I have been doing remote computer repair for Fortricks people across the United States and worldwide for nearly a decade, giving PC help to people with malware removal, virus removal, pop-ups, or a slow computer. Online computer repair or online virus removal is definitely a time saver and a money saver. Remote virus removal can certainly save a person hundreds of dollars over the cost of taking the PC to a local computer repair shop.
Although using a remote online computer technician is definitely the way to go for PC help, nevertheless, there are some pitfalls. I constantly hear horror stories from customers that had previously used an online computer repair service for their computer problems with less than desirable results. Consequently, I have put together this list of computer scams to watch out for when contracting with someone to provide remote computer help.
1. USA Based – Really? Most people don’t want to talk to someone in India with an accent so heavy that you can’t understand them. That’s why many websites will say, “The USA Based.” But are they really? I have found that many websites advertise they are in the U.S., but the person on the phone who claims they are in the U.S. still sounds like someone from India. It is not wise to deal with someone who has just lied to you. Hint: Read the text of a website carefully. You will probably find one or two grammatical errors on sites that are not really U.S.-based, and of course, you will know instantly when they answer the phone. Just say, “Sorry, wrong number.”
2. Super Low Price: There are companies out there claiming they can remove viruses, plus fix all problems, and do a PC tune-up, all for the low price of $39.99. As someone who has been doing computer service full time for 24 years, I can tell you that it takes several hours for a PC tech to do all that and do it right. How can they do this for such a cut-rate price? There are three ways: 1. Hire a bunch of young geeks that are still learning and let them practice on your computer. 2. Be based in India or the Philippines, or some foreign country where labor is cheap. 3. Do the very minimum to get by without concern for conscientious quality work. Some places do all three. The adage – “You get what you pay for.” Applicable to online computer repair. If you want good quality remote computer repair, you need to pay for it. Try to save a buck, and you can end up with a destroyed computer and/or many hours of frustration as you call back over and over to try to get the online computer help you were promised. Good Advice: If you want a good PC tech, don’t pick the cheapest bidder.
3. Certified – Really? Does the website tell you who is going to be fixing your PC? Are the name, credentials, and experience of the computer technician posted on the website? I have called some of these supposedly Microsoft-certified websites. When I asked exactly which credential was held with Microsoft, the computer service company could not answer.
4. Free Antivirus Software: The online computer service company offers free antivirus software after the repair. Be aware that they are only giving you something you can get for free yourself. Again, you get what you pay for. Free antivirus software might be better than nothing, but not by much. I remove malware every day from computers protected by free antivirus products and are very infected. Only the antivirus products that you purchase are adequate. When a remote computer repair company gives free inferior products to customers, it gives them a false sense of security that will eventually get their PC hit by a virus. A PC technician that is really looking out for your best interests will offer to sell you a quality product that works.
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5. Free Scan Scam: Here’s how it works. You call a remote computer repair service because your printer doesn’t work. The online computer service says they will connect to your machine and tell you what is wrong for free, with no obligation. Then you can decide what to do next. Free diagnosis! Sounds good, right? Lots of people fall for this. So the PC technician connects to your machine and runs a program (that they have created) that pretends to do a scan of your computer. In just 3 minutes, this software reports hundreds of registry errors, dozens of problems in the event log, dozens of viruses, trojans, and spyware. They tell you that you have got to get this fixed right away before all your files disappear and your computer won’t work at all. After the scare tactics, they give you an outrageous price of $300.00. After paying that and they supposedly fix all these errors, chances are your printer still will not work. But the real fact is – there is not a piece of software in the world that can tell you what’s wrong with a computer in a few minutes. I have over two decades of experience, and I can tell you that it takes a couple of hours of careful work to evaluate a computer properly. I have helped many customers who told me they had just experienced this scam. Fortunately, they called me, and in many cases, their computer was not in nearly as bad a shape as they had been led to believe.
6. One-Year Service Contract Scam: Pay $300 per year and call for remote PC repair as often as you want. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I’ve talked to lots of people that this has burned. There is only one way an online computer repair company can offer that and stay in business: not to fulfill their promise. The service contract is long and in fine print and is not read by most customers. I have read them. The fine print says that if you bother them too much, they can just cut you loose, provide no further computer help, and not give you any refund. Their interest is going to be in getting new customers to pay the $300, not in providing computer help for you over and over. You also have to wonder if such a computer service company will still be in business six months down the road.
7. Cold Call Scam: “Microsoft called me and said my PC is infected.” I have heard this countless times from people that call me for advice. I tell them right off the bat: “I’ll be happy to do a virus check and perform malware removal on your PC for $59.99, but know this first, what you were told is not true, and it was not Microsoft that called you. Microsoft doesn’t call anyone, and they would have no way of knowing if your PC is infected.” This scam is widespread. If you get this call, do not be alarmed and don’t be suckered into paying them to “fix” it.
8. The Big Company Scam: Many of my customers have told me that they went to a company website for their computer problems and got a number and then called and talked with HP, or Dell, or the list goes on: Microsoft, IBM, Norton, Toshiba, etc. and this company told them they had multitudes of problems, they needed malware removal and other repairs to take care of pop-ups, a slow computer, or other issues and they could fix all this for a certain price. These people didn’t realize that they were not actually speaking with the actual company they thought they were. Many online computer service companies unscrupulously advertise that they are Dell, or Microsoft, or whoever. They put up websites and Google ads designed to trick you into thinking they support HP or whoever. Once they have you thinking they are the company that made your computer, or your software, or your printer; then they have a better chance at selling you their next scam. Anytime you go to a website look at the URL and see where you are. If it says FixMyHP.com or something like that or not, HP.com, you are possibly on a scam website.