"With modern technology constantly changing, it can be difficult to keep up with. We're here to bridge the gap." - Mike Peterson
Our founder, Mike Peterson, started Computer Medics in 1999 as a sole proprietor out of his home office in Fort Myers, FL. He saw a growing need for onsite computer repair and training, especially among older adults who were just beginning to purchase computers. The business name was chosen patterned after the old time doctors who made house calls, which some of the older seniors could recall. Mike built the business through offering computer classes and technology seminars in different retirement communities, coupled with superior customer service and dedication to “going the extra mile.”
The first major milestone came in 2005 when Mike moved the business to Briarcliff, still operating out of his home, but on a much larger property among other service businesses. During the next few years, the business grew rapidly, but it never lost sight of superior customer service, such as answering phone calls, scheduling appointments quickly, and creating an environment where the customer's questions would be answered in plain English and not technical jargon.
In 2007, Computer Medics began to offer remote assistance support. We anticipated this change would become widely accepted and loved by our customers. This service was made available to local residents as well as those with Northern summer homes. Florida's businesses are dictated by the change in seasons and Computer Medics is no exception. This new remote support offering helped smooth out the seasonal nature of the business and made it stronger.
Over the next few years, Mike saw the growing need for customers who wanted to drop off their computers for repair and began to build the inshop business. However, in 2013 the large influx of customers at Mike’s home necessitated a move to a retail location. Metro Parkway provided Computer Medics with a new place to call home.
Later, Mike saw the growing need for business to business computer and networking support and decided to create a new business division dedicated to their special support needs. Additionally, he recognized the need to provide faster guaranteed turnaround times for inshop service and priority onsite service appointments. This proved to be a great success and added greater customer service.
Today, Computer Medics takes pride and pleasure in providing superior customer service by offering guaranteed, prompt, professional, and reliable computer and networking support for home and business clients via onsite, inshop, and remote service.
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Letter from Mike
This month's newsletter is going to be focused solely on computer scams and how to avoid them. We are receiving 5-10 calls PER DAY from our customers who have been duped by scammers seeking to compromise their computer and personal information. It is a sad thing to hear, especially since most of our customers are seniors, and they are the most vulnerable. Hopefully we can educate our family and friends and put these scammers out of business.
There are several types of scams that have been going around lately. These are the most common we have seen. The first example is a pop-up window appearing in your browser, stating: "Critical Microsoft Edge Error. Your accounts have been compromised. You must login to your Microsoft Account to verify your information." If you proceed to enter your Microsoft Account email address and password, you are providing the scammer with your personal information which they can use to inflict real damage to your computer and personal identity. In reality, the pop-up is just a new tab in your web browser and if the tab is closed, the popup window will disappear and no harm is done to your computer. This scam is most commonly seen in Microsoft Edge. Sometimes you may need to force your web browser to close using CRTL+ALT+DELTE and use the Task Manager. Or if that does work, simply power off the computer by pressing and holding the power button for 15 seconds.
A second example is a popup window that starts flashing red and is accompanied by a robotic voice talking to you. It is meant to scare people into calling a toll-free number on the screen for help. If the number is a called, a scammer will ask you to let them connect to your computer to "fix the problem." They will convince you to sign up for their remote assistance service plan and ask for your credit card. The reality is that the popup windows is just an advertisement that was spawned from a website. These scammers can purchase ad space on a website (even legitimate ones like AOL and Yahoo), and if you click anywhere on the web page those ''On-Click Ads'', it will spawn the flashing pop-up window.
A third example is a "robo-call" from "Sarah at Microsoft" on your land-line or cell phone. The automated voice tells you that your Microsoft software has been discontinued and Microsoft has filed for bankruptcy. The voice will ask you stay on the line to speak to a representative, and then someone with a Middle Eastern accent will come on the line and try to convince you to let them connect to your computer.
A fourth example is a pop-up window that warns the victim that they have been infected or could be under a threat of being infected with a vicious malware or virus that will severely damage their operating system and data. They are directed to a toll-free number after which a scammer will connect to your computer and infect the computer with malware and viruses, which is "confirmed" by third party website (really just a different website the scammer owns. They you will be convinced to pay the scammer to reverse the damage the they caused. If you do not pay, they will threaten to remotely wipe your computer and you will lose all your programs and data.
During some of these scam attempts, the scammers will get creative and ask the user to go to Walgreens, CVS or Wal-Mart to purchase a MoneyGram, iTunes gift card, MoneyPak, or other money gifting methods. The customer will give the scammer the code off the gift card to pay for the "cleaning" instead of using their credit card. This makes it next to impossible to recover the money that is lost. We have real-life examples from our customers who have paid over $1000 to scammers with these payment methods.
How should you respond if you a victim of one of these types of fraud?
First and foremost, stop all communication with the scammer. Second, call Computer Medics to talk through what has happened and get advice on what to do next. We do not charge for these calls. Lately we have been receiving 5-10 per day. Third, if you have provided the scammer with your email address and password, you should immediately change the password for that account. Fourth, if you have given the scammer access to your computer, you should have it cleaned immediately by one of our technicians remotely, in our workshop, or on onsite. Fifth, if the scammer proceeds to call you back (and they normally will), threaten to call the Lee County Sherriff Department Fraud Division at 239-477-1242. This is not an idle threat. Lee County has dedicated deputies assigned to fraud cases like these. Most of the time when our customers mention the Lee County Sherriff Department, the scammers will not call again.
In conclusion, if you ever run into any of these scamming methods, do not click on the screen or call any phone numbers, unless it is ours. If someone calls you on the phone, do not answer and hang up immediately if you happen to pick up the call. If you happen become a victim, please call us and we will give you advice on how to proceed.