Scammed by PC Safe Network / Homesoft Solution? Here's What to Do

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Nancy P. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Back in January I was paying bills on my bank website, when suddenly a red warning screen appeared, stating that my PC was locked and that I needed to call Microsoft to fix the problem. The phone number listed was 855-755-2888. There were loud sirens going off, and the computer was speaking to me. There was no way to get past the warning screen and I could not use my computer. Not knowing any better, I called the number and spoke to a man with a very thick Indian accent. He said their company name was PC Safe Pro and that they were authorized Microsoft representatives. When they connected to my computer, they told me my IP address wasn't encrypted and that if I didn't fix the problem, hackers would inundate my PC. All of this took 3 hours to do and the charge was $999. The receipt they placed on my desktop says the Merchant Name is PC Safe Network, but the Company Name is Homesoft Solution. Fast forward to November, 2020 (now 10 months later) and they've called me again, stating that my data has been leaked by hackers in Nigeria and the Bahamas, and it's going to cost $5000 to fix the problem. After coming across your article on PC Network Experts, I believe I've been scammed. I am now deathly afraid that (a) they still have access to my machine, and (b) if I don't pay the bill, they are going to lock my out of my PC and delete all my files as you have reported in the previous article. Can you PLEASE help? "

Update 20201106: I'm getting a lot of emails from folks asking for help on this. If you want this problem fixed ASAP, send me an email and don't forget to leave your phone number. I will call you back as soon as possible.

My response:

I've said this many times already, but I'll say it again -

Any time you see a warning message that something is wrong with your PC and you need to call a 1-800 number to fix the problem, it's a scam! Also, if you receive a phone call out of the blue and the person on the other line needs access to your computer to "fix" a "problem" - it's a scam!

Phone numbers associated with this gang of scammers include: 1-855-700-0717, 1-866-666-1901, 1-855-700-0290, 855-755-2888, 1-800-785-6097, 1-800-795-0487, and 1-888-639-0832. The numbers keep changing all the time and I'll post them once I find more.

PC Safe Network / Homesoft Solution = Fake Tech Support

Homesoft Solution, also known as PC Safe Network / PC Safe Pro / PC Safepro / PC Safenetwork (and other aliases) are run by a very large criminal organization in India. These people are pure evil and will do everything they can to take your money - whether it's selling fake technical support, by making unauthorized charges with your credit card or bank accounts, and even stealing your identity to open up credit cards in your name.

Here's What Happens When You Let Cyber Criminals in Your PC

Based on my experience in dealing with this scam over the past 6 years, it goes WAY deeper than losing $999 for fake technical support.

Here's what really happens:

  1. Once the scammers connect to your machine, they will tie you up on the phone for as long as possible, passing you from fake department to fake department, claiming that they are "examining the problem".
     
  2. During this time, the scammers are rifling your PC, looking for passwords and financial information (banking / taxes, etc). They will then download this information to their servers for later processing. They will use this information to scam you, use it against you (to frighten you), or steal your money whether you authorize it or not.
     
  3. At the same time, the scammers will install countless remote access backdoors on the PC.

    These backdoors serve multiple purposes, including:

    a) being able to connect to the machine any time they want. Once they are in the machine, they can monitor you, steal more financial information, or deploy additional malware. In the latter case, they can use specialized software to monitor your keystrokes (such as capturing passwords).

    b) being able to propagate more scams remotely. For example, they will upload malware to the machine at a later date (without you knowing it) then call and say your computer has been hacked. This time, it will cost more money than the initial scam - usually hundreds or thousands of dollars more.

    c) most importantly: the remote access will guarantee your payment to them. Simply put: if you don't pay up, things will get real nasty, quick. They will either lock you out of the machine by changing your password, delete all your files, or make it so your Internet stops working. This has already happened to many of my clients.
     
  4. All of the above will repeat indefinitely until the bank accounts are drained and/or the victim wises up.

Scammed by PC Safe Network / Homesoft Solution? Here's What to Do

If you let the scammers in your machine, here's what you need to do:

  1. Power down the machine and do not use it until it can be properly cleaned. If it's powered off, the scammers cannot connect to it.

    In terms of having the machine cleaned: feel free to take it wherever you like, but please be advised that most computer places / tech savvy people have absolutely no clue where to look to undo the damage caused by the scammers. I've been dealing with this scam for over 6 years and the scammers don't make it easy to remove their remote access backdoors on purpose.

    Case in point: a client of mine took his machine to Best Buy after being scammed. He specifically asked that they remove all remote access and malware on the machine. When he got it back, I examined the machine and found they missed 5 remote access backdoors and a keylogger, which can record keystrokes and send the information back to scammers. In short: he was no better off than before he gave them the machine, plus he's out $150 - the price for bad tech support. You have been warned!

