How a man’s bargain laptop landed him and his friends in court for unpaid bills
A shocking scam has come to my attention that acts as a warning to anyone looking for a bargain computer on the internet.
A reader named Larson wrote to me to reveal how he had fallen prey to tricksters after buying a new laptop.
Larson told me how he searched online for a bargain last August.
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He came across a company, found a machine at a great price and bought it with his credit card.
The laptop arrived within three days and was in pristine condition and perfect working order.
So far so good.
Larson was so chuffed that he told some friends about the site.
Three of them followed his lead and bought new laptops, also delighted at the bargain prices.
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But in December Larson learned it was all too good to be true.
Not because the laptop was faulty – but because it had been used as a tool to scam him.
Larson received a county court judgment for failing to repay a short-term loan taken out in his name. He then discovered that several other finance agreements had been taken out in his name.
At first he didn’t link this to the laptop itself. But when he heard that two of his other friends had experienced the same issues, he had a terrible sinking feeling all was not well. The pals asked an IT expert to examine the laptops.
It turned out the machines had spyware installed, meaning everything could be accessed and seen remotely.
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The expert explained that crooks could see emails, documents and files stored on the laptop and could access all websites used by the machines – which in Larson’s case included online banking.
After raising the alert, he and his friends can get their credit files put right and the finance deals in their names removed.
But this can be a long drawn-out process and it can take time to restore your credit ratings after events like this.
It shows how careful you have to be when buying from unknown vendors online.
In this case the crooks won. By the time Larson and his pals searched for the vendors again their online site had vanished.
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But still, highlighting scams like this is the most effective way of eradicating them.