Experts are warning businesses in the market for IT support to be sure to do research before handing over any money to phony overseas IT contractors.
The Better Business Bureau has received over 50 reports about a China-based firm that has tricked dozens of people out of anywhere from $3,000 to $30,000 for IT support.”
Chris Babin, with the Better Business Bureau, said, “This scam would mostly apply to businesses that are looking to outsource some IT work. Whether that be work on their software, create a new database for them, potentially a new website, helping them with anything Internet or computer related in their office.”
Here’s how the scam works:
You are looking to hire a company to help develop software, set up a call center, build a website, or perform other technology work. You see an ad online for an IT company with a strong track record and competitive prices.
“Some of them have been phony websites,” added Babin. “They’re online browsing looking for a company that they can use, and they click on a website or go to a website via an ad and the company is a scam company.”
At first, this firm appears to be everything it claims. You may even speak to someone who claims to be the CEO, but once the so-called “IT contractor” receives your upfront payment, everything is not what it seemed to be.
“The majority of the complaints that we received, they’re not getting anything at all, and in a few instances, they got something that was maybe similar to what they requested, whether it be a piece of a website or some graphics or something, but it’s very low-quality and not at all what they asked for,” explained Babin.
The Better Business Bureau said companies who fell victim to this IT scam say they got counterfeit products or simply never received their order.
When hiring an IT contractor, whether for a home or business project, here’s tips you can follow:
- Make sure you ask for references from the contractor.
- Don’t by tempted by low prices. Overseas firms may advertise low prices, but hiring a local company with a strong track record may say you money.
- Arrange a payment schedule. Never pay in full upfront.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.