Author Topic: [Resolved] New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.  (Read 5299 times)

Offline Rifkin

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2011, 07:10:19 PM »
Ok folks, here is the first update.

First, no answer from Avast.

Second, it turns out after looking at the e-mails, links, software and browser history that he bought the special priced upgrade from Avast themselves (3 Computers, 1 year for $29.99).

Third, the trouble really began when he got the receipt for that amount from ELEMENT5.

He searched the net and found all kinds of posts about people receiving charges from ELEMENT5 on their credit cards for things they didn't know anything about.  So he panicked and called the number (he said an 800 number) and the rest of the story is the same as above.  I have yet to get what number he called so I can see just who it was that accessed his computer.  That said the patient is alive and well, we have put on a fresh copy of Avast 6 Free because he is disputing the charge.  If after we explain to him what happened, he approves the charge we will activate the paid version.  The system was scanned with several utilities and Avast itself and no malware was found, so the Avast tech. support idea may be on track, but with have to wait for the number he called.  The registry was a little messed up but nothing we have not been able to straighten out and we have no evidence that is was caused by who ever was remotely connected.

Fourth, now for those you that don't know who or what ELEMENT5 is (and the way it looks on the net that must be a lot of you) it is the "checkout/billing" division of Digital River and their partners.  Digital River handles software download purchases for the the likes of Microsoft, Avast, Broderbund, etc.  So I find it really odd that so many people don't know what ELEMENT5 is, as they are all running around because it is tied to so many servers, etc.  Well each Digital River partner has their own store front and of course their own ELEMENT5 accounts, so it would not surprise me that they have a lot of servers.  Now that doesn't mean that some of the smaller partners might not being following the code of conduct to the letter.  But if that is the case, you can report them to ELEMENT5 and have them suspended.

So, when I get more information I will post again.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2011, 04:51:57 PM by Rifkin »
Remember, according to Microsoft it's not a flaw, it's a feature.

Offline Gargamel360

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2011, 07:16:45 PM »
Ok, thank you for the update.
Signature?  But I gots no pen....

Offline SafeSurf

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2011, 08:14:55 AM »
ELEMENT5 is used by many software companies and is a legitimate billing company, but do keep us informed.
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Offline Rifkin

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #18 on: March 24, 2011, 05:32:26 PM »
ELEMENT5 is used by many software companies and is a legitimate billing company, but do keep us informed.

Right you are, ELEMENT5 is an e-commerce service offered by Digital River since 1998.  Digital River is a US e-commerce outsourcing company which has been in business since 1994.   They also acquired SWREG, another online payment processing company, in 2005.

I have seen all this at the bottom of Avast's software checkout page, but it is in small print at the bottom of the page and you have to scroll down to see it.  Most people have never learned to read the whole web page before clicking on "Accept".
Remember, according to Microsoft it's not a flaw, it's a feature.

Offline SafeSurf

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2011, 05:20:25 AM »
I have seen all this at the bottom of Avast's software checkout page, but it is in small print at the bottom of the page and you have to scroll down to see it.  Most people have never learned to read the whole web page before clicking on "Accept".
I agree with you...that's why I read the small print.  ;D

To answer your questions in your prior posts:
First, no answer from Avast.
You may want to contact Avast http://www.avast.com/contact-form.php?loadStyles and use the drop down menu.

Second, <snip> I have yet to get what number he called so I can see just who it was that accessed his computer. 
You may want to contact or log into your phone company to see what phone # was called on that date.  Often you can do a reverse phone look up online as well.

For your concerns re: 3 and 4, I think we addressed this already.  Please let us know if you have other concerns and how we can help you.  Thank you.
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Offline Rifkin

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2011, 08:16:36 PM »
Here is both the second update & the first response from Avast!

Response from Avast!:

"Good afternoon

Thank you for contacting avast! software. 

Could you please confirm, you have not accepted to subscribe to their full support service yet they have still accessed his computer without permission?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Xxxx Xxxxx
Customer Relations Specialist"

To which I replied:

"Yes, that is correct.  The full version of what happened is this.  He responded to the popup messages asking him if he wanted to buy the full version of Avast for $29.99 because his 60 day trial was up.  He clicked on the link and was taken to your site, where he purchased the full version for one year for 3 computers.  He did not see the fine print at the bottom of the screen that your purchasing site is provided by ELEMENT5.  When he got the conformation e-mails that he said he made a purchase from ELEMENT5 instead from Avast, he thought that he he had been scammed, then when he searched the internet all he could find was how people had been charged for things that they didn't buy and all the charges were from ELEMENT5.  At this point he went back to your site and called the number listed for tech. support.  The tech. that answered the phone said that he could not help him install Avast unless he accessed his computer, he then had him enter a number of commands during a chat session, until he was able to access his computer.  After a short time the tech. showed him a screen with with several warnings showing that he "had the ruminates of Norton and McAfee" on his computer and that it could turn into a virus if not taken care of.  Also, that it was stopping him  from installing Avast, he then went on to say that a regular computer repair man would not be able to fix it, but for $169.99 they could fix it and any other problems his computer might have.  He did not enter into a service agreement with them and he did not pay the $169.99 fee.

