Recently, we had a wonderful customer come into our new office in the Benson Building located in Downtown Sioux City, because she was having problems with her MacBook. The laptop was slow, it would freeze, would not respond when clicking on an application or sometimes would not close applications. She was surprised we worked on Apple computers, which we do. We don’t get many requests, but we do have a few customers that only use Apple products.
After talking to our customer for a little while, she mentioned that she called Apple Support several months ago, because of another problem. She also said that they would call her every couple months to make sure her system was working okay. And would ask to remote into her laptop using Go To Assist. We started to suspect that it was not Apple Support that she had called; Apple uses its own remote desktop software. She said she started to feel uneasy and wouldn’t let them have access to her computer anymore. Go To Assist is a great program that a lot of businesses, including us, use for remoting into other computers, but we removed it from her computer. The reason, there is an option in Go To Assist for unattended access, this means if the user gives permission by easily clicking on the “yes” button, the person on the other end can remote into the computer at any time and have full control of the computer. After asking more questions we found out she had googled “Apple Support” and clicked on the first website that came up from the results; easily done by anyone, I have been guilty of it myself. More about that later.
After a couple of hours of removing applications, removing anti-virus put on her computer by this company, running a couple different anti-virus programs we use. Nothing came up as a threat. Just to be safe, we installed Webroot Business for Mac on her computer. After running the initial scan a threat was found, which was a third-party application that was installed sometime on her laptop. It wasn’t a serious threat, but we removed it any way. The computer was running faster, applications were opening and closing normally, and no longer freezing. She was happy and we were too.
I mentioned to the customer that I would look more into the company that she contacted and thought was Apple Support. I took a picture of the information “Apple Support” put on her computer in TextEdit, which is the equivalent to Notepad in Windows, before I removed it from her laptop. I wanted to find out who these people were and where the company was located.
There are several similar scams currently going on, except a person calls stating they are from a company somehow associated with Microsoft or they have Microsoft in the name of their company. They say they have received an alert that your computer has a major or serious virus and they are the only ones who can remove it. I receive these calls myself, I just tell them I work in IT and to stop calling me; they don’t stop until I block their number(s) on my phone. I received three of these calls just last week. Do not fall for it. An anti-virus company will not call you. They will not ask you to pay for a different antivirus. They will not ask you to pay for lifetime security software. They will not ask you to Western Union them money, ask you to buy gift cards and give them the numbers on the back of the card. Basically, if anyone calls you about your computer having a virus, just hang up.
Back to the fake Apple Support and what I found out about them. The first thing I did was search for the company name Micronetpc Solutions. Here is what I found, the most recent website with this name was registered January 2016 and will expire December 2017 and owned by Gourav Jain. However, looking more into it I found the address was registered in 2010 to a person named Rajan, yes, just Rajan, from India and expired in July 2015. I searched for both names and I am confident they are fake names. When I did a search in ICANN WHOIS, a searchable database of all registered domains that lists owner name, address, email, phone number and other contract information. This is what I found:
Ultimately, be careful on the internet. If something doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. However, if you do have something like this happen to you and realize it after it has all been said and done, we are here to help you get your computer up and running. And remember it can happen to anyone.