do it.
If you know something about computers, you probably didn’t fall for the scammers but if you do and you did, you can try to get help from volunteers at bleepingcomputer.com/forums/ –scroll down to the security section.
You can also try running a first rate virus remover (AVG, Eset, Comodo are possibilities) and then running the free version of Malwarebytes: malwarebytes.com. When you are done cleaning up by either method, get Bleeping COmputer to check the job for you. They are slow but they are fantastic and remember they are all volunteers so make a donation.
Good luck and be careful out there.
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I received a call from “Aaron” on 27 November. He told me my computer was infected and that “Karen” had been complaining about problems somehow traced back to my computer. He then told me that “Robert Jones” had hacked my computer and that I should not do any on-line banking, or on-line shopping for several days. He then tried to get me to go to http://www.support.me.
Since I am a network security professional, I knew this was a scam and I was curious to know what kind of scam it was. I put him on hold and quickly looked up IT Alerts and found several complaint sites. I asked for a call-back number in case we were disconnected. He gave me 855-593-3163 which is alternately listed as inactive or associated with known computer scams if you google that number.
At that point, I told him I wasn’t falling for his scam, he got argumentative and I hung up.
I checked my caller ID log and he called from 855-210-3300. A google search also confirms it is associated with known scammers.
I’ll call Microsoft early next week and see if Itec Alert is a Microsoft partner and report them if they are.
Don’t fall for these scams. It may result in your computer becoming totally compromised.
Also, don’t visit the website if they give one. It is likely that the website could plant “drive-by” malware on your computer just by visiting the site. Some of these are quite nasty and difficult to remove.
Do take a look at https://seniorplanet.org//www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/ftc-cracks-down-tech-support-scams which has more information on these scams.
I just got a call from Itech Alert. There number is 855-210-3310. I know this is some kind of scam, so who can I report this to? Why are they allowed to continue to scam people?
Hi Lawrence, thanks for this alert. If you Google that phone number, you’ll see that calls have been made from it by people claiming to be Microsoft https://www.everycaller.com/phone-number/1-855-210-3310/. Scam calls (or suspected scams) should be reported to the FTC. You can do so online or by phone – here’s a page on the FTC site that tells you how. https://seniorplanet.org//www.consumer.ftc.gov/media/video-0054-how-file-complaint
Thanks for the info on how to file a complaint with the fcc and for logging when the calls occur. I usually tell the caller, in a nasty tone, that s/he is attempting to commit fraud and hang up.
Yes, this has happened to me.
Even showed errors on computer.
I ended up getting a serious virus
from a doctors portal where I
was sent to CHINA. This office
visit became very expensive!