Virtual PC Doctor Scam
First Phone Call
I got a phone call today (25th Aug 2010) from an Indian lady from a company name I didn't fully grasp. The company was in the business of fixing viruses on computers that run Windows. They tried to get me to open my computer so they could "do some checks". I went with the story that it has no power and I can't open it. They said they understood and hung up.
Five minutes later...
Second Phone Call
I couldn't believe it! The same lady (it sounded like) was calling me again. She said is this "Mr X", I said "yes, speaking". She proceeded to repeat the company name, this time I heard it, "Virtual PC Doctor" and to tell me that they were a maintenance company for computers that run Windows.
This time I wanted to get as much information as possible.
I asked her if she'd called me just five minutes before. She seemed surprised at the question and said "no". I then told her that someone from the same company just rang me not more than five minutes previously! She asked me to repeat what the other person (likely her) had said and I repeated what I remembered.
"When you go on the internet and you open certain websites, there could be viruses downloaded onto your computer from files and emails...everybody knows that". I was repeating the general jist of the conversation but she stopped me when I said "viruses". She proceeded to tell me that these aren't "viruses" they are "infections". She wanted me to go and put my computer on so that she could check.
I continued with the same story that my power supply was "gone" and I couldn't turn the computer on. After helping her understand I was referring to the power supply unit on the PC, she finally realized that nothing was going to happen today. I also told her that I'm working away over the next few weeks so could she please give me her name and number so I could call her back?
To my surprise, she did. "Cheryl Baxter." (03) 8807 0958 (A number looking like it's from Melbourne, Australia)
I Asked More Questions
I suspected a scam and tried to get more information out of her (so I could do what she would have on my own when I fixed my computer).
Question: Is this a random phone call to people with Windows on their computer? (how would they know who had Windows anyway? There's a pretty good chance they do!)
Answer: "No, there have been 700 computers infected in Queensland and Western Australia and your name was provided from a database of Windows users. This check is provided to you as a valued Windows customer." (Note, they did not say they were affiliated with Microsoft)
Question: How do I check for these infections?
Answer: (No straight answer given, but the same spiel was repeated about infections can come about through emails or downloads from websites.) "Also when you format your PC and reinstall Windows, the infection can still be there and come back!"
Question: So how do you remove these infections?
Answer: "Don't worry, sir. When you get your computer running, call us back and we will guide you through the process." (Naturally, no meaty answer for me to investigate further.)
Virtual PC Doctor - Scam!
They seemed to have something to say on every occasion and were not afraid of handing out their contact details.
I have not and do not intend to call them back. If they do call again, I will let them know that they have been identified as a fraudulent company and their scam has been reported.
A quick Google search reveals the stories of people who let Virtual PC Doctor callers guide them to open or run things on their computer to "show infections or errors", go to a website and download some "anti-virus" software (off legit websites like download.com) and then try to get them to hand over their credit card details for a continued prescription for protection.
Every site I've read after receiving the phone call confirms a scam. I'm glad I pretended I had a broken computer! I'm fairly computer literate so if they gave me instructions as to what they were going to do, I intended to look into them first!
BEWARE MY FRIENDS!
Virtual PC Doctor is a fraudulent tech / IT support company.
Here are a few sites with other people's experiences: