I noticed that I had been receiving a charge of $19.95 on my AT&T phone bill for the last six months from a company called PC Protect, Inc. The charge was supposedly for online anti-virus "membership."
I called the number provided to find out what this was and how I was signed up for it. I spoke to "Freddy" (#107) who was located in Baltimore MD. He told me that my wife went to their website and signed up for this "service." I asked him what the service was and he told me that it was a website that you go to and it will scan your computer for viruses.
There are many problems with this explaination. The first is that I work in the Information Security field. My wife would never seek out a web page to scan our computers for viruses without talking to me first. Furthermore, she would never pay $240/year for said service when we already get enterprise class antivirus protection for FREE.
The second problem is that if she happen to loose her mind and go out to a site and sign up for this service why is it billed to my phone bill ?!?! How many things have you purchased online and paid via your phonebill??? I never have and I do ALOT of business online. When I asked him what site she used to sign up he informed me that they have "multiple web-sites" and that he isn't able to verify the site.
Putting aside his obvious BS I proceeded to request reimbursment for all of the charges. He refused at first, only offering to cancel the service. I let him know that this was unacceptable. He placed me on hold and came back with the "offer" of crediting only three months. I asked him why I could not have all of my money back. He stated that he was being "very generous" in that I had the service this whole time. (A service that I had without my knowledge and NEVER used)
I accepted his offer and let him know that this wasn't over yet. I found an entry on the BBB website giving them a "D" rating. I found the name/address/phone number of Linda Harper (President.) Funny...the phone number was the same as what was listed on the bill.
I called the number and was connected to a Elonda (#1056) in Balitmore MD. I asked to speak with Linda Harper and was told that nobody with that name worked in her department. I let her know that I assumed she didn't work that phones as she was the president of the company. She refused to give me the number after a long circular discussion. She told me that the Nevada office didn't have a phone. ....right I would only be able to contact her by sending an email to www.pcprotect.biz
. I informed her that I knew that was a web address and not an email address. She then proceded to give me a generic email address and said that it would be forwarded. ....right.
After doing a little more Google searching I have found that many people are having the exact same experience that I have had. According to "Freddy" I should be thankful for his generosity of giving back only part of my STOLEN MONEY!
Here is my theory on how this happened. My wife received a text message from an unknow origin. She responded by asking who it was. She never received a response. Turns out that somebody can send you a SMS saying anything and when you respond they can then bill you anything they want. ...even if your response is "Who is this."
I am in the wrong business...