Author Topic: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com  (Read 26529 times)

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Offline Brynn

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TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« on: May 16, 2010, 10:24:09 PM »
Hi Friends,
Not sure if this is the proper place to post this, since it could fall in a few different categories of malicious activity.

A couple of months ago, I got a phone call from an organization (for lack of better word) called Techies Online.  Initially it came across as 3rd party solicitation, which as I've put my phone number on the National Do-Not-Call List, was a clear violation.  But as the conversation continued, it became so much more....

And normally, I would not have permitted any conversaton, would simply have hung up on them, and then reported to the various agencies which investigate violations of Do-Not-Call.  But the first words out of their mouth informed me that my computer had become infected with so many viruses that it would crash in just a day or 2, if I did not follow their instructions, and let them clean it up for me.  (OMG!!) So because I knew that no stranger has any idea what is on my computer, or even whether I had a computer, I knew right away it was a malicious call, and wanted so very much to be able to report them to as many agencies as I could think of.  But first I had to hear their scam.

In order to prove that my computer was horribly infected with malware, they directed my to the Event Viewer.  They told me that every entry in the Event Viewer with a yellow icon in front of it was a virus and that every entry with a red icon was software that has been corrupted by the virus.  Then in my best helpless old lady voice, I asked what should I do, lol!

Next they directed me to look up some kind of code (by now, I've forgotten what it was).  Then to a website through which I should enter that code so that they could view the files on my computer.  Again, I've forgotten the name of that website.  I don't think it was a site by which they could take control of my computer, although it might have been.  Anyway, at that point, I told them the site wasn't working, that I was clicking what they told me to, but nothing was happening.  Also, I realized that it was much worse than a solicitation call and wanted a few minutes to try and figure out if there might be some agency to which I could report them, other than Do-Not-Call.  So I said I needed a bathroom break and called my ISP (who are local and offer REAL tech support, not scripts).  Unfortunately, I don't think such an agency even exists!  Too bad.

When they called me back, I said I didn't have time to do whatever they wanted me to do, and asked them to jump to their bottom line.  He said he wanted me to buy a service from them, which would give them access to my computer at all times, so that they could monitor my computer, clean out the viruses and repair the software that the viruses has corrupted.  I thanked him for the info, and said I would think it over.  I was about to ask for their phone number when he gave me the URL to their website.  Jackpot!  Now having more info about them than I could have hoped for, I asked them never to call me again.

Next, I reported them to the Federal Trade Commission :winchesty73:, the National Consumer League Fraud Center :winchesty73:, as well as Do-Not-Call, which is Federal Communications Commission :winchesty73: .  So in the end, it WAS a 3rd party solicitation, because they wanted me to buy their "service".  But it also was giving them access to install who knows what all sort of virus, trojans, spyware, etc.  And I thought that was it.

But no, it gets even better!  Even though I had asked them not to call me again, they called me again the next day.  Another CLEAR violation of Do-Not-Call, because me just asking them not to call...sort of imposes the DNC rules, even if my number wasn't on the list (which it is).  This time I told them clearly that I was on the DNC List and that they were breaking the law by calling me.  I reminded him that I had the link to the website, and that once I made a decision about buying the service, I would proceed to purchase it online.  At that point, he became insistent that I must not do that by myself, that I absolutely required their help to do it.  He repeated that 3 or 4 times, and I finally realized that perhaps worse than viruses and spyware, he probably intended to use my computer as a distributions system for who knows, all manner of malware and/or spam email!  (Yeah, I know there's a word or term for that, but I can't think of it.)

I never felt personally threatened by this experience, thanks to the awesome education I've received from LzD on computer security.  But it just burns me that there are so many people who could be, and probably have been duped by this scam.  These organizations I've mentioned here, mostly only accepted my reports because the threats came by telephone.  And I think it's a travesty of justice that there are no laws or regulations, in this country (USA) or any country (to my knowledge), to protect citizens from computer- and internet-related fraud, scams and hoaxes.  I do know that there are several websites dedicated to educating the public about such, but none to my knowledge offer enforcement, because there are no laws or regulations to enforce.

