3 On Your Side

Alert: 'Typo Squatting' can take you to wrong website

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

Larry Lumsden uses his computer a lot and in some cases, he has to print something.

"The only time I print is when I make a reservation or a tee time or bank statements once a month," Lumsden told 3 On Your Side.

So, he bought a Hewlett-Packard computer. And, although it works like a charm now, Lumsden says he had some problems initially hooking it up.

"I'm not a high-tech guy,” he jokingly said, laughing.

The printer's manual suggested that consumers who experience difficulties connecting the printer should go to their website for assistance, and Lumsden did. At least he thought he did, more on that in a minute.

But, once he logged on, he started chatting with a guy that popped up in a chat box.

"All of the sudden, he asked me for my name and phone number and about two minutes later the phone rings." And he says, 'Go ahead and relax and I'll set up your computer for you."

Lumsden allowed the caller remote access into his computer and that's when he was told his printer was unable to be connected because his computer had a virus.

"He says I'll fix your computer and it will cost you $199.95 and I said wait a minute, I ain't got no money."

Ken Colburn is a computer expert with Data Doctors and says Lumsden was getting conned.

"So, this is a very common problem that we see today because of something called "Typo Squatting."

Colburn says that most likely, when Lumsden was typing in that legitimate Hewlett Packard website, he misspelled it and was automatically taken to a rogue website that looks like Hewlett Packard.

“They are squatters that are registering websites that are very similar to the legitimate website."

3 On Your Side tried it out by purposely misspelling Hewlett Packard's support website and look what happened. A window popped up with a guy asking for my name and number. After providing him the information, he immediately called.

"Hi, what's your name," 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper asked. “My name is Eric,” the caller responded.

After Harper told Eric he's having problems connecting a printer, he says he can help by tapping in remotely to my computer. Harper declined, but he did say if he found a virus after entering in remotely, he could clear it up for a price.

"There might be a problem in installation (of the printer) and that would be a one-time basic service charge,” he says. “So, there could be a service charge,” Harper asked. “How much will that be? "$99.99 "the caller responds.

3 On Your Side tells him we’re not interested and we hang up the phone.

Colburn, though, says he’s not surprised of the $99.99 offer.

"If they get you on the phone then it's let's make a deal time. They scare the heck out of you and say something is wrong with your computer," he said.

As for Lumsden, he eventually hooked up his printer successfully and says he’s glad he didn’t fall for the sales pitch. "The guy was trying to scam me.”

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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