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A salutary tale

Highway has recently assisted a member who was the victim of a clever scam.  Whilst surfing, a message appeared on the screen saying that the computer was infected.  This was accompanied by a voice relating a similar warning to the message.  What made it seem to our member that it could be genuine was that the number being displayed was a freephone (0800) number.

Our member telephoned the number, and, over the next couple of hours, allowed the computer to be remotely accessed by the scammer who, at the conclusion of the 'work done to disinfect the computer', took a credit card payment for almost £200.

When our member realised that they had been conned they contacted their bank, who asked for independent verification that this was a scam.  This is when we became involved.  Steve checked the laptop and there was software installed that simply should not have been there and concluded that the only way to ensure no additional hidden malware had been planted during the remote session was to completely wipe the system and reinstall everything from scratch.

However, this still left our member nearly £200 out of pocket.  To respond to the bank's request for verification that it was a scam, I did some research into the freephone number and the company(ies) behind it.  A transcript of the letter is shown below which I sent to the bank that resulted in a full refund from them to their customer, our member.

I am writing to you on behalf of XXXXXXXX, who contacted Training Highway to ask advice about what was believed to be a scam to extort money when a particular website was visited.  I understand that they have paid using their credit card nearly £200.00 to an organisation that I have made enquiries about and tried to send messages on their behalf.

I have contacted the company concerned (Indyserve/PCSupremo.com) without reply (sent web form and e-mail both without response), but have discovered a relationship with another ‘company’ trading as ‘7webmatrix’.  Both companies’ websites have the same contact forms and similar information.

According to Companies House the Name & Registered Office of INDYSERVE TECHNOLOGIES LTD is c/o SUITE 118, EMPIRE HOUSE, 1 EMPIRE WAY, WEMBLEY, MIDDLESEX, HA9 0EW

Company No. 09159351 and Date of Incorporation was 04/08/2014. 

The Last Accounts Made Up To was 31/08/2015 and the company was DORMANT.

The 7webmatrix ‘company’ on their website also state that it “is an Indyserve Technologies Ltd division which was incorporated under the companies Act 2006 as a Private Ltd Company in United Kingdom”.  No company registration number is shown on this website.

I can categorically state that this ‘company’ – whoever they are – had installed software on XXXXXXX’s computer that bears no relation to what the scam message and subsequent telephone calls that were made (to an 0800 number) to ‘resolve a problem’ that never existed in the first place.

My organisation has completely wiped the hard drive of the computer, as it is impossible to know what hidden malware had been installed remotely by ‘Indyserve’.

Training Highway is a not-for-profit organisation, established in 2001, that helps (generally) older, less experienced people with technology.  It is company limited by guarantee registered in England no. 04770018.

Please remember that all Highway members have to do when something like this occurs is put the phone down / switch off the computer and  contact us immediately. Never allow anyone (apart from Highway) to access your computer remotely.

Phil on 16/4/16
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