The Norman Transcript

Business

November 14, 2012

FTC exposes tech support telephone call scams

NORMAN — If someone called you on the phone, said they were from the “Windows Technical Department” and claimed they needed to remotely repair your computer because it had been hacked, would you believe them?

Numerous customers have been telling me stories similar to this for about a week now, but it seems scams like this have been around for a while. I had heard of them, but now I know people who have actually experienced them. Two of the scammers left a call-back number of 201-285-5200. This number leads to a bogus computer repair website called TechePC.com, which, despite appearances and area codes, has its roots in West Bengal, India.

The calls go something like this: the Windows Technical Department’s “Central Server” has been receiving error warnings from your computer, indicating that your computer is in danger of crashing or being hacked. The helpful tech support guy, speaking with a heavy foreign accent and a sense of great urgency, then asks you to “test” your computer by pressing certain key combinations on your keyboard. A confusing-looking window called “Event Viewer” opens, filled with technical gobbledygook, “proving” your computer has been hacked. He further explains that the “Central Server” gave him your phone number, so he could call and help you out of this terrible situation.

As the call progresses, you are pressured to visit a certain website and install something that will allow remote control of your computer, so that repairs can be effected. You are also asked to provide a credit card number to pay for services rendered. Victims of this scam end up losing between $50-500.

Fortunately, the Federal Trade Commission started taking scammers like this to court last month, but new scams spring up every day, so it’s an ongoing crackdown. “The FTC has been aggressive - and successful - in its pursuit of tech support scams,” said FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz, “and the tech support scam artists we are talking about today have taken scareware to a whole other level of virtual mayhem.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Business
  • Women leaders announced

    The Norman Chamber announced the nominees for the 2014 Women’s Leadership Award, which honors female leaders who actively inspire other women to achieve their full potential.  Past recipients of this honor, formerly known as the ATHENA ...

    April 17, 2014

  • Norman use tax takes a hit while Moore sales tax flounders

    Norman use tax took a hit this month while Moore’s sales tax floundered for the first time since sales picked up in the post-tornado recovery period. For the city of Norman, however, sales tax collections are a bright spot on the revenue ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Nextep moves back to Dillard Building, but this time with much larger presence

    In 1997, entrepreneur Brian Fayak was just getting Nextep Inc., a professional employer service, started. Fayak had been working out of his sister’s house in west Norman and was delighted when the opportunity came to rent an executive ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Spotlight

    Chiropractic award Megan Borne, a chiropractic assistant at Sparks Clinic of Chiropractic in Norman, was recently awarded the title of C.A. counselor with the Pinnacle Chiropractic Management Group. She will assist other chiropractic ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Primrose presents Leadership class grads

    On Tuesday, the Norman Chamber of Commerce graduated both Leadership Norman and Tomorrow’s Leaders. Over the past several months, participants attended interactive sessions covering a variety of topics including communication, education, ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Business and restaurant survey online now

    The city of Norman is seeking input from its residents about retail shopping and restaurant opportunities that they would like to see locate to Norman. On Thursday, the city published a link to an online retail and restaurant survey on ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Norman Nation

    In 1964, when my father was a University of Oklahoma student, he and my mother were in desperation car shopping mode because their vehicle had just died. As the story has been told for nearly 50 years, the Ford dealership had not opened ...

    April 13, 2014

  • Spring cleaning: Time to change passwords again

    Are you in the habit of regularly changing the passwords for your online accounts? You should be — changing passwords regularly is a required part of every wise Internet user’s safety routine....

    April 13, 2014

  • Regional partnerships build prosperity

    Job creators shop for sites, regional marketing professionals told Norman’s Economic Development Advisory Board on Thursday. That makes selling the central Oklahoma region with its diversity of site options and amenities a business savvy ...

    April 6, 2014

  • Greening up the urban hardscape

    Native plantings, wildlife habitat and rippling waters aren’t just descriptors of a country life anymore. In Norman, green infrastructure practices are bringing the beauty of nature to the urban setting but repurposed to do the work that ...

    April 6, 2014

Video
Facebook