What can be done about this?  What can we do to encourage governments to legislate on computer- and internet-related abuse?  How bad does it have to get before the public outcry is loud enough and strong enough to force some serious action?  When does it become a crime for someone or organization to access my computer without my permission?  I can see where spam email can be considered equivalent to 3rd class advertisement in the US or "snail" mail.  I think both should be illegal, but understand how our system came to be the status quo.  But scams that gain access to private citizens' systems are just wrong!

I'm thinking I'll write a slightly different version of this (leaving out LzD references), and send it to my local newspaper as an editorial or something.  But honestly, it will do very little towards actually solving the problem.  I'm looking for something I could do that might have more clout!  I'm hoping someone here can offer me some ideas, or at least referrals to any organizations which might already exist.  Because that scam is SO wrong, and it makes me feel helpless as far as not just stopping this techisonline organization, but preventing others.

Thanks for listening :D
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Corrine

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2010, 10:41:14 PM »
Hi, Brynn.

Excellent report!  :rose:

Also very smart move to report them.  The site is listed in WOT as a phishing site and I'm going to add a link to your excellent report as further substantiation.   http://www.mywot.com/en/scorecard/techisonline.com

There has been a scam similar to this going on in the U.K. for quite some time.  In that situation, the caller says that they are from Microsoft (Phone Call From Someone claiming I have a Virus).



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Offline jamek

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2010, 01:22:41 AM »
I live in Victoria, Australia and have just had a call from the same group. When I asked for a phone number i was given a Queensland number. With the above information, I am not intending to ring back.
Thank you for the info.

Offline Eric the Red

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2010, 09:29:31 AM »
Any resident of the U.K. who receives this sort of fraud (whereby an offer is made to assist a computer user on payment of a fee) should make contact with the National Fraud Authority, details are on their website at:

http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/

The NFA is committed to tracking down and eliminating these criminals but they need all the help that they can get to identify the scams, if they don't know about it they can't act.
"The time to start running is around about the "e" in "Hey, you!" "

The information I provide is provided "AS IS" without warranty, and confers no rights.

Offline penm

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #4 on: July 13, 2010, 07:32:16 AM »
Hi,
I also had a phone call from techies online,similar to what you describe.  I live in Victoria australia as does one of your other replies.  They too told me they were calling from Brisbane Australia but made it sound like they were contacting people on behalf of Microsoft because of viruses contacted through internet use. That was after I asked how they got my number and why where they calling me. After 50 mins on the phone and going to the event viewer and prefetch list, I hung up. I was told a similar story to the one they gave you,  but still had not got to their bottom line.  Fortunately my browser would not go to the website they gave me - and I was not connected for the earlier part of the converstaion.  They told me to type the adress in Google which i did but clicked search and saw your post.  After reading it i told them that this was a waste of time and I was going to hang up.  I thought that it was bogus due to the amount of time they were taking and some of their c omments on what I was seeing in my computer did not sound right.  Thank you so much for your post - it confirmed my strong suspicion that I had a bogus call and that going to their website would do my computer harm rather than good. I joined the forum to say thanks for taking the time to make a post about this scam. So folks hang up on calls from Techies Online (with Indian or pakistan accents here in Aus) and use your time for something useful.

Offline Corrine

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2010, 11:33:49 AM »
G'Day, penm.  Welcome to LandzDown Forum.

Thank you for stopping by to let us know about your experience penm.  I am glad you recognized the call as bogus.  I am hopeful that others also recognize such calls as scams.


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Offline NanaKJP

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2010, 08:10:13 PM »
Hi friends - I just found this site and registered after receiving a call from the same people.  I am in USA, but caller had same accent as described.  He (Melvin) gave me the same speel as those described here.  I've been a computer user for many years and have learned enough to not let others have access to my computer.  When I told him this he told me he would not have access.  I guess even over the phone I look stupid.  I told him to cut to the bottom line and tell me what he was selling.  He said he was selling nothing.  He was only trying to help me.  I got his company name, his name and the fact that if I was using Windows, my computer was a grave risk.  I asked him if he was connected with Windows and he told me he was a branch of Microsoft, or some such thing.  He also told me he was located in New York.  I asked him why his phone number was from another state.  It was 206-397-1042.  Which I believe is a NOT a NY area code.  He started his speech again.  He kept saying, "You do not understand" and then would repeat everything.  I finially told him that I understood perfectly, but he apparently had a problem understanding what I was saying, because I had repeatedly told him I would not open my browser.  I explained my knowledge of computers and viruses.  Finally he got tired of me telling him that he had to listen to me first.  He said good-bye and hung up.

