My 64 year old mother in law is on the phone with these rip off artists as I type this. Here is what's happening.
1) Her Norton Antivirus supposedly did not boot up this morning.
2) She did what she could to trouble shoot it.
3) She went looking for Symantec support in Google
4) Their advertisement was the third paid one in the responses and included an 800 number in the advertisement (well done, I bet they get a lot of suckers that way.)
5) She called the 800 number without clicking on the link. (Saved them the click!! Well done again)
6) Their "technician" answered.
7) She asked if she had reached Norton support and he assured her that she had.
8) She expalined the problem and he connected to her system.
9) He "discovered" "a couple of thousand hacker intrusions" that he would fix for $390 (only $300 more than Norton would have charged for the same service)
10) He offered to recover her "old files" for only $190 more. (what?, so after milking her for 4X the Norton rate, he wanted to up the ante to 6X the Norton rate)
11) he processed the payment before starting any work. (Well he wouldn't want to be ripped off for all of his hard work, would he?)
12) He hung up, promising to call her back when the work was done. (this effectively eliminated her opportunity to terminate the service or even to ask questions, my guess is he just started an automatic diagnostics and virus removal and started another call)
12) He ran remote diagnostics and added a free version of Malwarebytes (Didn't he claim to be a Norton Tech?)
This company preys on the Naive and Stupid. No one can say they don't offer a service but their sales paractices are repugnant and the rates they charge are nowhere close to competitive. The only defense against these companies is to get the word out that:
1) A basic computer service with optimization and virus removal should cost you between $80-$120 from any reputable computer service company.
2) If it seems like a technician is trying to baffle you with techno-mumbo-jumbo then they are and you should terminate ypour relationship with them immediately.
3) Don't click on paid advertisements in google. Organic results are at the top because they're the most reliable and well connected. Even then, ensure that you are on website you think you are before trusting it. Look at the URL in the navigation bar and ensure that the name before the dot is the proper one (company.com) and that your are not on a sub-URL (company.someoneelse.com)
4) Shop around and educate yourself, don't just accept what some stranger you contacted online is telling you.
5) When you are reseaching a company, go to google and type in the company name and "fraud" or "complaints" and read the results before you consider doing business with them.
6) If you fall prey to the scammer and have second thoughts, unplug your internet connection; call you credit card company and tell them the service was not provided; get the service provided by a reputable company and submit the bill to the credit card company to prove the servoice was not provided by these scammers.
I really hope that my mother in law can get her money back from the credit card company. I really hope that all of those connected with this company who behave in this dishonorable fashion find themselves being cheated in life on a regular and continual basis. Karma sucks.