I have since explained to him about the ELEMENT5 e-mails, downloaded and installed his full version of Avast, activating it with his lic. key.  All without any of the problems that the phone tech. refereed to.  Please note, it has never McAfee installed although it had Norton and AVG installed earlier, plus it had been running the 60 day trail of Avast 5 which installed and was running just fine.

I find one other thing very problematic, on your tech. support page below the two 1-877 numbers you say "Support is provided by our partner iYogi."  But on iYogi's Avast! Antivirus page they say "iYogi is an independent provider of on-demand tech support and not affiliated with avast!™."
I would think you would want your tech support "partner" to at least admit they are working with you?"
Remember, according to Microsoft it's not a flaw, it's a feature.

Offline SafeSurf

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #21 on: March 26, 2011, 07:16:15 AM »
I am going to give you the email of the Avast Team member who is the liaison between Avast and iYogi and will be able to assist you better with your situation.  His name is Adam Riley, and his email is riley at avast dot com (no spaces).  Please reference this thread in your email.  I will also notify him that you will be sending him an email as well.

Please let me know if I can assist you further.  Thank you.
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Offline Adam Riley

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #22 on: March 28, 2011, 07:22:05 AM »
Good morning,

I have received your reply and will respond to you via email within the next few minutes.

Thank you.
Adam

Here is both the second update & the first response from Avast!

Response from Avast!:

"Good afternoon

Thank you for contacting avast! software. 

Could you please confirm, you have not accepted to subscribe to their full support service yet they have still accessed his computer without permission?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Xxxx Xxxxx
Customer Relations Specialist"

To which I replied:

"Yes, that is correct.  The full version of what happened is this.  He responded to the popup messages asking him if he wanted to buy the full version of Avast for $29.99 because his 60 day trial was up.  He clicked on the link and was taken to your site, where he purchased the full version for one year for 3 computers.  He did not see the fine print at the bottom of the screen that your purchasing site is provided by ELEMENT5.  When he got the conformation e-mails that he said he made a purchase from ELEMENT5 instead from Avast, he thought that he he had been scammed, then when he searched the internet all he could find was how people had been charged for things that they didn't buy and all the charges were from ELEMENT5.  At this point he went back to your site and called the number listed for tech. support.  The tech. that answered the phone said that he could not help him install Avast unless he accessed his computer, he then had him enter a number of commands during a chat session, until he was able to access his computer.  After a short time the tech. showed him a screen with with several warnings showing that he "had the ruminates of Norton and McAfee" on his computer and that it could turn into a virus if not taken care of.  Also, that it was stopping him  from installing Avast, he then went on to say that a regular computer repair man would not be able to fix it, but for $169.99 they could fix it and any other problems his computer might have.  He did not enter into a service agreement with them and he did not pay the $169.99 fee.

I have since explained to him about the ELEMENT5 e-mails, downloaded and installed his full version of Avast, activating it with his lic. key.  All without any of the problems that the phone tech. refereed to.  Please note, it has never McAfee installed although it had Norton and AVG installed earlier, plus it had been running the 60 day trail of Avast 5 which installed and was running just fine.

I find one other thing very problematic, on your tech. support page below the two 1-877 numbers you say "Support is provided by our partner iYogi."  But on iYogi's Avast! Antivirus page they say "iYogi is an independent provider of on-demand tech support and not affiliated with avast!™."
I would think you would want your tech support "partner" to at least admit they are working with you?"

Offline Rifkin

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #23 on: March 28, 2011, 05:49:18 PM »
I am going to give you the email of the Avast Team member who is the liaison between Avast and iYogi and will be able to assist you better with your situation.  His name is Adam Riley, and his email is riley at avast dot com (no spaces).  Please reference this thread in your email.  I will also notify him that you will be sending him an email as well.

Thank you, however Adam is in fact the Avast Customer Relations Specialist that I am already in communication with.  And with our last communication he asked for and was given the e-mail address that was used for the support session with iYogi, so he can get a copy of the transcript from them.
Remember, according to Microsoft it's not a flaw, it's a feature.

Offline SafeSurf

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #24 on: March 28, 2011, 07:16:32 PM »
Adam is trying to work 1:1 with you to help you resolve your issue.  Yes, he does have your email, as I have discussed your issue with him.  Please respond to him as we are both trying to help you.  Thank you.  :)
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Offline Rifkin

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #25 on: March 28, 2011, 09:02:30 PM »
Here is the third update & Avast's second response.

