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http://www.phonesreview.co.uk/wp-content/phoneimages/2008/04/o2-logo.jpgSamsung Mobile

Saturday 30th November 2013, 15:20

@SamsungMobile Gripe, @O2 to the Rescue...

Just over a week ago my Samsung Galaxy S3 developed a fault where the wifi was failing to stay connected, kept switching itself off and on and ended up using all of my data plan for the month. Spoke to @O2 and they recommended sending off for a repair under warranty. The phone was handed in at the @O2 shop in the Metrocentre, Gateshead and sent off for repair. Yesterday I received a text from @O2 stating that my phone was ready to be picked up from the @O2 shop, I went in today and totally shocked at what I was confronted with...

@SamsungMobile repair center sent the phone back unrepaired as they had seen evidence of an unauthorised repair had been carried out on the mainboard near the processor and the warranty sticker had been removed therefore no repairs were carried out and the warranty was void. Totally dumfounded by this reponse, I challenged the assistant in the @O2 shop and said I'd had the phone from new and nobody had touched it before @SamsungMobile. The assistant didn't offer much help and said there is nothing they can do. After demanding to see someone in a senior role to plead my case, I spoke to the mananger on duty, he said as it was a weekend nothing could be done until Monday and asked for me to take my broken phone away and he would contact me in due course.

Leaving the shop rather infuriated by the way I was being treat (as a loyal customer of @O2 for over a decade), upon arriving home I sent an email to @O2 complaints department and then rang @O2 customer services to see if they could help, I was transferred to the @O2 repairs department and explained the situation. They then explained that @SamsungMobile have rigorous procedures in place at the repair center and they even accessed photographs of my phone during the repair process.

I pleaded my case for over an hour and explained that nobdy had opened my phone (it's MY phone, I should know whether someone has opened it or not), why would I allow anyone to open my phone, if I had a problem with my phone I would ask for @O2's assistance, like now, therefore @SamsungMobile is wrong.

Eventually @O2 backed my case and as a gesture of goodwill they offered to replace my phone with a brand new one and are going to send my phone to an external repair company for a second opinion and investigate the issue.

This is a company that has bent over backwards to help me and I'm glad they are going to try and get to the bottom of this fiasco, thank you and well done @O2, loyalty to their customers is formost, this is exactly why I am a veteran @O2 customer and will continue in being so for the foreseeable future.

@SamsungMobile, something has went terribly wrong in your methodical repair procedures, I hope you read this blog, investigate this further and take heed from @O2 and treat your customers with as much respect.

Written by Matthew McLeod.



Thursday 27th February 2014, 17:50

PayPal scam - Francisco Cortez - HighTech Telecom Technology...

Two weeks ago I received an email from someone named Francisco Cortez enquiring if I could bulk repair one hundred laptops twice a month and ship them to Puerto Rico, to which I replied that I could. Then I received another email from him explaining that his buyers were in the process of purchasing the laptops in Europe and when the deal was done they would send the payment for the laptops to me and I would forward the payment to the sellers and the laptops would be delivered to me for repair. Sure enough $10,000 was deposited in to my PayPal account. A few days later Francisco contacted me again and explained the deal had been made and could I send payment to the sellers in Poland and the laptops will be shipped to me, so I done a bank transfer from my bank to them.

I never heard back from Francisco for two weeks, until I received an email from PayPal for a chargeback. I had a look at the details of the chargeback and it was for goods not received. I emailed the person (Brian Meyers from www.reliant-technology.com) and asked what the chargeback was for and he emailed back with :-

"I purchased a NetApp package a few weeks weeks ago from a Francisco Cortez with High Telecom. The PayPal info we received was xxxxxxxxxxx@hotmail.com, Its been some time and the equipment never arrived. Are you familiar with this package or Francisco at all?"

I replied back explaining my dealings with Francisco Cortez and that I think we have been victims of an international fraud, of which he replied:-

"I forwarded this email to my controller/finance department.".

In the meantime I went to the police at Etal Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne to explain what has happened, they didn't want to know and just gave me a leaflet to contact an online fraud website (http://www.ActionFraud.police.uk/) of which I did - just to get a crime number.

I rang PayPal and explained the circumstances - they didn't want to know and said I have to pay the refund back, thanks PayPal.

It beggars belief that fraud is so easily accepted or ignored by the very protection barriers we all think we are behind, no wonder it is rife online and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future, I personally will never do business with any other country other than the UK.

So watch out folks for FRANCISCO CORTEZ from http://www.hightechtelecomtechnology.com - SCAM ARTIST from Puerto Rico!!


LATEST UPDATE 17/03/2014

I also believe Francisco Cortez is an alias for Michael Smart (Ironically).

