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Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam

Tootler 02 Aug 10 - 06:31 PM
JohnInKansas 02 Aug 10 - 08:23 PM
Arthur_itus 03 Aug 10 - 01:46 AM
Stilly River Sage 03 Aug 10 - 02:06 AM
GUEST,PeterC 03 Aug 10 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,Shimrod 04 Aug 10 - 01:06 PM
McGrath of Harlow 04 Aug 10 - 04:31 PM
Tootler 04 Aug 10 - 06:20 PM
GUEST,Robert Smith 01 Oct 10 - 12:18 AM
Stilly River Sage 01 Oct 10 - 12:31 AM
GUEST,Grishka 01 Oct 10 - 06:26 AM
mayomick 16 Mar 12 - 09:23 AM
Dave Hanson 16 Mar 12 - 11:10 AM
Bill D 16 Mar 12 - 11:48 AM
Tootler 16 Mar 12 - 05:19 PM
Nick 16 Mar 12 - 06:11 PM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 16 Mar 12 - 06:52 PM
YorkshireYankee 16 Mar 12 - 08:05 PM
Ole Juul 16 Mar 12 - 08:18 PM
Amos 16 Mar 12 - 08:35 PM
stallion 16 Mar 12 - 08:43 PM
Stilly River Sage 16 Mar 12 - 09:53 PM
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Subject: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Tootler
Date: 02 Aug 10 - 06:31 PM

There is a new scam going the rounds in the UK.

I got a phone call on Friday from someone claiming to represent "The Windows Support Centre". They were claiming they had detected problem data from my computer and it was probably infected with a virus and that if I would start up my computer they would help me sort it out. There was something about the call that just did not ring true and I told them that my computer's OS is Linux (which it is) and that it was highly unlikely that it was infected and hung up. In fact, my wife and daughter's computers both run Windows and both have AV installed and kept up to date. My daughter told me she has hers set to scan daily and just to be sure I scanned my wife's computer and nothing - except for a bunch of tracking cookies which I removed anyway.

Today, I received my regular computing magazine and in the news section there was an item about the Metropolitan Police investigating a series of frauds involving unnecessary computing support and have recently shut down 19 websites operating this scam. One of the magazine's own journalists followed up one of these cold calls and after they had persuaded the journalist to open some log files which contained some innocuous error messages then sold him software to "fix" the problem for about 90 GBP. In fact the software they sold him was all available on the web for free. The magazine eventually traced the company to a website based in Blackburn and reported the matter to Blackburn Trading Standards who are now investigating.

The bottom line is be aware these scams are going the rounds so if you get a call on the lines I received then politely tell that you can sort your own computer and hang up. If they give you a company name, it might be worth contacting your local trading standards.

I would not be surprised if this scam was not confined to the UK. And if it is, I am sure it soon won't be.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Aug 10 - 08:23 PM

The more common current scam is the link on a web site that warns you that your computer is "infected." Since a "click" on the link is effectively a permission for them to send you something, your computer thinks you've given permission for them to download something that is an infection, after which they urge you to buy their program to "fix it."

In the US, my response to such phone calls is

"This number is listed with the Federal Do Not Call Registry, and I have no business relationship with you that permits this call. The fine is $10,000 per call, but if you'll send me half within 24 hours I'll hold off on filing a report."

I then promptly hang up in an attempt to be rude - although I've never been able to beat one of these callers at disconnecting. They're usually gone when I get to "Do Not Call Registry."


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Arthur_itus
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 01:46 AM

Just got my newsletter from my ISP Zen. Thought I would post it. Some interesting articles. Too many links for me to create the blue clickies. However its just as easy to copy and paste each link.

Issue 114, August 2nd 2010
A convincing type of support-desk scam is hitting British computer owners. Fraudsters based in India are cold-calling users and telling them that Microsoft has detected a virus on their PC and persuading them to get help by downloading remote-assistance software that will confirm the problem. After supposedly demonstrating that a virus is present, the caller asks for payment of £185 to clean up the infestation. Consumer protection agencies, Microsoft, and others contacted by users have so far been unable to put a stop to the fraud. PC Pro has the full story.