Offline GR@PH;<'S

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2010, 08:36:25 PM »
NanaKJP,
Glad you did not listen to him.
We are hopeful that others also recognize such calls.
If you are in any doult please feel free to start a topic posting logs from our Posting Instructions
that way if needed help is not far away.

GR@PH;<'S   :Hammys pint:
press Enter then have a Brandy then if the problem is still there have another Brandy
Q: does it work
A: It does seem to for a few hours at least.

Offline Corrine

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #8 on: August 01, 2010, 04:23:42 PM »
Quote
A police crackdown has led to the closure of several websites linked to a scam offering unnecessary PC ‘support’.

The Metropolitan police force’s Police Central e-crime Unit (PCeCU) closed 19 websites linked to the scam in April. This action was taken because of the belief that offences were being carried out under the Fraud Act.

Despite this action, the fraudsters continue to plague consumers. Emails from readers show many other sites offering dubious computer support are still active, or being created. The evidence that we have gained clearly shows fraudulent activity.

Victims of the scam receive a cold call from India. The callers say they have been alerted to the fact that the person’s PC has been infected with malicious software. For more details of how the scam works, see the story on page 2 of this article.

Our latest investigation into this ongoing scam started when a member of our team received such a call at home from a company calling itself Click2support, which claimed to be a department of Microsoft. On subsequent calls that we recorded, our undercover reporter paid £89 for security software from this company, which Click2support said was worth £300.

Complete story:  Police close in on PC support fraudsters

Anyone in the U.K. who receives this type of call needs to report the information to http://www.actionfraud.org.uk/


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Offline Brynn

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2010, 07:09:13 AM »
Oh wow!  I guess it's been a couple of months since I was here.  But just wanted to say "You're welcome"!  I'm glad my posting helped you.

And I'm REALLY glad to read that at least some countries act on this type of thing.  Thanks for that link Corrine :D
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Brynn

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2010, 08:17:24 AM »
Sorry for the 2nd post -- can't edit after a few minutes.

I posted my original story in another forum a month or so after posting this.  There someone recently reported that the techisonline domain was about to expire.  So I decided to browse to the site to see if it was still there.  I don't know, maybe they renewed it, but not only is it still there, there are apparent advertisements for Microsoft, Walmart, Norton, McAfee and Tiger Direct (I've never heard of this last one).  Either they were not there when I first visited their site, or I didn't notice them.

I have been thinking, off and on, about writing an article about this experience and trying to get it published in my local newspaper.  I never have gotten around to it.  But I'm guessing that none of the above listed corporations have paid this TechIsOnline group for advertising, and I think I will just have to write them, and let them know about my experience, and that they are using their names and logos, apparently as advertising.

My problem is not knowing how to learn the name and address of the proper person to whom to address such a letter.  I know that I will have a better chance being heard if I address it to a specific person, rather than just a department or office.  I just don't know how to go about finding out whom is the appropriate person.  I remember from college that there is some sort of business directory that could be found in libraries (back in those days, late 1970's) where one could look up such info.  But these days, I'm not sure how that would work.

So I'm hoping someone here can give me some tips about this.  Writing the letter, I've got that down.  But finding the right person to whom to address it, that's the problem.  Thanks for any comments  :D
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." - Abraham Lincoln

Offline Corrine

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2010, 01:00:04 PM »
Hi, Brynn.

If your local newspaper has an online edition, there may be a "News Department Contact Information" page.  I checked my local newspaper online and that page contains the department, contact name, telephone number and e-mail address.  If there is only the printed version, similar information should be located just inside the front page with address, subscription information, etc.


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Offline Basil

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2010, 03:45:46 PM »
Living in the UK, I am registered with the Telephone Preference Service.

It is a free service and once you register your telephone number with them, "Sales & Marketing" calls stop.  It is illegal for any UK "company" to ignore this opt out service.

