A US office supply retailer has been accused of scaring customers into buying repair services. One whistleblower, former employee Shane Barnett, told a Seattle based local news station, KIRO 7, that Office Depot customers were often told their computer was infected, when it was actually perfectly healthy.
When computers were brought to Office Depot, staff were required to run ‘PC Health Check', a diagnostics scan which showed malware infections nearly every time.
Employees would then offer to remove infections, for a fee. Reporters from KIRO 7 substantiated the allegation by taking several new computers to Office Depot stores in the states of Washington and Oregon. Four of the six computers brought to the stores were found to have a malware infection. Those reporters then took those computers to IOActive, who ran another scan, only to find no trace of the malware infection the Office Depot employees had offered to remove for a price.
The practice recalls the infamous ‘tech support scams' which still prey on unwitting victims, by contriving ‘serious' security problems on a prospective victims.