How to Spot a Sham Computer Repair Service?

Our work and life, previously chained to ink, paper, and physical locations, is now digital. This transition has brought conveniences, efficiencies, and savings that are hard to ignore, but the more digital our lives have grown, the less aware we have become to the vulnerabilities we face. These vulnerabilities apply to our private data, which has been repeatedly mishandled by large firms. It also extends to how little we know about keeping our tech safe and secure.

A shady computer shop could not only steal components or the whole computer; it can also steal sensitive data. Data on your computer could be a bank or credit card information, access to personal and business platforms like social media, or a company business platform.

Warning signs that a repair service might not be reputable

In a connected world with intuitive, personalized service, it may seem natural that a computer repair shop calls you for repairs. The caller will ask for remote access to your computer and even run programs that look legitimate, but it can all easily be a scam. If you didn’t ask for the service, then do not even answer the call. This was the case during the Skype computer repair alert scam, wherein users got a call from scammers requesting remote access to their computers.

Finding a reputable computer repair shop requires more than an internet search. Scammers can structure their websites to rank highly on search engines and even have ads. Two fake tech support scammers used pop-ups ads to fleece 7,500 (mostly older people) of $10 million over three years.

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If you realize that the repair shop you just paid is a sham or scam, then there is some recourse for you.

  • If you made the payment by credit/debit card, then you can reverse the transaction.
  • If remote access was granted, then you will need to do an immediate scan from recently updated antivirus software. Then, quarantine or delete anything it finds.
  • If you gave out your usernames or passwords, then immediately change them.

How to avoid sham shops

Computer repair shops that give inadequate or shoddy service are finding it harder to hide in an internet-connected world. A simple way to vet service is to search for reviews online. The internet has great resources- like Yelp and Foursquare. Search for reviews that touch on the service factors that matter to you like price, professionalism, efficiency, reliability, and so on.

A reputable computer repair shop should have a physical location along with credentials. A real-world visit to the shop can tell you volumes about their operation and the equipment they use. A red flag is if the shop uses off-brand components or pirated software. While onsite, you can ask to see their business license and review their insurance. Insurance is essential when it comes to liability issues.

An upfront service charge is also an indicator of a sham computer repair shop.  You should only be charged if there is labor involved, for example, for clean-up or repair work. A service charge with no meaningful work is just profiteering, not a business interested in providing a service. And before they charge you, a proper shop will inform you before they make the charge and explain to you what it is for clearly. Office Depot was fined $25 million by the FTC for running a fake computer scan and then selling consumers computer software they did not need.

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Warranties are also a good indicator of whether the repair shop is a sham or not. Craftsmen will always stand by their work without charging extra, and that applies to computer technicians as well.

Your computer has a lot of sensitive data, so a reputable repair shop should have comprehensive data protection and privacy policy. This will protect your images, videos, bank information, and passwords from mishandling or theft.

Take care also to note the level of service offered. What is their level of onsite service? Are they easy to contact and responsive? The same level of scrutiny should be applied to their after-sales service. How receptive to queries about the repaired product are they? Is there a follow-up support service?

Put your digital work and life in the right hands

When the tech device that holds so much of your work and life is no longer working properly, it can be a disruptive and jarring experience. Although the best of us may try to repair a computer on our own, there will come a time when a computer repair shop is our only choice. Considering the sensitivity of data and the expense of computers, it is imperative that a computer is repaired by a reputable computer repair shop like Geeks on Site computer repair.

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