Victim Location 99208
Total money lost $510
Type of a scam Tech Support
A screen appeared on the computer containing what appeared to be the Safari logo which read "Network Security is at risk – Please contact Apple certified technicians at 1-855-358-7330". Not being familiar with the computer, the security software, etc., I unfortunately went ahead and called the number.
We were connected to an individual with a thick Indian accent who called himself Justin Miller. We described the "warning", still believing at the time we were talking to someone from Apple or the security software company. He said he needed access to the computer to fully diagnose the problem, and again, unfortunately, we granted the access.
At this point from somewhere he opened a window that supposedly showed a list of IP addresses that had accessed the network. He then said "Oh my god", which of course rattled us, and then proceeded to tell us that our network had been hacked by someone in Russia. He went on to say that it did not appear as if any information had been taken yet, but it would be best to secure the network so that the "hackers" could intercept any data.
So now our emotions have completely taken over and any remaining logic has completely gone out the window. He then begins talking about installation and contracts, which of course should have put up yet another warning sign that this was a scam since we already had agreements with Apple and had already purchased the security software. Regardless of this, we again, very unfortunately, agreed to a six year protection agreement with technical support, etc., in the amount of $510. Yes, I know.
At this time we are both shaking from the shock of finding out about this alleged "hack", and the contract appears on the screen. It wasn’t until after filling out the fields that I noticed the logo on the upper right hand corner of the contract which read MINDBRINK. I asked who Mindbrink was and told "Justin" that I thought I was talking to someone from Apple or the security software support team. He then directs me to "their" company website at www.mindbrink.com, and then to Mindbrink’s ScamPulse.com page where he points out they have zero complaints (I later realized they didn’t have any reviews or a rating either, nor were they accredited) in an effort to "reassure" us that they were in fact a legitimate company. Of course I’m still not thinking clearly during all of this.
We were then transferred to their software technician who called himself Rickie Stevens so he could begin installing software to "protect the network". We were also given a new number to call as part of our "technical support". That number was 1-877-821-4559. We received an email confirmation of our "contract" agreement with Mindbrink as well as a copy of the document we filled out online.
Before and after this incident, life had been dumping a lot on our shoulders. The ordeal had been shoved to the side to deal with other issues, but my concern continued to grow and the reality of what happened began to slowly sink in.
Finally I decided to call the "customer support" number at 1-877-821-4559. I was connected to an individual who called himself Kevin Jones, again with a thick Indian accent. I started by asking questions about the ad blocker they had installed as part of the package, but as I continued to ask other questions he began to sound irritated.
Knowing that "Mindbrink" has other names listed on their ScamPulse.com page, I asked him what company he worked for. He replied "PRO-SOFT", which was not one of the companies listed. I told him that I thought I was talking to someone from Mindbrink, and what he said afterwards I couldn’t really tell as I was having trouble understanding him.
I then asked about the method they used to supposedly protect the network. He said it was a process called "coding" or "encoding". I asked how this worked, and he said he could not tell me and that he could lose his job if he did.
Finally I asked about the image that appeared on the computer screen, which of course by now I knew was malware. I was shocked when he replied that it was in fact malware. I told him that the number I called on the image was what eventually connected me to Mindbrink in the first place. He said he had never heard of that number and that it did not belong to Mindbrink. Of course now I am more concerned than ever.
A final note: At no point during the conversation did Kevin Jones ask for any customer identification or reference number, which you would think should be a priority since I was paying them for technical support services. I realized later that their "support" number was available to anyone who visited their website.
Be alert. Be logical. No matter how much you have going on in your life, if something doesn’t feel right, it most likely isn’t.