I never answer the phone normally from numbers that I do not recognise but on this occasion I was expecting a call back regarding another matter so when the phone trilled at around 4pm last Friday I picked it up, anxious not to miss my important call back. Alas, it was not who I was expecting, I could tell immediately it was an overseas call due to the interference on the line and the very slight delay when the American sounding male asked if I was in fact ‘Janey Davies?’. Sighing to myself I thought ‘Here we go, another marketing call’. I answered in the affirmative and the male started telling me he worked for Microsoft Windows and that my computer had flagged up several problems and could he go through them with me? As he was simply some random person who had called me out of the blue I was very reluctant to talk to him but he kept assuring me that he worked for Windows and was in touch because several errors were consistently being sent to the Windows Office and that was how he knew to contact me.
As I am not stupid I kept questioning him, he told me about a specific ID number that only two people know about, myself and the Windows people and he gave me this number and showed me where to find it. After about 30 minutes of him persuading me and me asking him “You are not trying me to sell me anything are you?” many many times, to which he answered no, over and over again, he then went on to ask if I would agree to a session where he would have control over my computer.
No way I thought so I Googled the information he was giving me and as nothing untoward came up, he kept insisting he was genuine, I said, against my better judgement, and saying again, ‘Don’t try to sell me anything’, I agreed and he had control of my PC.
He went through a few things, it became clear that he was showing me errors with the intention of then not doing anything, so as I was still waiting for this important call, I asked him, can he fix these things or was he selling me something? He then went on to the page where he did a check to see if I was under Windows XP Warranty Software, which showed I did not have it, and then he (SURPRISE SURPRISE) said I would have to purchase this before he could help me.
I had now been on the phone for 45 mins, a complete waste of my time and I told him that he had wasted my time. I asked him to end the session as I was not happy he had control over my PC. I reminded him that I’d said from the start that I was not going to buy anything, but he then got very rude, and to my utter disbelief began to start deleting my personal pictures from my PC.
I asked him what he was doing and he replied that as I did not have the appropriate Windows XP warranty I could not use the software and he had the legal right to remove it. He was not removing the XP software however, he was removing my personal computer files, nothing to do with the operating system. Before all this, when he said my warranty had expired and he could help my and my pc would be like a new one and not slow, I asked him how much it would be to update, when he went to the site he did not go to a Microsoft Windows site, he went to XEDLABS, I asked him if this was who he worked for? He said Yes, even though he had told me he worked for Microsoft Windows.
The cheapest cost for support for a year, not the warranty you understand, but their very own companies support, was £99. I said absolutely no way, that was when he started deleting my personal stuff. I managed to close down my computer before he did any damage.When I emailed the company to complain about their dreadful operatives selling tactics, this was their response:
“Thanks for contacting us, i just read the mail that you send to us and after reading it i think that someone has given you the wrong information about our company.
As you had mentioned the name of the person i.e. Alex Dexter, first of all he is not the employee of our company and whatever he said about our company we don’t deal any business like that.
He might have used our companies name in order to take some money from you and have provided you with our email address, this is to inform you that we don’t do cold calling to our customers.
So please be aware of such people.
As Xedlabs have denied that Alex Dexter works for them, I cannot conclusively advise you against avoiding this company. What I can do is advise you what to do if you get a cold call out of the blue from a person who tells you that they work for Microsoft Windows.
Firstly, as I realised after this stupid mistake, Microsoft will never contact you to help you resolve an issue on your computer. That is a fact. If someone calls you to offer you help to make your pc ‘run faster’, ‘seem like new’ or ‘stop it going blue screen’, they will not be doing it for free. My advice is hang up. Secondly, never ever allow anyone remote access to your computer. I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about scams on the internet and yet I was conned into a session in which control of my computer was taken away from me. Thirdly, get the personsfull name, the actual company they work for, then Google the company for the phone number and call them back this way to prove they are genuine, if you have any doubt the call is a scam. Do not be conned as I was.