Friday, April 29, 2016

Almost Scammed !!

It was close but I caught myself in time ... plus I was not going to pay them anything online and that is where the scam comes in from what I have read on the internet.

Sadie and Stella were not impressed with what they heard over the speaker phone.

Client Care Experts

It all started this morning as I was drinking coffee and reading my normal websites. I use Google Chrome as a browser and had 4 tabs open. As I clicked to close my Twitter site on one tab I have a pop up screen telling me to call such and such number immediately. My computer may have been compromised. It had other official file name errors.

No big deal because I rarely get these and I never call or click their link. This morning when I tried to close Google Chrome and all the other tabs ... I couldn't. I tried clicking other open programs on my dock and they would not close.

Was that screen legit? Was it serious? Based on what it was said I was afraid to just shut down my system ... so I called their toll free number. Right off the bat when I hear other people in the background, I picture a huge room of cubicles and everyone talking loud enough to be picked up in the background of other employees.

I was suspicious but thought I'd play along.

He gave me his name and ID number as if that was going to make a difference ... he didn't know I was writing down notes as we talked. He asked that I read the error message back to him. He told me my computer might be in danger and asked what I had and WHEN did I buy my computer.

I gave him that information.

Then the sales pitch starts ... my computer is old, over 5 years old and the firewall protection "on these older computers" do not do enough to protect us in today's world of malware, spyware etc ... blah blah blah. I am thinking at the time isn't that what all of those Operating Systems updates are for?

Then he wanted to download his Webroot System Analyzer onto my computer so he could check it out for any possible damage, any corruptions and "to see what condition your computer is in".

Sorry but that's not going to happen. You want me to give you control of my computer without knowing you or your system? Right ... let me get right on that.

When that didn't happen he started talking to me about needing "real time protection software". Protecting me against viruses, malware etc 24 hours per day 7 days a week. But first .... I needed to take my iMac in to either an Apple Store, Office Depot or Best Buy and let their "certified technicians" TUNE UP my 5-1/2 year old computer ... that btw has worked perfect the whole time, except for my own computer error on installing an encryption program.

He even suggested I do this 2-3 times per year and they would charge me $300 - $350 per tuneup. I have been in computer since 1993(?) and I have never heard anything like that. When I had a PC I use to reformat my hard-drive and install my back up files to get rid of any temp files or junk that over the years would slow your computer down. I don't need to do that with an Apple computer because that takes place in the background automatically.

So I have the bait .... I need a computer tune up at $350 and "can you take it into Best Buy today?" I instantly thought of my previous experience with those "certified technicians" in November 2014 .. you can read about that circus here.

So the sales pitch starts leaning toward "we can do that today" for .... I STOPPED HIM AND ASKED ... "Isn't this really a sales call and not really computer help"?

Oh no ... no way ... THEN PURE LUCK IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN ....

I had not noticed my LG flip phone's battery was dying. I must not have heard or paid attention the warning beeps ... MY PHONE DIED!!!

Perfect .... LOL

I did a "force quit" on all the open programs, shut down my iMac and then went to my laptop to do some searching on Client Care Experts. It was what I expected ... great professional looking website, legit computer service, NOT associated with Microsoft, a SCAM ....

The story here was playing out exactly the way other people described in their complaints about the company.

The eventual choice if my phone had not died would have been:

  • Take computer in for tune up $350 and 5-6 days to complete
  • Or let him tune up my computer for $250 right here in 4-6 hours
I immediately changed my password on both of my computers. I wanted to make sure just in case they had any kind of access to my computer with that pop-up screen that did NOT have any links to click, just a phone number to call. 

So the day starts off exciting. The sun is bright and I just heard Stella's nose nudge the door handle to the door to go outside.

Exciting times here in 'the tropics' of Southern Indiana.


  1. I have received pop-ups like that quite a few times, but it has always been on my Dell desktop with Windows XP and no protection. I don’t do anything with this computer except download photos to my external hard drive and surf the web and comment on blogs once in a while. If I have several windows open, when a pop-up like that appears, the same thing happens and there is no response to anything I do, so I just shut it down, and so far, everything seems normal when I restart.

    Luckily I have my iPad for online ordering and monthly payments because I am too stubborn to give up my Windows XP!

    1. That's good to know because I've never ran anti-virus protection on either of my Macs. I still have my XP Pro on a PC sitting wrapped in a closet. In fact I still have my computer that was running Win98, wrapped and in a closet. LOL

      I don't know if I would use an iPad to order and make monthly payments but I guess that is like using Apple Pay on a phone, as far as security goes.

