Scammed by PC / Web Network Experts? Here's What to Do

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Sally S. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

Last week I was using the web browser and suddenly I received an alert that my PC needed to be updated, and told me to call 855-558-9222 to fix the problem. I called the number and spoke to someone with an Indian accent. They connected to my PC and installed a firewall and some other programs. They told me it would cost $199 to fix it, or I could pay $350 as an 'upgrade' for a tech support contract (which I did). I am still receiving pop up advertisements on my machine and it appears that I am no better off than when I started. I have tried to get in contact with the company to have them look at my machine again, but they will not return my calls. After reading your article about Live PC Experts and Informatico Experts, I believe I have been scammed and am worried that they still have access to my machine. The name of the company is PC Network Experts (pcnetworkexperts.com). Can you please help? [Note: later research revealed that PC Network Experts has a fake duplicate site called Web Network Experts (webnetworkexperts.com) with different phone number, 855-400-0338 though both sites look identical - this will be addressed further down]. "

My response:

I asked Sally if she would like me to connect with her using my remote desktop support service in order to investigate the issue, and she agreed.

Below I will discuss my findings.

PC Network Experts and Web Network Experts = Fake Tech Support

First and foremost, if you ever receive a notification that there is something "wrong" with your PC and to call a 1-800 number to "fix" the "problem", it is undoubtedly a scam.

Second, if you signed a fake contract - don't worry, it's fake - just ignore that fact and keep on reading!

This scam in particular is no different than the ones being perpetrated by "Informatico Experts", which I have mentioned many times previously. Informatico Experts also go by the name "Live PC Experts" (livepcexpert.com). They have other aliases and fake company names, and "PC Network Experts" (and now "Web Network Experts") are just another fake company being operated by the same scammers.

Here's why -

When I looked up the domain www.pcnetworkexperts.com via whois, it shows that the website is owned by someone (anonymously) in New Delhi, India which is in the exact same area that the domain LivePCExperts.com is registered from. If you also look at the whois information for Live PC Experts, it says the parent organization is "iN Technologies Pvt Ltd", which is the same name being used for "Informatico Experts". Both domains pcnetworkexperts.com and livepcexpert.com are also registered through GoDaddy.

The website domain pcnetworkexperts.com was registered on September 10, 2018, which means this website is only 3 months old at the time of writing this article.

After connecting to Sally's computer and examining the fake firewall and other programs they installed on her machine, it consistent with the other fake security programs being installed by Informatico Experts and Live PC Experts (which are the same company). The amount of money for the fake tech support contract is also identical to Informatico Experts.

Based on all of this, I believe that PC Network Experts is likely another shell company of Informatico Experts (also known as Live PC Experts).

Update 20190204: The scammers are also operating under "Web Network Experts" (webnetworkexperts.com) with the exact same website template / format as pcnetworkexperts.com. A whois lookup reveals that both sites were registered under the same "owner" ("Sumit Singh"). What's interesting is that PC Network Experts and Web Network Experts have different 1-800 numbers, specifically PC Network Experts is 855-558-9222 and Web Network Experts is 855-400-0338. You have to ask yourself - if this was a legitimate company why would they be operating under different website / company names and have different 1-800 phone numbers? It answer is simple - it's a scam.

For the record, here's a video showing how the scam operates:

Scammed by PC Network Experts / Web Network Experts? Here's What to Do

Now that we know this is a scam, here's what you need to do:

  1. First, cancel the payment you made to the scammers. Usually they won't transfer the money for a few days because they are busy scamming hundreds of other people daily. Most of the time they will ask for your bank account information; if not, a bank card, or even a credit card. If you gave your bank account information (void check), you are in serious hot water because they can hit your bank account multiple times using multiple, fake shell company names.

    In either case, call your bank immediately and tell them what is going on and try to cancel the payment. If you paid by check this is extremely problematic because the scammers now have your name, address, bank name, bank address, bank account number, etc - which means they can take money out whenever they want under another company name.

    There are other bullet-proof ways to block transactions to ensure your money is safe, but it is considerably 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.

    Note that if you paid by gift card (iTunes, Amazon, etc) then you have little to no recourse, as those methods of payment are irreversible once you've given them the PIN number.
     
  2. Second, don't answer the phone when the scammers call you back - and believe me, they will - whether it's days, weeks, or months later. Each time, they will tell you something else is "wrong" with your machine and try to sell you more fake tech support not covered by your initial fake contract. Oftentimes the price for "fixing" the "other issues" are considerably more than the first payment. If the repeated calls bother you, block the number. If that doesn't work, consider changing your phone number.
     
  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, the scammers will leave on average 3 to 5 hidden backdoors (open connections) on your system. That means they can get back into your computer and do whatever they want, whenever they want.

    Based on my experience, the scammers will either lock you out of your machine (changing your password), delete all your files remotely, or install ransomware on your machine once they find out that you either didn't make the payment or canceled the payment - so if you are not sure what to do, please contact me first or you will be in a world of hurt!

    It's also worth mentioning that just last week, one of my clients had $18,000 stolen from his account only DAYS after having Informatico Experts in his machine. What's very interesting about this case is that he swears he did not give them the account number that the money was taken from. Therefore I suspect the scammers installed a keylogger or password sniffer once they connected to his machine, then stole his financial information afterward.

    A real PC expert, such as myself, can find these backdoors and threats and eliminate them. Once again - 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 have helped countless people with this scam and know exactly where to look to eliminate these threats.

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.

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