From Avast!:

"Good morning,

Thank you for your reply and explanation.
Firstly, if you have details of the interaction with iYogi such as a reference number or the email address used with them I can request the call logs and ascertain the exact details of what was found and what happened.
Clearly you already know that it is important to remove traces of other antivirus software before installing a new one to prevent crashes/ false positives from occurring, though from your details it sounds like this was perhaps not explained properly.

For Element5, we use them as our online shop provider, however on card statements you should still be able to clearly see that it is an avast purchase.

Again I apologize about the inconvenience and can assure you that if you have the reference number etc from them I will look into this further.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,
Adam Riley
Customer Relations Specialist"

My Response:

"I do have the e-mail address used, which is xxxx@roadrunner.com .  I do
not know if he has gotten any e-mails from iYogi because he has not picked
up his system yet and his e-mail will not connect through our provider.

The first thing we do when we look at someones system is see what software
they have or have had installed, security software being high on the list.
Then we run a current offline scanner, then uninstall any problem software,
update the system and applications, then download and run Avast if they
don't have a paid subscription to something else.  That is why he had the
trail version of Avast 5 on at the time, because we had worked on it
earlier.

Of the three e-mails he received about his order they all say ELEMENT5 and
the one did say that the credit card bill would be DRI*avast.com.  The
invoice he received says Digital River, Inc. ELEMENT5.  What with all the
scamming and phishing e-mails containing bad links, I can see where a lot of
people would be very quick to think they had been scammed, when e-mails
about their purchases are not titled Avast!

Any and all information, I can provide about this matter is at your
disposal."


Remember, according to Microsoft it's not a flaw, it's a feature.

Offline zerospam

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #26 on: March 28, 2011, 10:13:49 PM »
Never -- never -- give anyone access to your computer unless you know who she is, not just who she *says* she is. Anyone can call anyone and say anything.

If you get an unsolicited email or call from someone asking you to download an application, or to give someone remote access to your computer, just ignore it. It's almost certainly a scam.

If you need help with your computer, use a well-recognized vendor, and initiate contact by visiting their website. If possible, use https instead of http to load their site, and check the digital certificate for validity using your browser.

Never give any information to someone calling you unless you personally recognize her. Tell her you'll visit the website of the organization she says she represents, and will conduct your business using information you obtain there. Then do so.

And remember that the best antimalware program is between your ears, not on your computer.

Offline YoKenny

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #27 on: March 28, 2011, 10:18:38 PM »
I think you should give up on computers if you think
Quote
Remember, according to Microsoft it's not a flaw, it's a feature.
;)

Maybe even an abacus is too complicated for you.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abacus
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Offline Adam Riley

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #28 on: March 29, 2011, 06:41:24 AM »
Thank you, however Adam is in fact the Avast Customer Relations Specialist that I am already in communication with.  And with our last communication he asked for and was given the e-mail address that was used for the support session with iYogi, so he can get a copy of the transcript from them.

I was indeed Customer Relations Specialist though recently promoted to Third Party Support Manager (I will get the title in my signature block changed today!  ;)  )

Moving on with the situation here, I think we have 2 clear issues here and I don't want them to be confused.

First, we use Element5 for our online shop provision, and though I realise that this is perhaps not made as clear as it could be during the purchase pages, we are making some behind the scenes changes to the platform we run with them soon, and this should allow us more flexibility in our messaging (for example in the confirmation emails).  Therefore withing weeks there should be some more clarity there.

Secondly, we use iYogi for our telephone support provision.  They handle many thousands of calls per week with exceptional results, however we are aware that there are, on occasion, a few things which could have been approached better by them or explained in more detail to customers for example.  To this extent, I posted my direct email address on the forum a few days ago, as did Ravi Neb from iYogi so that Avast users can immediately feedback to us should they have any comments/worries/concerns.  I would personally like to assure all Avast users who read this that any complaint to avast, regarding any aspect of our business is treated with the utmost seriousness.

I hope this gives a bit more of an insight into the way we work and explains a little more about what is happening behind the scenes. 

Best regards,
Adam

Offline Rifkin

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Re: New e-mail/phone scam aimed at Avast users.
« Reply #29 on: March 29, 2011, 11:34:28 PM »
Third reply from Avast!

"Good morning - ,

Thanks for the information.  I will send the email address across to iYogi and get a copy/breakdown of the call logs so we can see exactly what happened there.

- I would really like to stress that I understand the points you are making on this and I will continue to work with you until you are happy that the situation has been clarified/rectified.

Thanks again,
Adam"

Hey Adam, congrats. on the position upgrade!

Remember, according to Microsoft it's not a flaw, it's a feature.

 

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