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? "

Update 20200116: I'm getting a lot of emails from folks asking for help on this. If you let scammers into your machine, you are at risk of having your bank accounts drained and/or identity theft. If you need help ASAP, send me an email and don't forget to leave your phone number. I will call you back as soon as possible (after 1 PM EST).

My response:

Live PC Expert (livepcexpert.com) is 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).

Live PC Experts = Fake Tech Support

As Elliot has noted, 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. When you speak to them on the phone, they will tie you up anywhere from 1 - 3 hours "inspecting the problem".

Here's what's really happening:

While they are connected to your machine, they are going through all your files, downloading all your financial information. During this time, they will 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.

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

Most of the time 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!). With my advice, I know the proper way around this.

Update 20200116: I'm getting a lot of emails from folks asking for help on this. If you let scammers into your machine, you are at risk of having your bank accounts drained and/or identity theft. If you need help ASAP, send me an email and don't forget to leave your phone number. I will call you back as soon as possible.

Scammed by Live PC Expert? 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, they cannot connect to it.

    In terms of having the machine cleaned: you are free to take it where 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. Trust me when I say this, because 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.

    In one case, a client of mine took his machine to Best Buy and asked specifically for them to remove any remote access backdoors and malware. I warned him against this and he agreed to have me look at it. When he got it back, I examined the machine and found that Best Buy had missed 5 remote access backdoors and a keylogger, which would have recorded his keystrokes (passwords) and sent them to the 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 close to 20 remote access backdoors and variants used by the scammers. I can also provide evidence that I am who I say I am if you need it.
     
  2. Once the machine is cleaned and remote access backdoors have been removed, I will outline a plan to retrieve your funds.

    Timing on this is critical, especially if you paid by credit card. I have a very high success rate in getting my clients' money back, but it also depends on the circumstances. For example, if you paid by check then you are going to be in a lot of hot water because now the scammers have the full name and address of your financial institution, your bank account number, address, your name, etc. That said, I know exactly what you need to do in order to keep your money safe. Note that if you paid by gift card, the money will not be recoverable.
     
  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 call to make sure you're happy with their fake technical support services. 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 let them back in the machine. DO NOT DO THIS. In this case they will likely try to do a reverse refund scam. This happened to one of my clients and she lost an eye-watering $20,000 dollars! This is NO JOKE.
     
  4. IMPORTANT: This may sound completely off the hook, but DO NOT CALL YOUR BANK / CREDIT CARD COMPANY until you have spoken with me, first. If you tell the bank / card company the wrong thing, they will tie up your money in purgatory and/or you won't get your money back at all. If you do this properly with my advice, it will dramatically increase your success rate of reclaiming your funds.

    Once again, timing is critical here especially if you have a charge pending. Consultation 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. I can also provide evidence that I am who I say I am if you need.

    Also, critically important: note that if you cancel a charge and the scammers find out, they will seek retribution (punishment) and delete all your files / lock you out of the machine / 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 punished by the scammers in one way or another.

Update 20200116: I'm getting a lot of emails from folks asking for help on this. If you let scammers into your machine, you are at risk of having your bank accounts drained and/or identity theft. If you need help ASAP, send me an email and don't forget to leave your phone number. I will call you back as soon as possible.

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!