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I hope you enjoy reading my posts, and please leave me a comment. I always enjoy reading them, and will try to visit you in return.

You are welcome to copy any of my designs, as long as you do not take credit for them yourself. I am very happy for you to sell them. If I have used anyone else's design, I always try to give credit where it is due. If I have missed anything, please let me know and I will put things right.

This is intended to be mainly about my crafting stories, as a personal record of what I do. However, I interpret crafting quite widely, not just paper crafting but other things too. I have a butterfly mind and like to change from one thing to another depending on what I feel like on a given day - knitting, crochet, cross-stitch, cards, baking and several others.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Beware of Unscrupulous scammers

This is not one of those mass produced scare mongering warnings.  Some of you may have come across it already, so apologies if you have heard this before. 

Friends of ours were having trouble with their emails and in continued "discussion" with Virgin on the subject.  Virgin could not fix it. 

The next phone call was from a "company" called Comantra.  The person talking was a foreigner, very quietly spoken, and led our friends to believe that he had been put onto them to sort out  their problems.  He then asked them to do a few things on the computer, and then said that they were not registered with Microsoft, and it would cost them somewhere around £80 to sort that out, then they would have no more trouble.

At this point they realised that this company was nothing to do with the problems they actually had and refused to pay anything.  The Comantra man got rather tetchy and hung up.

I have done quite a bit of research on the internet and found that this company has a website and claims to be a partner of Microsoft.  However, this claim is totally false, and there are loads of horror stories about how people have been conned into paying this money and then even more to pay for continued "support" from them.  Apparently once you have paid this money there is no redress, as no actual crime has been committed.  The office of Comantra is apparently in India.

If you have any phone call from anyone claiming that you have a fault on your computer or you have a virus, this is a scam.  All you need to say is that you record all calls for your protection and for the caller's protection.  Ask them how they know this, have they been hacking into your computer.  Ask for their details and suggest that you will check them with the police.  The chances are that by this time they will have hung up anyway.

Microsoft NEVER cold call people.  If you want help from them, it takes a lot of time and endless patience to find what you want from their website.

Check this out for yourself on the internet, and if you agree and find that what I have said is true, then pass it on to your friends and relatives in some way.  Microsoft have done some research and found that out of 7000 people, 1000 will have come across this scam, and out of that 1000, there will be over 200 who will have fallen for it and paid over money to these scammers.

We did sort out our friends' email problems in 5 minutes, and we ran all the protection software to ensure that no hacking had taken place.

Our virus software of choice is Eset Smart Security, which has been proved to be the best in catching new viruses and old.  In addition, we run Spybot Search and Destroy (free to download, update and use), and Malwarebytes, which picks up different problems and clears them.  These 3 programs seem to help avoid the dreaded "blue screen of death".

Another free but very useful program to run is CCleaner, which, if you run it every day, keeps your computer free from the rubbish temporary files and cookies etc that you pick up every day without realising it.  Getting rid of those helps to speed up your computer.

All this has got in the way of crafting this week, but maybe next week will be better, although we do have one more computer to sort out for a friend.

Take care and keep yourselves and your computers safe,  and once you have checked things out for yourselves, then please pass it on to others.  If we all communicate, we may cut down the numbers of those who are conned each year, taking away our valuable crafting money.


Di said...

Sheesh! This really struck a chord Maggie. Both Len and I were IT security folk when we were working - thankfully we also use SpyBot, CCleaner and a good AV scanner as a matter of course. As you've said, new Trojans, viruses and whathaveyou are coming along all the time. It makes you wonder what next though. This week Len got a very official email from HMRC telling him he had a rebate due - the link took you to such a professional 'copy site' it was amazing. A scam of course but I wonder how many people they've caught out! Thanks for this really good and informative post - it certainly pays to be on your guard!!! Di xx

The Crafty Elf said...

Good to know!

Elizabeth said...

Hi Maggie, many thanks for all this information - up to now not had any calls from this company, I'm glad to say. I know just how ingeneous and devious these scammers can be and always amazed that they don't use their knowledge and inventiveness to make a legitimate living! I've, got some good security already but I've noted the security recommendations and will certainly be trying out the CCleaner asap, and when my husband finally gets round to buying a new laptop for himself will pass on these recommendations to him. Thanks again, Elizabeth x

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Here in Oz, too Maggie just yesterday had another Indian caller telling me I had computer problems. I seem to get them once every few months or so and now just hang up - we have been warned in our local paper about it, that is how prevalent they are! thanks for post though good to have you back! :D Shaz in Oz.xx