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Overseas sellers taking advantage of Newton computer users

Adam Vandall is frustrated to see his clients being taken advantage of.

In the past few months, Vandall, who is the owner of Computer Pro in downtown Newton, has had more than a handful of his clients report calls they received from a company that has sold them security software Vandall says doesn’t work. The price tag: usually hundreds of dollars.  

“It’s been multiple clients and not just the completely computer illiterate,” Vandall said. “These are smart people, and they’re basically being taken advantage of.”

The caller will tells users their computer is infected or at risk to be infected. Vandall says they somehow establish credibility to sell the useless product to his customers.

“And they come in like a white knight with this product, and it’s total garbage,” Vandall said.

Vandall said his customers aren’t being targeted and that there are probably more cases that aren’t getting reported, as he only hears about the calls his customers receive.

The software being purchased from this unnamed company isn’t exactly malicious software, but to install it, you have to give access to the seller. During that process the seller may install other malicious software, like a keylogger, which records all the keystrokes.

“When I see companies out there basically taking advantage of people, it just really ticks me off,” Vandall said.

Vandall said these scams give legitimate businesses in the computer repair industry a bad name. Vandall said the sales people for this company are generally individuals with a heavy southern Asian accent, most likely based in India.

“They’re getting these (telephone) numbers and calling these people and basically ripping them completely off,” Vandall said. “It’s one thing to charge a fee or price that is comparable to the quality of your work. It’s a whole other thing to charge an outrageous amount and give them a garbage product.”

Vandall said he’s read reports of other companies doing the same thing. The software that is being sold is called Advanced System Protection.

When surfing the web, Vandall said your computer is never 100 percent safe, but much like owning a car, precautions can be taken to protect important data.

“You’re better off with a free anti-virus,” Vandall said.

Vandall recommends AVG antivirus or Avast antivirus. For better protection, Computer Pro carries Bitdefender.

“It’s been consistently in the top three or five for the last two years,” Vandall said.

Vandall said it is also prudent to be judicious in surfing habits and always be a little paranoid.

“It’s probably happening a lot more than what I’m hearing about, but it’s definitely out there, and it’s definitely a problem,” Vandall said.

Staff writer Dave Hon may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at

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