Quick Resolve

(Updated – for information on how to report fraud scroll to the bottom)

A senior citizen couple whom I know were phoned the other day by a company called Quick Resolve; although initially they introduced themselves as ‘Windows Maintenance Department” or similar (see Phone Scam).

They stated that my friends’ computer was infected with a virus; and directed my friends to the Quick Resolve website, which looks quite impressive and has a Manchester phone number prominent on the home page.  This gave them an air of credibility.  At the request of the company my friends phoned this number and the conversation with the Asian gentleman continued.

He requested payment to fix the problem and my friends paid about £150 using a debit card.  Then following his instructions they gave him access to their PC.  The Asian gentleman had control for about 90mins, following which he said that he had cured the problem and installed security software.

Realising that they had been victims of a scam, they phoned the bank who informed them that it was a scam and cancelled their card. However, the payment couldn’t be stopped.

Subsequently they asked me to have a look at their PC.  I could identify 4 changes made to their PC.  Two of these were examples of freely available security and PC clean up software namely:  the “Microsoft Security Essentials”, and “CCleaner”.  As they are available for FREE from the internet, the service provided was minimal and to my mind probably not necessary.

The two other items were a file called runHTML.reg sitting in the ‘My Documents’ folder; and a seach of the web led me to conclude that it was aimed at modifying the startup programs in the registry (to run what?) .  But I also noticed that the recovery partition which a typical feature on any Dell and other home PCs had been made inaccessible and hidden.  The recovery partition is there to enable the PC to be restored to its factory state, so this act alone amounts to criminal damage.  In addition during the time that they had access to the PC personal data and other information could have been stolen.  {Thankfully, unlike myself,  my friends didn’t hold that much on their PC).

I performed a “System Restore” to a date prior to the intrusion, and ran some security tools before reconnecting the PC to the internet, and testing further.

Further checking of the Quick Resolve website shows that although they list 2 Manchester numbers and a US one, the only address given is in Kolkata (India). This is also the location mentioned in a Guardian article last year on the topic of these phone scams.

From a legal point of view it is almost certain that crimes have been committed under the Theft Act  (1968) – because money was obtained by deception – as well as the Computer Misuse Act 1990; and possibly the Data Protection Act of 1998.

What baffles me is that the banks are obviously aware of these scams yet continue to allow banking system to be used so that these criminal proceeds are collected and passed on.  Having followed ‘The Wire’ avidly when it was shown on BBC2, I recall the frequently used line – ‘follow the money trail’.

Update

Action Fraud is the UKs main centre for reporting fraud.  They don’t in themselves take action but they aim to gather information and build a picture of fraud which they pass on to the police forces.  Obviously with fraud of this type which consists of lots of instances of small fraud but on an industrial scale, pursuing individual cases is not an option.  But having a picture of the extent of the problem will allow police forces to take action; or at least convince law enforcement agencies in the country (or countries) concerned that they need to do something.

You can phone them on 0300 123 2040; or use their secure online reporting service

If you reside outside of the UK; search your local police department’s website for information on how to report.

Article Comments

  1. i had a call from an indian man saying that they were part of aol they went through all the computer and put c cleaner on i actually gave them my credit card nnumber they rang back a week later and said they had not taken the money off my card and they wanted me to pay by cheque and it would be 179 which was 20 pounds cheaper than on the card i decided not to bother and i have not sent the cheque as a matter of fact they did not give me an address they wanted me to pay it into their bank account i have not done so and am getting phoned up every day

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