A consumer from Lecompton reported to the Better Business Bureau that she had become a victim of a fake tech support phone call.

A consumer from Lecompton reported to the Better Business Bureau that she had become a victim of a fake tech support phone call.  

She was recently contacted by a man with an accent who claimed that he was an engineer from her Internet service provider and needed access to her computer to fix error messages and viruses that he had detected. Since the consumer had seen error messages, she typed a URL address which allowed the caller remote access to her computer. He proceeded to show her what was wrong on the monitor. Then he offered a two-year package that would fix all of her problems for $199.

The consumer agreed to pay for this service and completed an online application giving her name, address, date of birth, Social Security number and her bank card information. As part of the application, she also gave permission to take money out of her bank account.

Two days later, she was contacted by another man who also had an accent. He informed her that the package she had purchased was not compatible with her computer, and in order to get the money refunded to her account, she needed to wire $248 through Western Union to Uday Shanker in Gumta, India. After the wire transfer had been completed, she received another call asking for the 10-digit number on the receipt and was promised that her money would be returned. It has not, and she lost almost $500.

The woman reported to the BBB that her bank card statement had a charge of $225.49 for the “$199.00 package” from a company listed as “Technosys Global Servic Chelmsford ON CA”. A BBB investigation found that the actual name of the company is Technosys Global Services. The USA phone number listed on its website, http://technpsysglobalservicess.net/, is 209-330-3606. The BBB called this number and found that it had either been changed or disconnected.

BBB president and CEO Jim Hegarty stated, “This scam is very well executed. The scammer probably placed a virus on her computer before he called her. That is why he could show her what was wrong on her monitor. It is a mistake to give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support company that you have contacted for help.”

Another consumer from Fairbury NE reported having a similar problem with a company called Optimize Pro.  Instead of receiving a phone call, she got a “pop-up” on her monitor that claimed there were viruses on her computer. She clicked on the message, called the number provided and paid $54.95 by credit card for a program that the company installed on her PC “to remove the viruses”. Then she paid an additional $287.00 for a two-year tech support service contract and “enrolment in our automatic renewal service.”

A BBB investigation revealed that Optimize Pro is using several business names and websites to hide their actual location and found various warnings on the Internet indicating their software is malware. These kinds of viruses can change browser settings and reside in the background, blocking access to legitimate anti-virus programs. They can also be difficult to detect.

BBB advises:
*  If you receive an unsolicited call (also known as a cold call) or see a “pop-up” on your computer monitor offering tech support, check with the BBB at bbb.org to make sure that the company is reputable.

*  Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from tech support, unless you initiated the call and are certain who you are dealing with.

*  Take down the information about the company’s phone number or website and report it to your BBB, local authorities or the FTC (www.ftc.gov)
If you did allow a caller to access your computer:

*  Change the passwords for your computer, email and online banking/credit card accounts.

*  Be sure to run a virus scan.

*  If you suspect that your computer is infected by a virus, check with the BBB at bbb.org to find BBB Accredited IT firms that will make sure no programs are running in the background that your virus scan did not detect.

*  Consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report if you shared personal and banking information with the scammer.

Better Business Bureau, Inc. (BBB) has been serving U.S consumers and businesses since 1912 and is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing trust in the marketplace. Accountability, education and recognition of business role models are key components to the BBB's mission. Today BBB serving Nebraska, South Dakota the Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa is supported by approximately 10,000 Accredited Businesses that have voluntarily committed to adhere to BBB’s Standards of Trust. Consumers are encouraged to visit bbb.org for Business Reviews on over 4 million companies or to report complaints and possible scams.