COUNTER MEASURES is a 24-hour online reporting service run by the National Fraud Authority ­ the government agency that helps to co-ordinate the fight against fraud in the UK. Their latest figures show a big increase in reports of 'romance fraud', making it the third most commonly reported. One of the newest scams involves women being targeted by men claiming to be American soldiers serving in Iraq. After striking up a friendship online, they start asking for money or gifts. Counter Measures is a blog that's regularly updated with warnings and details about the latest dangers lurking around the Internet.

If you see an apparent opt-out message in your inbox headed "Seeking Your Permission" that begins: "We are currently updating our internal databases", read the report from (link below) before taking any action.

Relying on cloud services for a business that needs 24/7 availability to survive turned out to be a bad idea for one company when the plug was pulled after hackers temporarily blackened its reputation and there was no support number to call.

After complaints by, a British price-comparison site, Google is under investigation over allegations that it's deliberately penalising rival search engines in its search results. Europe's top antitrust chief said he is looking closely at a range of anti-competitive allegations against the world's leading search engine.

Fancy buying your groceries from the world's largest online retailer? Amazon has launched a new food department alongside the books and electronics that made its name. The venture is seen by some as a direct challenge to Tesco and Ocado for the position of online grocery market-leader. Around 22,000 items will be offered, including fresh produce, tinned and packaged goods, beverages, plus organic and speciality cuisine. Prices and one-off delivery charges are higher than elsewhere and some commonplace brands and items like Kellogg's Cornflakes and Tetley tea bags are missing altogether - but the new online grocery is still in its beta phase.

Kraft is ramping up its social media efforts, giving the Cadbury buyer's Facebook page a global look and rewarding fans who discuss it on Twitter - and even selecting some of them for a visit from a mobile team that will make surprise product deliveries.

Networking guru Dr Ivan Misner believes social media sites can be as effective at drumming up business in the UK as local chambers of commerce or rotary clubs. But he says that misuse of sites like Facebook and Twitter is fuelling a backlash because too many potential customers are being tapped up for business by people they don't really know or trust. "There's still a lot of misunderstanding about online networking. Most people think that it's like walking around, handing out business cards. But it's more about farming than it is about hunting. Relationships need cultivation".

When you need to check if a domain name is available or find out if your company name is in use on any of the popular social media/networking sites, you should try the excellent online investigator at Simply enter the name you're checking or wanting to use for your company site or blog. You'll be shown all the potential URLs, including .com, .net, .org, .info, .biz and the top ten country domains. Those displayed in red are taken, those in green are free. The site will also inform you whether the name is in use on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, eBay, Blogger, WordPress, delicious, Flickr and even Finally, it will tell you whether the name is trademarked internationally.

The popularity of social media seems unstoppable. In the UK, social networking sites now receive more hits than search engines, according to the latest data from Experian Hitwise. Total search engine hits - covering Google, Bing, Yahoo! and others - accounted for 11.33 per cent of Internet visits and fell just behind social networks, where the share was 11.88 per cent. The news comes not long after Facebook passed Google in terms of Web site hits in the USA, with the Net's social leader taking 7.07 per cent of Web traffic, versus 7.03 per cent for the search engine. Digg founder Kevin Rose says that Google is getting ready to respond with a Facebook competitor under the name "Google Me". SFWeekly (second link below) guesses that it could be based on an expanded version of Google Profiles, which gathers information about you from your use of Google services.

During a speech in London, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt refused to deny that the company is hatching a social network to rival Facebook, adding fuel to rumours that the search giant could be launching a social service called Google Me later this year. Google has certainly started to take social networking seriously after failing to consider it at all during much of its early history. The company launched an email based social sharing network called Google Buzz earlier this year, but it did nothing to slow the growth of rival services like Twitter and Facebook. If there is to be an opening for Google in the crowded social networking market, it might be in helping users navigate through their many friend groups, according to a recent presentation from Paul Adams, head of user experience research at the company.

Can you put a value on your Facebook page? SocialPageEvaluator will try to do it for you. Enter the URL of any Facebook page and the Evaluator will examine its fan count, post frequency and various fan interactions before crunching the data to come up with a notional monetary value. If nothing else, it's a useful comparison tool that you can use to check your efforts against your competitors, and it will offer some advice about your own page that could improve its performance.

