Personal Computer Support From Marc Fowler

ByMarc Fowler

Beware “Nerd Support” scam calling from 020 3318 8706

My job is helping people with their computers. I received a call from one of my customers this week in need of help. From what she described, I was worried she had been scammed. After visiting her today, my fears were confirmed. I have been so appalled at what has happened that I want to warn others.

A company calling themselves The Nerd Support Group, using the telephone number 020 3318 8706, called my customer last week. They told her they had discovered problems with her computer. They managed to talk her into allowing them to take control of her computer to fix the problems.

From what the customer describes, I am led to believe they then planted some sort of application on the computer which showed them fixing dozens of problems (which I suspect did not exist). She was eventually told her computer needed to be upgraded to Windows 7 for an extra £110. She consented to this and the operator carried out the upgrade in the same way, via her broadband connection.

I will not go into more detail about what they did or did not do, to help protect her anonymity. If this article spreads like I hope it will, to warn people, I dare say somebody from The Nerd Support Group will end up reading this.

Suffice to say the things they did have ruined her computer, leaving her with none of her applications and a pirated installation of Windows 7. They have charged her £295.00 for this. Going by the emails she has received, they have also signed her up for an ongoing support package. Two payments were taken via AlertPay, of £110.00 and £185.00.

Of course, I have gone through the necessary steps with her to keep her money safe and am in the process of sorting out her computer – not easy when they have also removed the original recovery partition. The only good news I could give her was that I could recover her data, no thanks to them.

I have spent some time researching The Nerd Support Group this afternoon. They have a smart website and give a good enough impression. They obviously hope to draw victims in via the site as well as by cold calling people. The site shows the same telephone number given to my customer; +4420 3318 8706. They claim to be a Microsoft Registered Partners but do not show an official logo. They also show a McAfee “Site secure” badge and a GoDaddy (large US web hosting company) logo.

All looks good until you stumble across a blog article giving advice to their own technicians, which includes the following:

  • As a support tech, it is your job to break down resistance and get the truth. This is so you can rub the lie in their face, fixing the issue is just a perk
  • The hold button is your friend
  • The answer to all users questions should be “Trust me, I know what I’m doing” even if this is a bald-faced lie
  • A user who is not listening to you anymore, but rather is trying “their own thing” is not worth your time. Simulate a telephone disconnect and hang up. Trust me, you’re better off.
  • Users always want a reason things are fixed. If you’re not sure just lie. They won’t know anyway. “A stray electron passed through the processor and caused…”
  • If possible ask to speak to the youngest person present

Quite disturbing advice which gives some real insight into the company’s ethics, wouldn’t you say?

Further research into the company reveals their domain name, was only registered (in the US) at the beginning of March. Searching online for their phone number reveals a string of messages from other people who have had similar calls. Here is one example:

These sorts of scams are becoming increasingly common. Having posted about it briefly last night, I have already had somebody else tell me they were targeted.

I urge anybody reading this not to allow anyone who calls you to take control of your computer. Not only could they cause more problems than they solve, they could look through your files and settings without you knowing and even gain access to your online accounts such as banking, PayPal, social networks etc.

Be vigilant and spread the word. Those of you who use Twitter and similar networks may wish to use the buttons below to tell your friends about this post.

Thank you for reading.

Marc Fowler
Computer Expert serving Woodbridge, Suffolk.

About the author

Marc Fowler administrator

I am an independent computer expert working in the Woodbridge area of Suffolk. I mainly support home users but also help local small businesses. I have been trading as FowlerWeb Computer Support since May 2005.

12 comments so far

Marc FowlerPosted on4:25 pm - May 4, 2010

RT @FowlerWeb: Beware "Nerd Support" scam calling from 02033 188 706

Ian FletcherPosted on9:09 pm - May 4, 2010

RT @FowlerWeb: Beware "Nerd Support" scam calling from 02033 188 706

Julius RostPosted on9:50 pm - May 13, 2010

The same thing has just happened to one of my customers he was asked to pay £180 for support and told his machine had viruses. They claimed they could see them from the Microsoft server and kept bugging him on the phone until he gave them remote access to his machine where like you say they showed him fake viruses! I have advised him not to use his machine online until I have seen what they have done. They also told him he needed windows ultimate even though I sold him a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium with AVG. He had reported no problems with his machine prior to “Nerd support” calling him. I am shocked and disgusted that they are preying on peoples ignorance! LET’S SPREAD THIS INFORMATION ASAP!!!!

k.daviesPosted on10:49 am - May 20, 2010

I was also put in the same situation exactly as Mark Fowler’s client.I have now no e mail and my computer has a failed Windows7 istallation.I am distraught and Nerd doesn’t answer their phone

Marc FowlerPosted on1:10 pm - May 20, 2010

Another reader of my blog was hit by #Nerd #Support #scam It cost my customer £350 to get everything back to normal 🙁

RikPosted on5:51 pm - May 28, 2010

Just had one of my customers, similar scam except they refused to pay until they got advice! Were really pushy on ringing back to a 020 3318 number. Off to sort in the morning. Apparently my customer was taken to first.

JohnPosted on10:00 pm - Jun 7, 2010

One of my customers told me he had a phone call from “The Spark Support” on 01614 0836381, who are associated with Nerd Support, and wanted £180 for fixing warnings found in the system logs! Luckily they contacted me before any harm was done.

Len WoodPosted on12:20 am - Jun 10, 2010

I have been stung by this company. Fortunately I have managed to retrieve my £185 via my credit card company. However another worrying aspect is that 2 days after I was credited my money, I have had phone calls from a Mr. williams of Microsoft threatening to sue me. My computer is also usless

Hazel McKinnonPosted on3:23 pm - Jun 14, 2010

I too was stung by The Nerd Support Group who cold called me and caught me at a weak moment. They are pretty sharp and very pushy, before you know it they have control of your computer and have fleeced you for money (£80 in my case). They also claimed to have been contacted by Microsoft about faults with my computer and directed me to a long list that they said they would fix. They attached Teamviewer to my computer and about six other programs. If you show any doubt they put a female on the phone line if you are a woman. Not only is it difficult to understand the accent, which is strong Indian but they talk very fast. In the end I refused to speak to them and just hung up every time they called until they stopped. Then I deleted all the programs they had installed. It took some time but eventually I got my computer back to normal. I also changed my credit card so they couldn’t charge me again.

Marc FowlerPosted on4:30 pm - Jun 14, 2010

So many people have been conned and had computers ruined by "Nerd Support Group" #scam: See comments on my blog

SuffolkWebDirectoryPosted on4:34 pm - Jun 14, 2010

Beware “Nerd Support” scam (tel 020 3318 8706)

SuffolkWebDirectoryPosted on4:36 pm - Jun 14, 2010

RT @FowlerWeb: So many people have been conned and had computers ruined by "Nerd Support Group" #scam: See my blog

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