  2. Good for you for being so vigilant.

    1. I wasn't as good as I thought I was because I called them. Not sure what it was but it struck me that it was legit and needed a call. As soon as I heard people in the background I knew then it was BS.

  3. I recently listened to a podcast about “ransomeware” that scared me enough to actually type up some notes and start practicing better cyber hygiene. The ransomeware blocks access to your computer system until you wire money somewhere usually via bitcoin. A school district in the US was hit and they paid up because they couldn’t get around it, but luckily had a good server back up system for restoring what they could. A mom with kids got hit and she also paid up (I think it was like $1,200). She said she was used to backing up on an external hard drive, BUT kept it plugged into her main computer instead of disconnecting after back ups.

    I have an “old” laptop (about 6 years) running Windows 7 having issues with downloading updates. So, I’m now spending time just cleaning up old files (which is taking a long time) in order to do a restore back to factory just to get rid of all the old junk clogging this thing up. I was considering going to a Mac eventually (getting kind of tired of Windows and their constant updates and issues), but I read that Apple recently admitted that the average lifespan of their products is like 3-5 years (phones and computers). I can’t imagine buying an iPhone that often or even a computer considering the cost.

    I only picked up a really bad computer virus once. I was on a site (Gutenberg of all things!) and it just jumped out at me and locked up my screen (everything kind of went dark but I could see the files behind the shading). I just started playing around with options and got the files back eventually, but the program folders listed under the “Start” button were all emptied out. In retrospect, I don’t think it was the site so much, but I might have accidently clicked on something weird ----- with small screens sometimes its kind of hard to avoid. I HAD virus protection, but it let the virus in anyway kind of like a golden retriever who like everyone....(lol)

    I make a few financial transactions via the laptop, but still a little timid to do too much financial stuff with the mobile apps on the tablet or phone. I guess we’re all in the “cloud” anyway whether we like it or not. I like to be flexible but I wonder about some of these data aggregation sites like and Personal Capital. Not sure if the bank would refund your hard earned cash if an aggregator somehow got hacked.

  4. I've had the same thing on my MacBook using Chrome. I do just like you did and do a force quit and restart Chrome. Don't know how these terds get into the computer with that message, but definitely not going to call them.

    1. I was reading today on the MacRumors forum if you restart your browser while holding the shift key down, the browser will clear any adware when it restarts. I even use Adblock on all my browsers, plus each browser is blocking pop ups. Still they got in.

  5. Perfect timing for a dead phone battery! With being on a Mac and the attention to cyber security, I’m surprised that pop up got through. I recently heard a podcast about “ransomeware” that scared me enough into taking notes and change my ways regarding cyber hygiene (I’ve been pretty lax). The ransomeware criminals lock up your computer (usually by clicking some link) and demand a payment (through Bitcoin) to unlock. If they don’t get payment within a certain amount of time, they wipe files from your system. A school district in the US got hit, and they paid up (about $10K) because they couldn’t get around it. A mom said she got hit and paid the ransom (about $1,200 as I recall). She said she WAS backing up to an external hard drive, BUT unfortunately always kept it connected to her computer.

    1. Ive read about that ransomware. Since my external is always plugged using the Mac Time Machine for hourly backups I guess my laptop will be my real backup ... yet that doesn't have all the photos I have or a lot of my files. I thought it was pretty strange to that the pop up showed up since I have about every way possible to prevent them. For some reason this afternoon I got your first comment on this post via email like all of them but it wasn't on the blog.

    2. That probably was not a pop up as you think of pop ups and what ADP takes care of. What you were seeing was most likely a Javascript modal which ADP can not touch.

      NoScript plugin is free for Firefox and Chrome or BehindTheOverlay. I had a problem that I was able to fix with Grease Monkey but then quit opening the web page and took GM down.

      How they got in was most likely from one of the web pages that you visited.

    3. Ed, thanks for the plug in. I wonder why my plugin called FlashControl would not stop any Javacript. That is above my paygrade and you understand that part of computer a lot better than I do. I will install that plug in on both browsers.

      I am always careful what websites I click. In this situation I had 4 tabs open, this blog, my Facebook, my Twitter and HuffingtonPost websites. While reading twitter I clicked a link to see the football player that lost millions in the NBA draft with an internet photo of him smoking a bong through a gas mask.

      Other than that one link, I did not click on any other link in those other 3 websites that were open.

  6. That's weird...I didn't see the first post on the blog either and just assumed I hit "preview" and not "publish" so I sent another one.

    1. I get an email whenever someone comments on the blog plus what their comment was. At 2:16pm eastern time I received an email and your long comment ... weird