A local newspaper in New York reports on a legal case that questions Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook ownership. Paul D. Ceglia, a resident of Wellsville, a small town in rural New York state, filed suit in the Allegany County State Supreme Court alleging that the Facebook CEO had entered into a contract with him in 2003 which provides Ceglia with an 85 per cent share of the social network company. The judge took the case seriously and approved a temporary restraining order banning Facebook from transferring assets.

Rupert Murdoch will be encouraged to learn that Google is coming to the aid of newspapers like The Times and Sunday Times (see last month's story: News Behind The Wall) that want to charge Internet users to read the online versions of their publications. Italian newspaper, La Repubblica (second link below), says that Google is planning to launch a micropayment system for online publishers by the end of the year and is already reaching out to media owners to get them to sign up. The system - Newspass - would allow users to log-in to the sites of participating newspapers, which will be able to designate what type of payment they want to accept, including subscriptions and micropayments. According to La Repubblica, Newspass appears to have many elements of a paid content proposal that Google made to the Newspaper Association of America last year. At the time, Google said it was "uniquely positioned to help publishers create a scalable ecommerce system via our Checkout product and also enable users to find this content via search, even if it's behind a paywall". Google users who see content snippets from participating publishers returned in their search results will see a paywall icon next to each listing and be able to purchase access directly using Google Checkout.

THOMSON TO BOOST BING has signed a three-year deal with Microsoft to become the first UK reseller of the pay-per-click advertising that runs alongside Bing search engine results. Microsoft's Bing has a 10 per cent share of the US search market, but less than 5 per cent in the UK - about the same as Yahoo! Both engines are dwarfed by Google's dominance of UK searches, which has topped 80 per cent in every month for more than two years according to Nielsen Online statistics.

Government planning aimed at providing access to broadband in rural areas of Wales designated as 'black holes' and 'notspots' began in 2007. This year sees the launch of a £2m support scheme for communities still suffering the indignities of dial-up access with the offer of £1,000 to individual applicants who will be able to approach service providers with cash incentives. Next month, broadband will arrive for the first time in Ystrad Meurig, location of Strata Florida, once the centre of Welsh culture.

YouTube has announced a $5 million fund called YouTube Partner Grants that will identify and reward promising online clip makers. "We're starting with proven partners, partners with the most views", Google-owned YouTube's George Strompolos told AdAge. "We'll be evaluating proposals based on their projected viewership, their marketing plan, distribution, everything. A lot of these folks have built up big audiences on YouTube, but they may be cash-constrained and not able to take their operation to the next level. That's what our fund is for".

YouTube's new online video editor makes it easy and convenient to edit your videos. You can easily trim them, combine two or more together and add soundtracks - all online. The video editor is available from YouTube's TestTube (a lab for experimental products).

PC World has its own ideas about how to work on YouTube videos: making them start at the part you really want to see, default to high-definition playback, or leave out those related videos links at the end - plus an easy way to save YouTube and most other videos to almost any device.

Here's an online service that allows you to video chat with a friend straight from your browser. You and your friend don't have to install any software or sign up for anything. You will need to have a webcam and microphone, of course. It's handy if you want to video chat on demand from a suitably equipped new machine or don't want to log into your Skype account. Click the button at ChatRide and you will be given a connect URL to forward to your friend. Once they enter the URL in their browser, conversation can begin.

It's been almost two months since Caffeine, Google's new Web content indexing system, became a permanent feature of the search engine and changed the way its results are delivered. It used to be that Google updated its indexes every few weeks. Now it's close to real time. This can be good news if you update your site content regularly. Your Web design company should be equipped to help you make regular updates and add new content - or at least provide the infrastructure that makes it possible for you to do it yourself - with an SEO-friendly content management system that makes it easy to add new information quickly.

