Archive for September, 2011

Microsoft pulls partner status over Windows PC help scam!

Microsoft has revoked the “Gold” status of one of its certified partners for its alleged involvement in an IT tech support scam. PC Pro reports that the software giant has taken steps against India-based Comantra. The scam involved Comantra employees, posing either as Microsoft employees or being associated with the company, cold-calling users, and after claiming that a virus had been detected on their computer, offered to remove it for a fee of up to £185 ($290 US).

Although Microsoft only acknowledged there was a problem this summer, Comantra’s practices have been going on for a while. As far back as in 2009, blogs have complained about the company’s inappropriate solicitations.

Comantra’s director, Rajesh Bajaj, has denied the allegations. He claimed that his employees follow a very specific scripted pitch in which the individuals being called are offered a computer “health check.” Bajaj also blamed his company’s competitors for the complaints.

Gold is the most elite level of Microsoft’s partnerships. It is not clear if Microsoft has just revoked Comantra’s Gold status or stripped it of its certification as a Microsoft partner at any level. Comantra is in discussions with Microsoft to get the firm’s partner status restored.

The Comantra scam appears to be independent of another recent Windows phone support scam. In that scam, which surfaced in June, con artists posing as computer security specialists called people at their homes, and, after advising the potential victim they were at risk of a computer security threat, offered a free security check. The callers then gained remote access or planted trojan horses to steal money.