As far as scam calls are concerned, I have "caller display" on my phone, so that I know who is calling before I answer the phone. I have also arranged for any incoming calls from "withheld" numbers to be blocked.  Scamers/malicious callers,  based in the UK, withhold their telephone number, as they don't want to be easily traced. Any call, made from any phone with a "withheld" number, will just not get through to my phone.

International calls made by scamers, were a problem. I used to get the odd such call (usually from India or Pakistan) and my phone display is unable to give any detail on such calls. It will only state "International". As I also get a few calls from friends/relatives living abroad, I had no option but to answer these calls.
During the first 2 or 3 seconds of the call, however, I knew if the call was from a friend/relative or a potential scamer. Especially if the caller had an Indian or Pakistani accent.
My response, in such a case, would be swift and decisive... :smash:
I just responded in an extremely rude and vulgar way and then put the phone down... :winchesty73: (Sorry, my response can not be printed!)

People can criticize me for this (my wife does), but my method works. I have not received any such call for over a year. I suppose, even scum do not like verbal abuse/suggestions about their parenthood.... :wasntme:
I am just amazed that people will get into any sort of conversation with a scamer.






Offline Brynn

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2010, 04:13:15 AM »
Thanks Corrine  :D
But it's not the newspaper contact info I'm asking about.  That's actually printed in the paper, and as you said, on their website as well.

I'm trying to figure out how to find the right person at MS, Walmart, Norton and McAfee.  By sending them this letter, I want to notify them that this disreputable business is using their name, logo, and in some cases, link to website, probably without their permission.  As I said, I seriously doubt these global businesses have purchased advertising space from techisonline!

Thanks Basil  :D
Yes, the National Do-Not-Call List (in the USA) that I referred to in my original message sounds like the same kind of thing as your Telephone Preference Service.  As I wrote, I did report the offense to 3 different (but related) agencies.  They notified me that they were opening an investigation, but I have not heard anything else from them.

Also, I want to report some other info that I've discovered about this techisonline, via Google.
First I found this website:  419Legal - Internet Fraud and Online Scam Forum.  And associated with that, Fraud and Scam News.  I have not yet had a chance to look into the reputation of this organization, but at first glance, appears to be "not so much".  Of the 3 articles I read, all had serious grammatical errors.  But it looks to have an extensive database of articles, and at least they're getting the word out there :thumbsup:

And on that website, an article naming techisonline:  "The Truth Behind Fraud Call Centers Technical Support Scams", July 21, 2010.
Quote
Certainly if you receive call from comantra, supportonclick, thenerdsupport, securesecurityinfotech, thesupportonline, go4isecure, thesparksupport, winpctech, compstep, ordinateurassist, advpccare, techisonline, techonsupport, fixonclick, Log4Rescue and that too offering tech support then it means you are having call chat with online scammers who are right there to defraud you.

And from the same site:  "Microsoft Plans Legal Action Against Fraud Companies and Fake Callers", July 14, 2010.  It does not mention techisonline specifically though.
Quote
Therefore pertaining to this security giant has confirmed to terminate it’s relationship with certain partners , who were found misleading the people and considering legal action against companies.

In addition, another somewhat obscure website Pi55ed Consumer, which writes reviews, accepts and publishes complaints, and advocates good practices to avoid fraud, scams, etc., and as well has a forum.  They have received 2 complaints about techisonline, one in May, and one in September, 2010, here:  http://techis-online.pissedconsumer.com/.  However one of them was not a "cold call", but they actually contacted techisonline on purpose.

So anyway, just wanted to share :D
"To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men." - Abraham Lincoln

Offline bradickson

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Re: TechIsOnline, Techies Online, www.techisonline.com
« Reply #14 on: June 28, 2011, 03:10:52 AM »
Hi I live in Sydney, Australia and just got a call from one of these scams.

The guy had an Indian accent and I could barely understand him as he tried to patronize and condescend me into forking out $109 for a 'software warranty renewal'. Told me I had viruses. Directed me to the Event viewer.

I told him to call back tomorrow, does anyone know of any Australia authorities to report them to?

Cheers.