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Plusnet Assist

wurzel
Grafter
Posts: 35
Registered: 13-01-2010

Plusnet Assist

How safe is Plusnet Assist ?
Twice last night,within 5 minutes,my browsing was interupted by Plusnet Assist
telling me I had problems with my emails.I allowed the programme to go through
its motions which ended with 2 emails telling me that I had not got a problem!!
BUT within 15 minutes I had a phone call from an Asian Gentleman who said he worked
for Visual PC Doctor telling me I had problems with my emails which he could sort out if
I gave him access to my PC.
He said he was based in London but would not give me his phone number.
Should I download Plusnet Assist ?
I have also had phone calls from other Asian Gentleman when IE9 has lost contact with
a safe (Norton) site and Microsoft has gone through its check procedures.
jim:red All caps in title changed as per Forum Rules mod:end
6 REPLIES
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,515
Thanks: 868
Fixes: 53
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: PLUSNET ASSIST

Presumably if Plusnet Assist interrupted your browsing you've already downloaded and installed the package? Was your question directed to asking if you should have done so? Provided you got it directly from Plusnet's website and don't have any malware on your PC it should be safe. Is your antivirus protection up to date, and have you done a recent scan?
Some people find Plusnet Assist is helpful, provided their PC fits the mould with standard settings, others, especially those with customised settings, find it's a nuisance.
Are you sure the emails you received weren't from a malware source? What problem was reported?
I assure you the phone calls you received claiming that problems have been detected with your PC are a complete scam designed to gain access to your PC to compromise it and steal personal information. Along the way they will usually ask for payment by credit card for fixing your PC. The usual ploy is to get you to browse to and view the Windows event logs where there are always entries that look authentic enough to convince unwary users that the caller is right.
Did you browse to a website as instructed by the callers and enter a "password" they provided? Or supply credit card details to them? If the latter applies I suggest contacting your card company immediately to seek advice and get the card cancelled.
David
wurzel
Grafter
Posts: 35
Registered: 13-01-2010

Re: Plusnet Assist

Hi Spraxyt,
Thanks for your interest.
I downloaded Plusnet Assist on Plusnet's advice about 3 months ago.
I have Norton 360 Premier and it is up to date.
The 2 emails I received were from and to my email address and stated:-
"Hi,this is a test message sent from Plusnet Assist.This demonstrates that your email programme
can send and collect email using the details you have entered.You can now delete this email message."
How do I check that this is genuine ?
I refused to touch my PC when I got these calls and told them the PC was in another room.
This morning I received an email from Microsoft Services asking me to fill in a survey.
I did earlier in the week phone Microsoft at Slough complaining I had received an Asian phone call
from persons purporting to be employed by Microsoft.
How do I check that this email is genuine ?
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,027
Fixes: 62
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Plusnet Assist

From memory - as part of the email settings verification Plusnet Assist sends an email from your account and then sends an automatic reply.
So in relation to those emails - don't worry
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,515
Thanks: 868
Fixes: 53
Registered: 06-04-2007

Re: Plusnet Assist

Yes, I think Oldjim's explanation of those emails is correct. They are nothing to worry about.
I suspect what triggered the Plusnet Assist alerts could have been Norton updating its virus signatures which tends to swamp the connection and potentially freeze data transfer for a short time while it puts the new definitions in place.
Plusnet Assist detects problems with the connection and with mail settings by contacting a few well known sites (including Google and Yahoo) to see if it gets a response. It probably does the same to the Plusnet mail servers to check that email is working.
I think it is most unlikely that the phone calls you received had any connection with those alerts - just coincidence. You did absolutely the right thing by declining to follow any of the caller's advice - they would be scam calls aiming to gain access to your PC to steal information and con you into supplying your credit card number. The chap referring to Microsoft would have no connection whatsoever with them, and would not have been supplied with any information by them - if you do a search on the Internet it isn't difficult to find lots of mentions of this scam.
As far as the email claiming to be from Microsoft is concerned, since you contacted them it is likely to be genuine. However is it addressed to you correctly using information you supplied on the phone, and does it quote a reference number for the call that you might have been given at the time of your call? I would check the email headers and also check where the survey was going to (again from the headers) before I considered completing it. See this obtaining headers Plusnet help page - it is safe to follow the link to spamcop.net on that page if you want to. Nevertheless if I completed it I wouldn't supply any personal information, Microsoft have no need of such information.
I realise checking headers might be somewhat beyond your skill level, and the experience is obviously causing you concern. If you are in any doubt the safest action is to ignore the survey.
For the future, if Plusnet Assist throws up any warnings about your connection or IE9 freezes for a while when you are browsing I suggest checking if Norton is updating at the time. If it is the problems are most likely related to that activity and after a short while things should return to normal without the need for any action.
Hope this serves to give you some reassurance.
David
David
wurzel
Grafter
Posts: 35
Registered: 13-01-2010

Re: Plusnet Assist

David,
Thanks for the advice.
Hopefully the phone calls will stop.
Cheers,
Wurzel
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,472
Thanks: 292
Fixes: 4
Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Plusnet Assist

[quote=wurzel]Hopefully the phone calls will stop.
Grin
You are having a laugh ? ? ?
We get this scam call between three and five times A DAY ! - the Indian call centre most frequently ask to talk to the occupiers of my house that died about TWENTY years ago.
They won't take us off their calling list as asked
They know the previous residents are dead
They know our computers are Linux and not Windows
Cry