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:
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, thenerdsupport.com 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: http://whocallsme.com/Phone-Number.aspx/02033188706
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.
Computer Expert serving Woodbridge, Suffolk.