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LostInParadise's avatar

Have you ever heard of anything like this?

Asked by LostInParadise (30178points) 2 months ago
45 responses
“Great Question” (4points)

I had a $500 a year service contract with a company that will remain anonymous. I contacted them to terminate the contract. I was willing to keep the contract for the current year if they would just stop renewing it. A simple matter, right?

I went through a lengthy process of copying passwords and contract numbers. I gave them control of my computer and they ran some program requesting a refund. Here is the weirdest part – I was prompted for the amount of the refund. Why they couldn’t just send me the refund, I don’t know. There was a problem, either due to the program or my computer that caused the entry of $50,000 instead of $500. When I checked online, there was in fact a $50000 deposit to my checking account.

It was now necessary for me to go to my bank and wire the difference, $50000 – $500 = $49500, to some world bank outlet in Hong Kong. For my troubles they have promised a $100 gift certificate. Do you find this as strange as I do?

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Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

Sounds like a well-known scam in the US. Good luck.

janbb's avatar

You must know this was a scam. You should never give a third party access to your computer.

Did this really happen?

LostInParadise's avatar

The money was definitely deposited in my account, so it is difficult to see how this could be a scam.

janbb's avatar

It still stinks of scam to me. No legit transaction would be done that way.

gorillapaws's avatar

@LostInParadise IT WAS NOT DEPOSITED. It’s a trick where they edit your browser. Your contract was a scam too! Don’t give them any money!!!

See this video

LadyMarissa's avatar

S C A M…don’t give them any money back until you can see that the deposit has cleared into your account!!! IF you send it today, you will learn in the next day or 2 that the deposit NEVER cleared & you’ll be out of the $49,500. I’m surprised that your bank didn’t warn you about this!!! With them being out of the US, you will NEVER have a legal remedy to get that money back!!!

This also means that they NEVER gave you the $500 refund either, so you’ll be out the full $50,000!!!

They still have access to your computer as well, so find out how to disconnect them!!!

gorillapaws's avatar

@LadyMarissa “IF you send it today, you will learn in the next day or 2 that the deposit NEVER cleared…”

Also, as I understand it, there are 2 levels to a check clearing. There’s the initial round of clearing, and a longer-term clearing that’s the “real” clearing. I think there are other scams involving fake checks that exploit this. The initial check does clear the bank, but later gets retracted by the bank. Those scams involve the Nigerian prince who sends you a check and you wire the money on their behalf. People wait for it to “clear’ but it hasn’t FULLY cleared.

The tech support scam isn’t working on this principle though. They’re just editing the HTML in the user’s browser to make it LOOK like the transaction happened. If you were to view the same transaction page from a second computer or phone, you’d see that there’s no transaction.

chyna's avatar

So what is the scam? To get access to her bank account?

gorillapaws's avatar

@chyna They have remote access to the victim’s PC. From here they can edit the HTML of the website. It’s not actually changing the balances or anything on the bank’s end, just the numbers being displayed on that particular machine. It’s like the digital equivalent of physically drawing a new balance on your screen with a Sharpe pen.

They make it look like they “accidentally” deposited way too much money in your account and want you to refund the difference—sometimes in the form of gift cards.

LadyMarissa's avatar

@LostInParadise, @gorillapaws understands the sequence much better than I do!!! The main thing that I know is that it’s a SCAM & you’ll be broke when it’s over IF you follow their instructions!!! Read & re-read what @gorillapaws had to say until you completely understand what you’ve gotten yourself into!!!

I just did a quick search on how to report a SCAM like this. Some said to contact the FTC. Others said to contact the Secret Service, Fraud Division. I think I’d start by talking with the bank. They should be able to better advise you on what you need to do & I’d trust them a whole lot more than anything that I read online!!!

Forever_Free's avatar

STOP. Do not do another thing other than calling your bank. This is a SCAM. Never let an unknown source take control of your computer. Never process anything like this.

This is what’s known as an Overpayment Scams
Overpayment scams typically begin with someone sending you a counterfeit check or money order or deposit for more than the amount owed. Then, they ask you to deposit the money in the bank and wire the difference back to you.
Unfortunately, since the check was fake, you could owe the bank a returned check fee. You’re also out any funds you wired to them and any product if you shipped it.

I had an organization make several deposits of $5000 each and several attempted pulls of $5000 all in one night. They are hoping that one of the withdrawals actually gets processed by your bank. Call to inform your bank. The Bank can flag as suspicious but can’t do anything until they go from Processing to Cleared.

Here is a link to Forbes common bank scams

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I’m sorry but others are 100% correct, it’s a scam. They edited the webpage’s HTML to make it look like there was an overpayment or it’s a payment that will automatically be gone as it’s not valid. If you refresh your browser or checked from a different computer it would have gone away showing a normal balance or it would be removed by the bank without any intervention.

Forever_Free's avatar

Thanks for posting this for awareness and understanding to all. Many people fall prey to this because they are just unaware of how devious some scum will be to steal from unsuspecting people.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

I’m curious to know what that $500 service contract was for now. There are tech support contract scams too. Usually starts with the most basic ransomware where you are prompted by “Microsoft” or “Norton” to “fix” a problem but you pay an exorbitant reoccurring service fee to do so. In reality, they don’t do a thing except take your money.

janbb's avatar

@Blackwater_Park I wondered about that too. $500 for a yearly service contract is almost the price of a new computer and seems exhorbitant.

I agree with @Forever_Free Talk to your bank immediately.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

This it how this stuff often starts.
It’s scary because it convinces so many people. They almost got my special needs aunt. She is thankfully so PC illiterate that she could not figure out how to give “Microsoft” access to her machine. She called me for help. Thankfully able to stop that. she has an apple by the way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

However, it sounds like this “service contract” was initiated by @LostInParadise over a year ago. Usually scammers contact you, not the other way around.
You did the right thing by contacting your bank.
Following.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Dutchess_III “Usually scammers contact you, not the other way around.”

