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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

OMG Oh My Google!

            My business associate received a new computer from Santa. He has been over-the-moon happy with updating all his personal correspondence, work related material, and social networking. About the time he had everything filled in and loaded, he was asked to update Explorer to version 11.1. So he clicked the button. Dum dum Dum!
            He called me hysterical. “I’m not a geek but I know about computers… He said to log in. I did. Hacked. I was hacked.”
            “Who’s he?”
            After a circular conversation of about five minutes my friend explained. He loaded the new Explorer but when he went to print his Brother Printer did not respond. A window flashed that requested the user contact Brother. He went to Google and typed in Brother Printer Support. He clicked on the first button he could see and called the number. 866.235.7733. The support person asked him to log into LOGMEIN123. He did. Once the support person was in, he asked for $199 to complete the fix of the printer.
            My friend said no.
            That’s when the fun started. Computer files were deleted in front of his eyes. Programs deleted. And as the last insult, the screen said, “YOU’VE BEEN HACKED.” Not knowing what to do, he recorded the action with his phone. I saw it. There were more than a few cuss words in the background.
            He said he called the alternate numbers 704.266.3966 and  877.836.8352 but no answer or help. My friend had to reset his computer to factory settings and start over with customizing his computer.

WARNING: 1. Just say NO! Do not let any company access your computer unless you already have a contract with them to do so. (Like Geek Squad or Corporate Tech Support) 2. If you are being, hacked unplug the computer from the internet. 3. If you don’t know how to do that unplug the computer. 4. Be wary of any one that is not directly associated with the company in which you do business. (Like a Brother Printer should be handled by Brother.) 5. And pray.

            OMB Oh My Bing!
            Before you Bing lovers start dishing on Google Chrome, I will let you know I had a near miss about a month ago.  My Google Tool bar was covered with Bing and pop up ads. Trend Micro was not stopping the problem. (For you novice computer users, understand my computer had viruses.)
I contacted my tech support, Vlad Zilla. He directed me to a couple sites that had articles about Yahoo! and Google being Malware-ed. The instructions sent the user to Microsoft website. Interesting because the issue came from Bing, a Microsoft product, but I digress.
The instructions included cleaning up Google Chrome then installing the recommended anti-virus software on the Microsoft site. I first uninstalled Trend Micro. Then purchased and downloaded Win Zip Malware. From purchase to key code to install to scan took less than two minutes. Pleased, I went to my internet bar and found all but one of the issues gone.
So I attempted to install the second recommended product on Microsoft’s list. TECHHELP. Unlike the previous product, I spent twenty minutes trying to get the product downloaded and to receive a key code. I ended up in a phone conversation similar to the one my friend had. The tech on the other line said he would be happy to help me but first he needed to log into my computer. 
“No. That is not going to happen. I need the key code. I paid for the product. A key code should have been sent.”
“I can take care of that for you. I just need to log into your…”
“I already told you that is not going to happen. You either send me the key code or I want a full refund.”
“Okay. The key code has been sent.”
“Thank you.” I hung up and waited. After an hour, I uninstalled the program, rebooted my computer and went to work.  I received four separate phone calls from techs asking to log into my computer. Each one said he would email the key code. No one did.
At the end of the day, I called back. A different tech answered. I demanded to speak to a supervisor. “Yes sir. I have tried to get a key code for your program that I purchased this morning. I did not receive it. I did receive harassing phone calls from your company but no promised key code was emailed. I have now uninstalled the program. I request my money back in full.”
“We do not give refunds. You have downloaded the program and installed the key code.”
“I did not get a key code. You can check.”
“I can give you a key code. First we need to log into your computer.”
“That is not going to happen. I installed Win Zip Malware in two minutes. Eight hours I have put up with your company and you still cannot provide the needed code. I want a full refund now.”
“I will contact my bank, Microsoft who recommended your company, and Google Chrome. And I will tell the world about your TECHHELP for $29.95. Please do not contact me again.” I have kept my word. My bank would not process a refund. Instead I filed a complaint with the credit card company. 
Stay safe my friends.