I have mentioned in the past that Computer Precision is a client of mine. I’m fairly often in their premises, so I hear any number of strange stories. In the story below, I’ll call the company CiPi for short.
CiPi recently sold a laptop to a lady who has been a customer of theirs for quite a while, so the laptop replaced a fairly elderly machine. I’ll call her Sally, which is not her real name.
Sally had been having problems with her old machine, and had talked to Vish Rao, the Business Manager at CiPi, about it, wondering whether to fix or replace the laptop.
One evening, as she was packing to go abroad on business, the telephone rang. There was a man on the other end of the line with a foreign accent. He said he was working as an agent on behalf of Microsoft, and had been monitoring Sally’s laptop. There were two viruses on the machine.
Was her laptop running slowly?
Well, yes, it was, and Sally could easily believe he was right, so she started to ask him for more information about who he was, but he brushed aside her questions.
He asked if her computer was registered. Umm, she didn’t know. Why was this important?
The man said that he could fix the problems online, if Sally allowed him access to her laptop, but she would have to pay a registration fee of $190, which would be valid for two years.
Sally says that she was willing to believe him because he seemed to know what the problem with the laptop was.
So, she allowed him access to the laptop, gave him her email address, and also gave her bank details.
He then did a few sort of online squiggly things with the laptop, and rang off.
Two weeks later, Sally returned to the UK and got in touch with her bank, Lloyds. The agreed money had been extracted from her account plus a mysterious $5 shipping charge, and there had been no further bills.
A shipping bill for what?
She immediately instructed Lloyds not to allow any further debits to Genius Technology (Microassyst), of 2360 Eglington Avenue East, Toronto, Ontario M1K2P2, Canada.
Sally did receive an emailed receipt from Genius Technology.
Everything about it was bogus except the sum of money.
There is no Genius Technology in Eglington Avenue, neither East nor West. The website, www.telcomhub.com, has been taken down by the service provider. The laptop hasn’t been fixed.
So, Sally came back to Vish, and bought a replacement laptop. It could have been a lot worse.
We think her details were probably obtained through www.192.com The caller would need to make anywhere up to twenty or thirty calls before finding a willing victim, but he could be confident that he would find at least one victim because computers do go wrong, especially if infected with a virus, which is what Sally thought was her problem.
If you get a call like this, ask for the caller’s number, and tell him or her that you’ll call them back.
Then ring Computer Precision (020 7359 9797) or your usual IT person. It is their job to keep your computer clean and running to its maximum potential. Please do not call back the number you’re given.
In Sally’s case, the number of the mystery caller was probably 01865 589324, which is for Oxford, UK, and not for Toronto, Canada.
Give yourself a treat, and look up this number on http://whocallsme.com
You’ll be left in no doubt that this is a serious scam.