    On the other hand, I am a senior systems administrator (view my resume here) and have been dealing with this scam for over 6 years and know exactly where to look and undo the damage - contact me here. To date I have found over 25 remote access backdoors and variants used by the scammers.
     
  2. Once the machine is cleaned and remote access backdoors have been removed, I will provide you with a bulletproof plan to retrieve your funds, plus outline how to keep your money safe moving forward.

    Timing on this is critical, whether you paid by credit card or check. I have a very high success rate in getting my clients' money back, but it also depends on the circumstances.
     
  3. Don't answer the phone when the scammers call you back - and believe me, they will!

    The scammers like to do fake follow up calls to make sure you're happy with their fake tech support. This is all part of the illusion to make you feel like you've been in contact with a legitimate tech support firm. Here's the kicker: if you're not happy with their services, they will try to convince you to login to your bank account while they're watching in order to "process a refund." ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO THIS.

    In this case, they will not only get your financial information, but will also try to do a reverse refund scam. In this type of scam, they will modify your bank account details to look like they "accidentally" refunded you 10x the original amount. They are able to do this by modifying the web browser page in real time. They will then ask you wire the money back to some obscure location (a bank in Thailand) or purchase Apple iTunes gift cards to repay them. This has happened to numerous clients of mine - in fact one client lost $20,000 off this scam! There is an excellent video on Youtube by James Browning (an ethical hacker) explaining this process.
     
  4. CRITICAL: Please talk to me FIRST before you call the bank or credit card company. I have plenty of experience with this and if you tell the bank or credit card company the wrong thing, you will not get your money back at all.

    Also, critically important: if you attempt to reverse the charge prior to having the machine cleaned AND the scammers find out you did this, they will punish you remotely by locking you out of them machine, delete all your files, or make it so your Internet stops working. This can be a costly fix. Ideally you should contact me first, have me remove the remote access backdoors, then proceed with reclaiming funds - otherwise you will be in a world of unending hurt. You have been warned!

    Consultation with me is free (up to 15 minutes) on the phone - click here to email me now and leave your phone number. I promise to call you back ASAP after 1 PM EST typically as I am on the midnight shift. I can also provide evidence that I am who I say I am if you need it.

Feeling Overwhelmed? I'm Here to Help

If you're reading this right now and you've been scammed by Homesoft Solution / PC Safe Pro / PC Safepro / PC Safenetwork - don't worry - you're not alone. I have been helping clients with this scam for over 6 years and can help you recover your funds, make your machine safe to use, and advise you on any concerns you may have. If you need help, simply send me a message briefly describing the issue. Don't forget to include your phone number and I'll email or call you back as soon as possible. I can also provide evidence that I am who I say I am if you need it.

"How do I know you're Not a Scammer, too?"

I've been publishing since 2001 and have written 6 books on MS Windows, Internet and Security. I get emails all the time about this scam; some people even ask me "How do I know you're not a scammer, too?" My response to this is that you can read my articles I've published over the last few years and also review my resume. Based on that, you should be able to understand that I am in fact legitimate, compassionate, and am more than willing to lend a hand - simply contact me, briefly describing the issue and I will get back to you as soon as possible.

About the author: Dennis Faas

Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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Comments

buzzallnight's picture

Why would you pay more to fix your computer
than it would cost to get another computer????????????
Change your ISP account.
Change your bank.
Change your user name.
Copy you data to a USB drive once a month and then unplug it.
Plug it in to another computer and you are ready to go.

This is still not going to cost you more than a thousand.
If you use junk computers like I do
it won't cost you a hundred.
I got 3 computers that came loaded with office for $60.......

Dennis Faas's picture

You have to understand that most people that fall for this scam don't know any better. And yes, I agree with your sentiments that the PC is only worth so much, however - based on what I've heard from clients, the scammers say things like "the IP address isn't encrypted and it affects all devices in the home." This is completely untrue, but most people will pay up because they believe the fake protection they are receiving is not limited to a single device. This idea is similar to antivirus companies offering coverage for up to 5 PCs using a single antivirus license, for example.

buzzallnight's picture

Do not trust anybody that cannot speak perfect American,

you may feel racist about doing this but,

they hear you speak perfect American

and they think you have a lot of money and are dumb!

and they are right.....

don't even trust everybody that can speak perfect American..

Chief's picture

Dennis,
I've been subscribing to Infopackets for a while - I want to say, 1999? Hard to believe it's possible.

Glad you are hanging on.

My dad got caught by this scam a couple years ago.
Fortunately, Mom called me on another line and I had her take the phone from Dad and hang up, and then call the bank.

Remoted in and all ended well.

Thanks for the update.