SEARCH ENGINE OF THE MONTH is a search engine that runs on niche marketing and trend-identifying software that picks out more timely and relevant content. Its designers claim that Google has a lot of "spam and junk sites" in its index that makes search engine optimisation (SEO) much more difficult than it should be for legitimate site owners. A key feature of allows users to sort search results by date, using a slider control that runs from 5 to 14 days. The search engine is tied to "The Internet Time Machine" project, a historical archive that records the 'back story' of Web sites as they have evolved over the years. The site provides public access to the tool used for the archive to seek out the changes it monitors. NowRelevant claims that Google, which also now allows users to sort results by date, took its inspiration from them.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 02:06 AM

JiK, I've gotten to where I simply will not respond to anyone who calls me on the phone with a solicitation. It may be the usual Kidney Foundation folks, but heck, everyone is being used as a shield in these scams. A couple of weeks ago a cheerful woman called to tell me she was calling on behalf of breast cancer research. I told her I don't contribute just because someone calls and tells me they're a worthy cause. As you note, she had hung up before I had time to clunk the phone in her ear. My mother used to keep a police whistle near the phone. I suppose the trick would be to use the whistle before you tell them you're onto their scam. [evil grin]

At this point I have caller ID and I simply plug the number into the Google search bar and report the scam along with many others. There are lots of lists where you can keep track of this stuff.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: GUEST,PeterC
Date: 03 Aug 10 - 04:50 PM

My answer phone is set to respond after three rings. If it is a genuine call they willl start to leave a message and I just cut off the recording and answer.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: GUEST,Shimrod
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 01:06 PM

I got quite a few of these calls but 'smelled a rat' immediately and told them to "sod-off".

Then one rainy day I was a bit bored and decided to have a bit of fun. I pretended that I had computer problems and would welcome their help. The person on the other end of the phone asked if my computer was booted up - and I told her that it was. She then began to issue me with instructions - which I pretended to follow. At some point she asked me what I could see on the screen and I said that I could see a duck. I then accused her of "programming a duck into my computer"!

She told me that my computer must be "heavily infected with viruses" and that she would have to get her supervisor. Things then got completely surreal because the supervisor was obviously slavishly following a script, didn't appear to hear my increasingly hysterical ravings about ducks, and kept on calmly issuing instructions!

In the end I got bored and told her that I didn't believe that she worked for Microsoft and that she should "sod off" ...

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 04:31 PM

Never under any circumstances do anything with a cold call except tell them that never under any circumstances will you do anything other than hang up. Then hang up, if they are still there.

Min dyou there are exceptions - like the call I once had from a strange bank to let me know they had identified a bank account in my mother's name with a sizeable sum in it. That was actually true, unlikely as it sounds.

Still, I'm sure if I'd hung up they'd have sent me a letter.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Tootler
Date: 04 Aug 10 - 06:20 PM

I like it, Shimrod.

As I use Linux, maybe I should try stringing them along a bit next time.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: GUEST,Robert Smith
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 12:18 AM

I got a call from one of the companies informing my computer is virus infected. firstly i was worried that this is not possible but at the end they solved my problem and given me a good service. So their may be few companies which are scam but there are even legitimate companies as well.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 12:31 AM

That sounds really improbable.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: GUEST,Grishka
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 06:26 AM

Robert Smith, would you please be so kind as to investigate my computer as well? I'll give you my bank account password so that you can check whether the money is still there. You are the only honest man in the world, I'm really glad I found you.

The truth is: while there is lots of scam around, the most dangerous crooks (including our governments pretending to fight Al Qaida) don't need to trouble you with such stings. Anyway: trust no stranger ringing, texting, or mailing you, or posting in Mudcat.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: mayomick
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 09:23 AM

"I've never been able to beat one of these callers at disconnecting." That's been my experience with the people who call me .They seem to be equipped with sensitive hang-up antennae and always get in first. Very annoying ,it reminds me of how cockroaches are able to anticipate a thwack and jump away in time .

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Dave Hanson
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 11:10 AM

I get one of these calls about once a week, when they start talking about ' my ' computer I ask them what they mean as I don't have a computer, they then try to convince me that I have and when I refuse to acknowledge this they get confused and hang up.

Dave H

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Bill D
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 11:48 AM

There are ads on US television from "" offering to scan your PC and show you any problems.... then for a price, they will sell you their "fixit" program.

But...if you Google it, you'll discover that they ALWAYS find problems. Tests have been done with clean, never used PCs... and they find hundreds of malware, viruses...etc.

