Help PC Online. Are they bone fide or is it a scam?

A couple of weeks ago, I had a call from a man with an Indian accent saying he represented a company called Help PC online. He said Microsoft had informed them ( and yes, an automatic error message had been sent, apparently to Microsoft, when I'd had a problem a hour or so earlier) that I was having problems with  slow operating. He said his company is in partnership with Microsft for tech help.

I paid the required £99 (for one year of tech support cover) and their tech person remotely accessed my laptop and supposedly cleaned it up! And it has speeded up noticeably since!  He also replaced my AVG free anti-virus software with an Avira free download.

I have three questions- 1. Have I been scammed? 2. Is there now a security implication, e.g. has my online banking data been compromised? 3. Can my laptop be remotely accesssed again, even if I now wouldn't authorise that?



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Answer
Answer

To answer your questions in turn:

1. Yes, you have been scammed.

2. Yes, if the person had remote access to your PC you should consider all data (banking, etc.) on your PC at the time and since to have been potentially compromised.

3. Yes, its possible. They may be using malware to monitor your PC.

 

Now you know what they may potentially may have done, you need to tell your bank and take other similar steps. You should also change all passwords, but do so on another PC until yours is clean.

As for your PC, physically disconnect it from the internet. Personally, I would do a reformat of all hard drives and a clean (custom) reinstall of Windows. You may be satisifed with something less drastic, but I wouldn't be.

Please also see:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/security/online-privacy/msname.aspx .

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Disclaimer: You use my posts entirely at your own risk. I don't work for Microsoft. I am an unpaid volunteer.

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A couple of weeks ago, I had a call from a man with an Indian accent saying he represented a company called Help PC online. He said Microsoft had informed them ( and yes, an automatic error message had been sent, apparently to Microsoft, when I'd had a problem a hour or so earlier) that I was having problems with  slow operating. He said his company is in partnership with Microsft for tech help.

I paid the required £99 (for one year of tech support cover) and their tech person remotely accessed my laptop and supposedly cleaned it up! And it has speeded up noticeably since!  He also replaced my AVG free anti-virus software with an Avira free download.

I have three questions- 1. Have I been scammed? 2. Is there now a security implication, e.g. has my online banking data been compromised? 3. Can my laptop be remotely accesssed again, even if I now wouldn't authorise that?




Yes, you've been scammed.

 

It is a scam, and one that's becoming more and more common lately. But worse, if you let them into your computer, who knows what damage they did there or what confidential information they stole.

So I highly recommend that you do both of the following immediately:

1. Do a clean reinstallation of Windows.

2. Change all of your passwords, especially any for banks or other financial sites.

 

What's odd, though, is your machine running faster, and their having replaced AVG with Avira; Avira is much better than AVG.

 

Also, if you paid by credit card, call your credit card company and see if they can get your money back.

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Last updated June 15, 2021 Views 4,521 Applies to: