I decided to take advantage of the Holiday savings over at Dell to get my hands on a new work computer. What I didn’t expect was the scam phone call that came in minutes after closing the chat. And it wasn’t a particularly convincing call either.
It started off simple enough finding a nice deal with 32 Gigs RAM, 1 T SDD, and 1 T standard hard drive. It came with a simple RTX 3060 TI which after looking at some benchmarks was just as fast or faster than my aging RTX Titan (which is less than a couple of years old by the way).
I had some questions but the configuration was close enough to what I wanted, and the price had a $600 discount to sweeten the deal. I saved the cart and looked around and found nothing comparable in terms of configuration and in most cases not even close to the discounted price of the Dell.
This is an XPS model which used to be my favorite pc until Dell quality went downhill years ago. Now it seems that Dell's quality has at least recovered enough to be comparable to their competitors. The computer sellers offer no returning customer discount, so my loyalty is price-based. The HP Omen is a good machine, but I couldn’t find one that came close at price to the Dell configuration.
At this point, I got on the Chat that slides out from the right side of the Dell website. It required a phone number, and, like an idiot, I put my real number in there. After I was finished with the Chat it was just a few minutes when my phone lit up with a number I was unfamiliar with. The caller claimed to be from Dell and would help me with my purchase which was mistakenly made as a business account versus a personal account.
They also asked for the name on the order. This was just too many red flags so I told the lady I would call her back to verify the call, to which she meekly said something I couldn’t understand. Her English wasn’t bad, but it was obvious it wasn’t native to her, and Dell support sounds the same. Hard to tell who is legit.
I hung up and called back to get a message that it was not a working number. It was a call that just didn’t feel right from the beginning. They were fishing for information that should have been in front of them.
After this, I called Dell and was eventually put through to fraud prevention which turned out to be an absolute joke. They wouldn't address it. I related what had happened and asked how this was possible, but the Dell rep refused to answer that question and rambled on about other things.
In the end, we canceled my order, and I went with a different method of purchasing the computer online. I also read in many places that Dell Support doesn’t initiate contact in that manner but those were not from the Dell website.
With the holiday season around the corner, it’s time to be vigilant with online orders. I would further recommend you never click on an email link if you can avoid it. Instead, go to the website directly and do what has to be done, if at all possible.
Stay vigilant, be over-cautious, and have a happy holiday season while making sure the scammers don’t even get as much as a lump of coal.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.