Scammed by Live PC Expert? Here's What to Do

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Elliot D. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I'm reaching out to you because I've been scammed by Live PC Experts (livepcexpert.com). Back in February this year an error message appeared, stating that my computer was infected and I needed to call 855 631 4214 to fix it. The tech I spoke with had a very thick Indian accent and said my computer was infected with the Zeus Trojan.

They then offered me a 5 year support contract for $500 and said they would fix the problem; that was in February this year. I paid them by check because they said my credit card was being attacked by hackers and it wasn't safe to use. They have been calling me at least once a month ever since, wanting to get access to my computer to do check ups. In July they connected to my computer again; this time my firewall was disabled and to fix it would cost another $350.

Just this past week (August 31) they called me again and said hackers were inside my computer and the cost would be $1250 to fix it. I refused to pay the fee and demanded my money back for the previous services. At that point the tech got mad, then deleted all my files on the desktop. Now all my documents and pictures are gone. I now understand I've been scammed and need to make sure they can't get back in my computer and cause more damage. Can you PLEASE HELP ME? "

My response:

Just so you know, Live PC Expert (livepcexpert.com) are the same company as Informatico Experts, also known as "In Technologies" and many other names. They are scammers operating out of India and use multiple 1-800 numbers, different website names, but usually always bill you under their "parent" scam company, Informatico Experts. For the record, most PC support contracts are scams. Here's a page on Ripoff Report of people complaining of the scam; in case that page gets removed I've made a screen capture (view it here).

Here's how the scam operates:

As Elliot has noted, the scammers send fake virus "warning" messages on your computer through a web browser. They are able to do this using malicious advertising (also known as "malvertising"), where they pay a third party company to send bogus warning messages through websites you visit. The malicious advertisements are then embedded into your web browser (like a virus) and can re-appear even on legitimate sites. They also cold call people, claiming to be from Microsoft, stating your computer is infected and in order to fix it, they need to get connected to your machine.

Once you let them into your computer to "fix" the "problem", they install fake antivirus and fake antimalware programs. What most people don't realize however is that the scammers also install multiple remote access backdoors on the system. This means they can get back into your computer whenever they want, steal your financial information, and propagate more scams in hopes of bilking you for more money - just as what has happened to Elliot.

These remote backdoors MUST BE removed, because as Elliot has pointed out, refusing payment means they will delete your files and in some cases, lock you out of your computer. Based on my experience they usually install 3 to 5 or more backdoors on every system I have worked on.

Visually, the scam looks like this:

Don't be Fooled by the Tech Support "Contract"

Most of the time (but not always), the scammers make you sign a fake contract (in hopes of legitimizing the scam) then ask for a blank check. In doing so, they now have your name, address, your bank name, bank address, bank account number, and bank routing number. Click here to see a fake contract from Informatico Experts.

Unfortunately providing a blank check to the scammers is one of the worst things you can do, because now the scammers can hit your bank account with multiple transactions all at once using different shell company names - and your bank won't know the difference. The bank can only stop payments coming out of your account if you give them the company name or check number, which in this case is useless. Issuing a stop payment with the bank also costs money, which is also a waste of time (and money!).

Scammed by Live PC Expert? Here's What to Do

  1. If you paid with a credit card, call the card company and complain. You can tell the card company the truth - in which case it may take (most likely) a few months to get your money back. Based on my experience, if you tell the card company you don't recognize the charge they will refund your money immediately. The latter would be difficult to pull off if you've paid the scammers multiple times using your credit card (and you pay your balance monthly). Sadly, the scammers seldom use credit cards to take your money - but instead use a VOID check (described next).
     
  2. If you paid by check and gave the scammers your bank account number, you will want to cancel that payment immediately. Call your bank and tell them what is happening. Note that this method has some major limitations.

    One is that the bank can only monitor transactions from a certain company NAME in order to block the transaction. The problem here is that scammers operate with multiple "shell" company names (such as 'TechServiceXperts' or 'Live PC Experts 24/7') and the list grows - and you simply don't know what company name is going to siphon money from your account. As such, blocking transactions by company name is pretty much useless.

    There are other bullet-proof ways to block transactions to ensure your money is safe, but it is much more involved. Based on my experience this requires some explaining, so if you need help with this I am more than happy to assist - contact link here.
     
  3. Finally, hire a REAL professional (such as myself - link here) to look over your system to undo the damage caused by the scammers. Based on my experience, Informatico Experts (Live PC Experts) leave ON AVERAGE 3 to 5 hidden, open connections on your system. That means they can get back into your computer and do whatever they want, whenever they want. They could have also installed surveillance / malware on your computer to sniff passwords and financial information. A real PC expert, such as myself, can find these backdoors and threats and eliminate them. Based on my experience, antivirus and antimalware won't find these threats because they are often legitimate software programs used in nefarious ways. You have been warned!

For the record, I connected with Elliot and removed all the backdoors - there were 5 of them. I was also able to undelete some of his files that were deleted by the scammers. After manually scanning his system for threats I provided him with legitimate antivirus (free) and proper antimalware (also free). I also advised Elliot on how to get his money back and block future payments to make sure his bank account was safe.

Additional 1-on-1 Support: From Dennis

If you are reading this article right now because you've been scammed, I can help. 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.

I hope that helps!

About the author: 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

NickyK's picture

I am deeply upset to read that this has happened to someone in such a nasty, pernicious way. We all have to remain alert. We might think we know, but that is not always the case. The crims are ahead of us, waiting to trip us up.

jcgrande's picture

Thanks Dennis for what you do and the service you provide. Avid reader of infopackets.com and have referred many people to your site

Greg1956's picture

Yes, I've had a similar experience but in reverse.

I rang the support number for a very large PC company because Mum's PC showed no display (black screen) on start up. Just went black.

PC company redirects my call to Support who says its a bad video driver and I need to let him install this software and lock down my PC with this additional software.

"Please install this software from this page $129 protection for 3years" he says
"Screen is totally black, can't see anything" I reply
"You MUST install my software" he says
"I can't see anything on the screen" I reply
"If you don't install this software, I can't help you" he says

Me, losing it, "I can't see it, I won't install it" I reply.

Click, he hangs up.

Well that saved me a lot of money, although I thought it was suspect when you have to buy the original driver. Never did check the page, thought that could be suspect too.

Wasn't expecting that this company support page had been hacked.

Glad to see that you could help Elliott.

Nasty stuff, I wonder how many of the callers actually know that the job they are doing is not legitimate??

Greg

guitardogg's picture

Okay, this is 2018, and these scams having been going on for years now! On one hand, I feel people have to be living under a rock not to be aware of these scams, on the other hand I feel we, the IT community, must have failed to do an adequate job of spreading the word.

The dark side of me says send a few Seal teams over there and teach these scammers some manners!!

BE VIGILANT!