No you are not on the phone with Microsoft

Going to repost this article I wrote over a year ago since in the past month I have an increase in the number of calls about anonymous calls telling my clients their is something wrong with their computer.

Increasingly I have to fix computers that have been ruined because people are falling for the various Technical Support scams. Let me get this out of the way first no matter what you think, no matter what you find searching for phone numbers you are not on the phone with Microsoft or likely any other company.

This scam works in two ways. The first is simple you get a random phone call from someone telling you that there is some problem with your computer. This is nearly always a scam (there are some RARE cases when your ISP might contact you, if they claim they are your ISP hang up and call the number on your bill.) Odds are no one is ever going to legitimately call you and tell you there is something wrong with your computer. The number of steps they would have to go through to even get your phone number makes this basically impossible for any company to do.

The second way they do this is by buying ads on search engines. Do a search for basically anything and the word support and you will tons of scam links. Only two of these links are actual links to Norton tech support.

tech numbers
You end up on the phone with someone from various companies like iYogi. These companies charge insanely high rates for repairs and will often leave the computer non-functional or at best worse than it was before you called them.

They will in nearly every case ask you to open up the event viewer where they will show tons of scary looking error messages. These are perfectly normal and will be present in the event viewer of every Windows PC on the planet. Here is what my event logs look like.

event viwer

They will then prompt you to install their software. If you are very lucky they might fix your computer for a very hefty price (I’ve found quotes of $299 for routine maintenance issues left on computers), they will often damage the computer.

Now here is the horrible part. Something new I discovered just a few days ago. Even if they fix your computer, even if you refuse to pay, even after you uninstall their software, the software STAYS INSTALLED. I have discovered hidden monitoring software running as hidden processes that are left behind after you have uninstalled the software. At best this software is causing a huge performance hit on the computer, at worst who knows what this software is doing, it could easily be logging all your passwords, banking info, and credit card numbers. This software could be doing anything.

This is yet another reason you should find a local qualified repair person. We charge less. We are local. You can find us if you have a problem. Never let some stranger on the phone into your computer.

I look forward to the iYogi astroturfing team telling me off in the comments.

 


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