Byte Me Article 121 – Support choice can prove a real long shot

Support choice can prove a real long shot

This week we gained another customer due to someone with a phone and an Internet connection based somewhere in the world offering remote support, but this time with a different twist.

Often we get new customers that have fallen prey to various phone scams – callers claiming that they are from Microsoft or Telstra and that they can ‘see’ that the user’s computer has a virus.  However, in this case the customer had done an upgrade on their all-in-one PC themselves from Windows 7 to Windows 8 and it had stopped a lot of things working – including Microsoft Office.  They found a support phone number for Microsoft (M.S.) from their Office installation pack and called it themselves.  The people at M.S. said that they would transfer the call through to a support technician at a company called Intecnologies.

With the help of the customer, the guy from Intecnologies gained remote access to the PC and said that he would be able to help.  He remotely showed the customer some problem areas and suggested that they pay $399 to get it fixed and to get support for the next 4 years!  The customer gave them credit card details and the technician proceeded to work remotely on the PC – for the next 12 hours!

2013-04-20 Byte Me Article 121 - Legitimate but useless support

Now – I don’t really believe that this was a scam, but there is more to the story.  The customer started to feel suspicious when after 12 hours the guy from Intecnologies asked if the PC could be left turned on overnight so that he could continue to work on it the next day.  The customer agreed but also decided to call M.S. back again – this time getting a different person (no surprise here), but in this case they said that Intecnologies had been a support company for M.S. in the past but was no longer affiliated.

The next morning when Intecnologies called, the customer told them to keep the money but not to provide any further help.  The guy on the phone was even offering that they would ‘dial in’ once a week for the next 4 years to keep things running well.  The customer brought the PC to us and it was still a mess.  There were heaps of hardware drivers missing, heaps of missing Windows updates, no anti-virus and definitely no backup system – there was however, remote access software which would allow further unassisted remote connections.

The customer had really started to panic and had even cancelled their credit card but was still concerned about their PC security.  We opted for a full reformat and taking it back to Windows 7 (in this case the customer hated Windows 8 – users are still polarised here) and also reinstalled all of the necessary drivers, useful software, an anti-virus and put a backup system in place.  Remember here that the customer initially made the phone call, so again I don’t believe that this was necessarily a scam.  The technician in this case had no idea and no scammer would spend this amount of time trying to help after getting the credit card details – however, it is not value for money either.

Almost half of all of the calls to our support centre are because the PC won’t start or can’t browse the Internet – in either of these cases a remote support technician is useless.  Software support from companies such as QuickBooks or MYOB is worthwhile because the PC will still be running.  Although you have to question the value of remote support for the PC itself when the company providing it is nowhere close to Central Queensland and in this case is very incompetent as well!

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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