Not always true. A lot of times scammers will run ads that create a false notification of a malware being detected with a “Microsoft” support phone number to call.

Dutchess_III's avatar

They’re still contacting you.

What is the nature of this service contract @LostInParadise?

janbb's avatar

I have the feeling that Lost is cowering under his blankets by now.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Right?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Hopefully he shutdown his computer

The Facebook marketplace scams are getting pretty sophisticated. If you have not sold anything on it recently be very careful

gorillapaws's avatar

@janbb “I have the feeling that Lost is cowering under his blankets by now.”

I really hope no money was sent…

janbb's avatar

^^ Me too.

Inspired_2write's avatar

As I was hacked last year and I was fortunate to have had a service contract with Dell .com for my computer .
I immediatly contacted them by phone and they told me to UNPLUG THE “ETHERNET CORD” RIGHT AWAY.

This cuts off the connection of the hacker/scammer.

But it allows Dell .com remote service to not only fix my computer but to identify whee the scam originated as well.

He told me that in future is you think somehtin is a scam and that they had access to your computer ( remote) then immediately disconnect the Ethernet cord and call them ( Dell).

All this happened when I was trying to get Microsoft Word onto my computer..apparently it was a FAKE website!

As a cation I talked with my Bank and was told to stop online baking..but they never found
reason for my stopping my online banking and a year later I reinstated it as representatives of my Bank told me that Banks usually are impervious to hacking as they have excellent “precautions” in place.

In short I was inconvenienced for a year in doing my Banking in person unnecessarily due to misinformation from that Security personnel at that time.

All is well and I won’t be clicking easily anymore of any websites.

gorillapaws's avatar

@Inspired_2write “I immediatly contacted them by phone and they told me to UNPLUG THE “ETHERNET CORD” RIGHT AWAY.
This cuts off the connection of the hacker/scammer.
But it allows Dell .com remote service to not only fix my computer but to identify whee the scam originated as well.”

If you’re on WiFi then this doesn’t fix the problem at all… Either you’re connected to the internet (in which case a hacker or someone with remote access can still do whatever they want to your computer) or you’re completely cut off from the internet (your machine is safe, but that would also mean the Dell.com people wouldn’t have access either). I don’t think Dell does phone support like that anyways…

My advice is to only get the phone numbers for support directly from the website on a non-compromised device. e.g. if you need to talk with Microsoft, get on your phone and go to www.microsoft.com and look for a phone number there and use it to get in touch with the correct people.

Inspired_2write's avatar

@gorillapaws
It worked!
I telephoned the repair represtative and as directed pull the Ethernet plug.

He was able to remotely access and also tell me what to do and after that everything was working perfectly.
I paid $99 (CDN$) for a years remote access repair when I first bought it, and I am eternally galad that I did.
No problems since then.
PLUS I have anitvirus software purchsed through them as well , cheaper thatn online of which I stay away from ads for such as those could be scams as well.

LostInParadise's avatar

I did get scammed. They must have forced an overpayment. That payment, as I later found out, was taken from a trust account and transferred to my checking account, so it looked as if iI received a payment when I did not. I am feeling rather stupid. When I told the people what they did, they said that they would send me a check to match the wire payment I made. I don’t know why they would say such a thing, but I certainly do not expect anything.

The bank manager who I work with contacted me about this because they were surprised by what was going on. He said the bank would try to cancel the wire payment on the grounds of fraud, but it is probably too late.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Lost is one of the smartest people I know. I’m sure he’s handling it appropriately. Except until now I thought he was a she….?

Blackwater_Park's avatar

@LostInParadise Sorry to hear it, I hope you get your money retuned to you. Scams are getting so sophisticated that they’re snaring regular people. You used to be able to spot one of these from ten miles away but not so much now.

janbb's avatar

@LostInParadise I’m really sorry to hear that this happened to you and hope you can retrieve your money. Let us know what happens.

RayaHope's avatar

Super scam! But why did you give them access to your computer?

janbb's avatar

@LostInParadise By the way, they probably said they would send you a check so that you wouldn’t try to stop the wire transfer. The check would not have cleared; it was a delaying tactic.

I assume your bank manager has told you to change your account info now that the scammers have access to them.

SnipSnip's avatar

I don’t know why you had it set up for automatic renewal, I never do that other than for Netflix. And to give them access to your computer…........Why? They may have a copy of your hard drive. Hope for the best and change your credentials.

jca2's avatar

$500 per year service contract to service the computer or to service something else (like an appliance in your house)? It’s not clear why they would need control of your computer to terminate any contract. Your non payment in itself should terminate it. No payment, no service.

flutherother's avatar

Scammers pretend to be legitimate companies but the phone numbers and links they provide all lead to the scammers themselves. In your case they wanted control of your computer so they could make it appear they had sent you $50,000 when they hadn’t. These scammers are a plague and almost nothing is being done to stop them. I hope you don’t lose any money as a result of this.

LostInParadise's avatar

I just heard from the bank that they were able to get the money back.

Blackwater_Park's avatar

Whew, I’m sure that was a relief!

janbb's avatar

@LostInParadise Thank Heavens!!

gorillapaws's avatar

@LostInParadise That’s amazing! I’m so happy for you!

chyna's avatar

So happy for you!!!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good news!

LadyMarissa's avatar

Here is a new “dark patterns” SCAM you might want to be aware of.

Dutchess_III's avatar

We just have to use our brains @LadyMarissa

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