[ad]Dear Computer Lady,
We bought a Windows 7 Dell computer last November and had techs set it up. So we thought we had Panda Anti-virus. Then when it ran out we bought Panda Anti-virus 2014 and we could not install it.
So we called the Panda Company and according to their tech, we found out that our computer was in terrible shape (55,000 errors and the reason might have been that when we bought the computer it had Norton and then our “geeks” installed Panda and the tech said neither could function well- is that true?).
So they said they had a partnership with Advanced Tech Support and I turned over the computer to them and for $250 they fixed everything. However I was told to call a number and the gal said we needed Malware protection which started at $500 until I yelled and came down to another $250. We have no idea if that is really necessary for two old people who only use online for email and to surf the net (also buying).
Thank you for your wonderful column and help.
It sounds like you have been the victim of a scammer.
I am going to guess that when you looked up the phone number for the Panda company, you went online and searched for Panda tech support, and dialed the number you found as a result of that search. The only problem with searching online for tech support numbers is that anyone can make a website that looks like a certain company and put their phone number on it. Then, when you or I call looking for support, they start out making you think they are from the company, but quickly try to convince you that you need to pay them large amounts of money to remove problems that you really don’t have in the first place.
What can you do now?
There are really two problems that need to be resolved, first is that you gave your credit card information to scammers. Contact your bank or credit card company and explain the situation. Hopefully, you will be able to reverse the charges, and you will probably need to get a new card.
The second problem is that your computer has been compromised. When you let them take over your computer, it was like giving them access to every document, user name and password stored on your computer. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there is no way to be sure that they didn’t install additional tracking software while they were pretending to remove the problems that didn’t really exist.
You will probably need to take your computer to a local repair shop that you can trust, and have them go over your computer. They should be able to clean out your computer and set up protection for far less than what you thought you were paying to the scammers. For example, I have a package that includes cleaning any existing viruses and malware out of your computer, installing both antivirus and anti-malware programs, with a one year warranty against future infections for less than $200.
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Elizabeth Boston is a Web designer, Social Media Consultant and managing editor of, “Ask The Computer Lady”.
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