Victim Location 22302
Total money lost $900
Type of a scam Tech Support
On Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at about 6:30pm, I typed the Virginia DMV web address into the search browser window and several gray pop up boxes cascaded in the middle of my screen. The first box wanted me to put in my user name and password. The box just behind and offset said something about a malicious virus has been detected. At the same time, a woman’s voice with a mellow, British accent said my computer was infected and if I didn’t address the issue I would face prison. I saw in the background was the Microsoft logo with the words “Microsoft Help Desk, please call 1-855-866-9580”. I tried to cancel out the boxes, but more popped up. I tried to close out the program, but the screen blinked and slowed the cursor. I called the number on the screen for help.
A woman with an Eastern European accent answered and identified herself as Microsoft Tech Tina ID # 00369852. She asked what error code was displayed. I saw one briefly, but other boxes covered it. She assured me Microsoft was aware of viruses and she was there to assist me. She instructed me to run a program (iexplorer or something). She said in order to diagnose the problem she would need to remotely access my computer. I allowed access. She took me to several boxes that indicated I had 7000 viruses. She showed me a long list and highlighted some that she said were serious. She showed me several of my drivers were disabled. She said Microsoft could fix the problem. She transferred me to her supervisor.
A man with an Indian accent answered and identified himself as Microsoft Network Specialist Ishwar Pangeni ID # MTB1400. He opened up my notepad and wrote 3 different service plans with 3, 5, and 7-year plans. He opened websites and showed me the products that he said corporations use to combat hackers. The first package started at 1800 dollars. I told him I didn’t have that kind of money laying around. I asked about the lower cost packages. He explained a package called Superb Tech by PES costs $800 and included anti virus, anti malware, anti Trojan, and firewall protection for 3 years. He said Microsoft uses third party services plans and I needed to buy the PES plan so that he could install it onto my computer.
I gave him my credit card number, expiration date, and security code over the phone and he verified it by typing it on the notepad. He inputted the information onto PES’s secure gateway and the payment would not go through. He told me I needed to call my credit card company and find out why it had been declined. Long story short, the card was declined 3 times and the credit card representative said the company was based in China. I authorized the payment over the phone. Each time, Mr. Pangeni called me back on my cell phone. I was charged $899.43. The charge on my credit was identified as PES.buypcparts.com.
He transferred me to another Microsoft Tech that handled cleaning my computer. I watched for about an hour. I saw what looked like legit software installed and quarantining and cleaning the viruses. He called me and said my Norton Anti Virus was not being used and if I could give him permission to delete it out, I said yes (because I thought I was getting a service plan). He finished and asked me to go through the computer and see if everything was there. I opened up a few pngages and files, but did not put in passwords. He transferred me back to Mr. Pangeni. He said that they would de-clutter my computer once a month. I can reach them at the main number or at the number 855-442-2935. He said the call center was located at 2481 Chalmers Court Rockwall, TX 75032. He said the service plan would cover all my devices in the event the hackers got into my Wifi.
I was on the phone with the “Microsoft Techs” for about 4 hours. They were inside my computer for about 2 hours. There were several Indian male voices in the background. At one point, I had told Mr. Pangeni that I could not hear him clearly due to the background noise. He apologized and said several Microsoft techs were busy helping people like me.
I looked up the virus on the Internet and saw something about a Microsoft Help Desk Scam. The phone number on the scammer image was the same I had dialed. I immediately called my credit card company and explained what happened. A day later, I took my computer to a reputable technician. He identified malware that had been installed as well as a backdoor to access my computer whenever they wanted. The hackers had cleaned my computer and covered their tracks, but the technician was able to find a step-by-step directory of what they did. So far, there hasn’t been any unusual activity on my accounts.