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elderly relative fell for computer support scam

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elderly relative fell for computer support scam

Postby diy » Fri Apr 03, 2015 7:57 am

A relative of mine asked me to look at problems with his computer as it was having issues. He wanted me to do a factory reset on it because there was something dodgy but was too proud to fess up to what had happened. A bit of delving, questioning and looking at the computer reveals he'd installed some remote control software allowing a "Support" person to remotely access the machine. The person had deleted sufficient critical files to make the machine throw up errors but still work enough for her to log in. It turns out he's paid 500 quid for this. Its clearly fraud, as she claimed to work for <big software co>, but the bank & payment engine say that it was a contract agreed over the phone for services and they have no way to know who agreed what.

The scam uses a number of legit software providers and download services, to mask the activity. What are the banks responsibilities here? The transactions were paid on credit card 200 and 300 - the provider can't easily be traced in a way you would normally trace a legit firm. She keeps phoning him asking for money she knows when he is online. I have removed the software and have rebuilt the machine.

Just wondering how distance selling contracts apply to over the phone services or what obligations the payment service / credit card firm have?
My suggestions are not legal advice
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Re: elderly relative fell for computer support scam

Postby dls » Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:27 am

It is not so much the distance selling contracts.

A bank somewhere has an arrangement by which it collects money for this company. That contract will allow it to recover sums from its fraudulent customer. There is no substantial. The loan of the banker's name to a known fraudster hardly does it credit. They are money laundering.

Stick at it.
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Re: elderly relative fell for computer support scam

Postby Slartibartfast » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:07 am

Firstly, contact the bank(s) and have the payments cancelled. This is a notorious criminal scam (http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2 ... e-and-fine), and they have no excuse for inaction.

If paid by credit card, cite equal liability under section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/p ... rds-31.htm)

If paid by debit card, instigate a chargeback (http://whatconsumer.co.uk/visa-debit-chargeback/)

They many refuse to speak to you without elderly relative's consent, so be ready to put him on the phone or send them a written consent. They may (very likely will) tell you that there's nothing they can do. Ignore this, press on politely. Remind them that this is not a disputed retail purchase, it is a crime perpetrated against their vulnerable customer.

They may tell you to report it to ActionFraud (http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/fraud- ... oft-frauds). There's no reason why you shouldn't, but please understand that ActionFraud does not investigate or recover. They will not put this right for your relative, their primary function is to divert and obfuscate the scale of fraud taking place (so that it isn't recorded in official crime figures).

Usual tactics apply - record calls, ask for their name or corporate id number, if you get stuck ask for a supervisor, confirm in writing, etc. If you hit a dead end, make a written complaint. Again, escalate and challenge through their system, and then complain to Financial Ombudsman (http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/c ... laints.htm).

If you politely, relentlessly persist then they will eventually do the right thing. If enough people make them do this, then they will stop fraudsters from using their systems. Unless it costs them, they won't care.
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Re: elderly relative fell for computer support scam

Postby Boo » Fri Apr 03, 2015 10:35 am

This is a vulnerable adult who needs safeguarding.

Get in touch with the Police. Even if they choose not to do anything, get an incident number and keep it safe for future reference.

I would agree with the Action Fraud reporting system.

Inform their local social services adult team. Other local elderly people may have fallen victim to this financial abuse. Someone needs to be keeping a eye and a file on this kind of behaviour.
Also report the scam to the National Care Line http://www.thenationalcareline.org/inde ... test+scams
Contact CAB. Data needs recording. They have an online advice guide http://www.adviceguide.org.uk/england/c ... cams_e.htm

Maybe a computer training course may offer computer savvy tips.
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Re: elderly relative fell for computer support scam

Postby JoeDaFone » Fri Apr 03, 2015 9:33 pm

Slarti's answers are spot-on to ensure the moneoy gets returned but to stop this happening again, ensure the person is only using a LIMITED account on the machine so it does not have Administrator privileges.

This will ensure that any future scammers cannot access their machine at all!
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Re: elderly relative fell for computer support scam

Postby diy » Wed Apr 15, 2015 8:37 am

thanks everyone - this is very helpful.
My suggestions are not legal advice
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Re: elderly relative fell for computer support scam

Postby Voldemort » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:00 am

Slarti is spot on. I would also suggest that they buy an iPad.

It's far less vulnerable to malware and more user-friendly for the average person.
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Re: elderly relative fell for computer support scam

Postby Hairyloon » Wed Apr 15, 2015 9:11 am

I am yet to hear of any of these fraudsters targetting Linux systems, and it would probably tie them up for longer trying to...
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Re: elderly relative fell for computer support scam

Postby diy » Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:41 am

I have built him a Linux Mint 17.1 laptop, which he is getting the hang of - its not perfect, but he gets that he doesn't need <big name> support services for it and when he clicks a link offering to fix his registry error as do my kids, it simply dump the useless executable in the download bin. I do quite a lot with Mint as I use Gimp, Audacity and Openshot a fair bit and they work well on the pure Linux O/Ses.
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Re: elderly relative fell for computer support scam

Postby Voldemort » Wed Apr 15, 2015 10:58 am

Linux is indeed excellent, however it's not anywhere near as user friendly (for the novice) as Apple's platforms.

I bought my grandmother an iPad a few years ago; it has transformed her from someone who used her laptop with trepidation (and often just didn't bother unless she didn't have an alternative), to someone who can't be without their iPad!
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