Total scam and ought to be investigated....

Use ONLY vetted and approved programs to safeguard your machine.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Tootler
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 05:19 PM

Cold call selling generally is becoming an increasing nuisance. There used to be a thing in the UK called the "Telephone Preference Service" which you registered with and you went on a database of people not to be called. All the sales departments have done is to move their operations offshore so they can avoid that. They can also avoid the restriction on multiple simultaneous dialling.

Cold call selling of all sorts is becoming a thorough nuisance and there needs to be something done, but the govt. just don't seem interested.

It really annoys me when they use my first name. Who the hell do they think they are????

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Nick
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 06:11 PM


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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 06:52 PM

I used to keep one of those aerosol horns fans take to football matches by my phone. None of them ever called a second time.

The TPS though does seem to work moderately well, and between the two my cold calls have dropped from abouty thirty to five or six per week.

Don T.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 08:05 PM

I've had a couple of these calls... I ask LOTS of questions and they are adamant (and even agressive) about insisting that they are going to "help" me; when I asked "How do I know this isn't a scam?", they were smart enough to respond that it was good I was being careful. When I stopped playing along and told them I had a Mac... "click!"

However, here's a new -- and to me, extremely worrying -- twist: I was having problems with my phone line, so went to the BT website and reported a fault on my line ("intermittent dial tone").

A few days later, I had another call from these scammers, but they really had me going for a while, because they said they were responding to the problem I had reported to BT, and used the exact words I had used (i.e. "intermittent dial tone") when I had reported the fault to BT.

I did some checking to see whether I might have accidentally used a fake BT page to report my phone problem, but if that's the case, these guys have set up not just a page, but an entire website, which matches BT's in every particular.

I called BT and reported this to them, but the fellow I talked to seemed most concerned with reassuring me about the safety of my own line; he did not seem to get the point I was trying to make, which was that someone may somehow be accessing/intercepting information people submit to BT, and then using it to make their scam(s) more believable... [sigh!]

I find this very worrying indeed.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Ole Juul
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 08:18 PM

We've been getting these calls for quite a while here in Canada. Usually my wife gets the phone and she's on a UNIX box. hehe It quickly becomes apparent that the solicitor is not only struggling with English, but also computer literacy. It's not really worth spending any time with them though.

It's the on-line "your computer might be infected" popups that I enjoy though. I sometimes click on them so I can watch the MS-Windows file names scroll by as they do their pretend scan.

Note: If you really are on a Windows computer, don't click on those!

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Amos
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 08:35 PM

From Slashdot:

"Antivirus maker Avast is suspending its relationship with iYogi, a company it has relied upon for the past two years to provide live customer support for its products. The move comes just one day after an investigation into iYogi showed the company was using the relationship to push expensive and unnecessary support contracts onto Avast users. In a blog post, Avast's CEO wrote, 'We had initial reports of this behavior a few weeks ago and met with iYogi's senior executives to ensure the behavior was being corrected. Thus, we were shocked to find out about Mr. Krebs' experience. As a consequence, we have removed the iYogi support service from our website and shortly it will be removed from our products.'"

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: stallion
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 08:43 PM

Wow I had a problem with BT broadband and was told by the BT help desk it was a problem with vista, the next day i got a call from someone saying they were from microsoft technical and that BT had said there was a problem with windows and demanded a hundred and eighty quid, I got a phone number to ring to authenticate it, phoned the police and passed on the number on, they phoned back and said they had checked the phone number on the police computer and there had been thousands of complaints worldwide connected with this particular telephone number.

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Subject: RE: Tech: Computer 'Support' Scam
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 16 Mar 12 - 09:53 PM

When I get an unsolicited call, I tell them to take me off their list. Some of them, if you listen to the recording long enough (instead of pressing 1 to tell them to take you off the list) offer a number to push to get off the list. I rarely find that works, or there are so many out there that others call in their place.

If I find I missed a call I enter the number in a site like, or without even doing that, just enter the number in the search bar of the browser. Use the hyphens so it recognizes the format as a phone number. You'll see other reports on the number and can usually figure out if it is real or not.


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