PHOTO: According to the charges, the suspect allegedly used WindowsPCServices.com to execute the scam. Forum Photo by Michael V. Cusenza
By Forum Staff
A Jamaica man has been charged with computer trespass, falsifying business records, and other crimes for allegedly being part of a scheme that attempted to con $2,000 from a Flushing resident. The alleged scam included placing a cold call to a computer user then claiming to be a Microsoft computer technician ready to remove dangerous viruses from the trusting resident’s home computer.
“The defendant is alleged to be part of a complex scheme that used savvy computer skills to first manipulate an unsuspecting Queens resident into believing that viruses infected her computer and then convincing the victim to permit the caller remote access to her computer. Computer users must be extremely careful in allowing remote access to their computers. Personal and financial information is just a click away and in the wrong hands can be devastating,” District Attorney Richard Brown said last Friday.
Julian Alexander, 56, was indicted on Thursday on charges of computer trespass, first- and second-degree falsifying business records, first-degree scheme to defraud, second-degree identity theft, fourth-degree attempted grand larceny and unauthorized use of a computer. Alexander was held on $100,000 bail and ordered to return to court on April 26. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.
According to the criminal complaint, a call was placed to the home of a Flushing resident last September, with the caller identifying himself as a Windows/Microsoft technician. Alexander is alleged to have then told the woman that there were viruses on her computer and instructed her on where to find them. The caller then allegedly claimed that he could remove the viruses for a fee of $199, and the victim agreed.
The victim was then shown how to download remote access software that would permit him access to her computer. She was then told the viruses had been removed. However, the “technician” called back the next day, stating the viruses were still on her computer and offered to refund the $199 fee. The caller allegedly again asked to remotely access the computer, and the victim acquiesced. The “technician” assisted her with accessing her bank account online and then proceeded to make the “refund.”
According to the charges, the “technician” then said he had made a mistake and deposited $2,000 into the account and requested that the victim wire it to WindowsPCServices.com. The victim did indeed see there was $2,000 more in the account (which had been transferred from the victim’s other account). A “supervisor” then came on the phone line and stated that the “technician” would be fired if the victim did not wire the money, at which point the “technician” began to cry and the victim, suspicious, disconnected the call.
An investigation of WindowsPCServices.com revealed that the website is registered to an individual by the name of Ruhaan Ansari with a home address in India. Alexander allegedly stated that this was his business partner and that he was a joint venture partner of WindowsPCServices.com. A search warrant was executed on the defendant’s laptop and a forensic examination allegedly found 155 emails from people alleging fraud and improper use and access to their computers.
Brown urged anyone who believes that they may have been a victim of this type of fraud to contact the Economic and Environmental Crimes Bureau at (718) 286-6673.