Alison R Reed (also writing as Marianna Bell and Michael N Allison)

NANW - Feb 2012

Fake Tech Support Scam!

My sister-in-law has just had a very un-nerving experience.  She received a phone call from a very pleasant gentleman from the Indian sub-continent.  He gave her the impression that he had been asked to contact her about her computer, and she assumed that her brother had given him her details – her brother teaches ICT.  The man asked her to go to her computer and go on to the event viewer.  Not knowing much about computers, she did exactly as she was told and he chatted to her about how much she had used the internet and then he told her that she had some errors on her system.  He was very helpful and offered to sort it out for her, but he would need to have access to her system.  As yet the alarm bells hadn’t gone off as she believed that he was acting on her brother’s instruction, it was only when he had remotely accessed her machine and was offering to put on some software that would sort it out that she began to feel uneasy.  When she told him that she wasn’t about to do anything to her computer without her brother’s permission, he immediately gave her a UK telephone number and a website so that she could check him out.  He was a little pushy about when he could ring her again but she was adamant about speaking to her brother first and the man finally hung up. 

 He gave the name as Global IT Technicians which has a very smart website, but if you look carefully there are some mistakes on it and the English is slightly stilted.  Googling Global IT Technicians scam took me through to the Conflict International website (private detectives!) which gave me a blow-by-blow account of how these fraudsters operate.  When I read it out to my sister-in-law, she agreed that it described exactly what had happened to her.  I then Googled fake tech scam which brought up lots of similar stories although the name of the company does seem to vary.  So the warning is if you receive a phone call from someone saying that there is a virus on your computer regardless of who they say they represent and what ‘legitimate credentials’ they tell you they hold, HANG UP immediately; DON’T give them remote access to your machine and DON’T give them your credit card details!  Be aware, these scammers are out to get your money and they’re likely to cause problems on your computer in the process.

 What we’ve done to keep her safe:

·      turned off the machine and unplugged it from the power and the internet.

·      used a separate computer to access the internet independently to change the passwords etc for her bank account

·      contacted the credit card company to alert them to the fact that her card might have been compromised and cancelled the card.  (Fortunately, she keeps a separate credit card for use only on the Internet.)

·      set up new emails accounts for her: one for family and friends and a separate one for using when shopping

·      arranged for PC to go into the shop to be wiped and everything re-installed.  This may be a bit over the top, but a few pounds spent now will ensure that she has a clean PC.