Here is his pictures everyone:-

Francisco Cortez / Michael Smart / Ifeanyi Okoro Francisco Cortez / Michael Smart / Ifeanyi Okoro Francisco Cortez / Michael Smart / Ifeanyi Okoro Francisco Cortez / Michael Smart / Ifeanyi Okoro Francisco Cortez / Michael Smart / Ifeanyi Okoro


Currently still pursuing him.


LATEST UPDATE 18/03/2014

I have been informed by another local computer company that "Francisco Cortez" has continued to try and scam them even after they scammed ourselves, heads up computer repair companies in the North East or anywhere else in the UK for that matters, thanks Grahame.


LATEST UPDATE 24/03/2014

Received a phone call from Elliot at IT Solutions:-

"Hi Matthew, it's Elliott from Bournemouth IT Solutions. Just giving you a quick e-mail to recap what I told you so you can have something to go to PayPal with.

We received the money ($6000) through PayPal from Francisco Cortez on the premise of him paying for bulk laptop repairs. He then asked us to forward it to his suppliers to get the laptops, so we put the money into our business account and transferred it through. At this point I grew a little concerned and called PayPal to ask if we were in any danger, I was informed by a PayPal employee that there was no way they could claim the money back at all.

A week later we received an E-mail from Francisco claiming to be a third entity who had been scammed into buying parts from Francisco and given our PayPal address, at which point our PayPal account was deducted the $6000 and put into minus figures. I then rang PayPal and quoted the earlier employee, asking for an explanation at which point I was told it was simply a temporary deduction put onto our account while the transaction was under doubt, they then set our account back to normal figures and we were told that there would be no future action, that "PayPal do not get involved in disputes between buyer and seller and that it would have to be settled by the other party via court proceedings. "

Please let me know how you get on with this and getting to the bottom of the Francisco business, here's hoping this helps a little. 

Kind regards

Elliott Freemantle"

I will be contacting PayPal today and put my case forward to have this PayPal debt removed, thanks Elliot.

After speaking to PayPal, they explained that they would never have resolved IT Solutions case without them paying PayPal back as in my case, so no change with PayPal. I have left PayPal with my crime number and updated the police with all that has happened up to now and await a response.


LATEST UPDATE 29/03/2014

I now know that alias Francisco Cortez (alias Michael Smart) is in fact a Nigerian Scammer called Ifeanyi Okoro of Room 3 Sukal Apartment, Gulseren, Famagusta, Northern Cyprus. Telephone: 905338801402.

He runs a phoney website (http://www.hightechtelecomtechnology.com), if anyone has the misfortune to contact him to buy anything, he sets up the deal, hooks in computer repair companies in the UK to accept a payment from the buyer via PayPal.

He befriends women on the internet, involves them in a relationship, then gets the repair company to send the money to the girlfriend and cons the girlfriend with his money laundering scheme by getting them to send him the money and he thinks he's in the clear. Well no more...Inevitably, the computer repair companies get hit with a chargeback via PayPal from the original buyer.

He also uses Skype under username futurebillionaire1, there is more than likely others, Nigerian Scammers are usually quite sophisticated in their ways, but this one is not slippery enough for me.

I wonder why he's not answering my calls, because he is a coward and is trying to run and hide, well I am going to expose you at the highest possible level. I have an abundance of evidence against Ifeanyi Okoro for the relevent authorities should they take an interest as ActionFraud doesn't seem to want to bother.

Local & national Cypriot media and police informed.


LATEST UPDATE 31/03/2014

Ifeanyi Okoro has posted a smug picture of himself in his new attire, assuming he used our money to drape himself.


Smug Ifeanyi Okoro



LATEST UPDATE 19/07/2014

After requesting help from MP Catherine McKinnell, my case is being looked in to. Catherine has requested PayPal take another look in to my case and has also requested ActionFraud to explain why no "action" has been taken when they have been given a wealth of information regarding this international fraud as it was happening.

Agnieszka Warzala from the Escalation team at Ebay/PayPal has been in touch and asked me for a in depth explanation in to what really happended and to send all evidence on to her, finally PayPal have taken the time to listen instead of being initially obtuse. They have went away to investigate further and will get back in touch.

Awaiting a repsonse from Catherine regarding ActionFraud.


LATEST UPDATE 01/09/2014

Received a letter from MP Catherine McKinnell regarding ActionFraud. It states that my case was referred to Commander Stephen Head in the Economic Crime Directive who passed it on to the ActionFraud Team.


Same day received an email from ActionFraud...



"Dear Sir,

I refer to your correspondence with Catherine McKinnell MP, in which ActionFraud have been asked to provide you with an update to your report.  

ActionFraud is the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime, and takes crime and information reports on behalf of the police and gives advice and fraud prevention guidance. ActionFraud does not have investigation powers, however, the reports taken by ActionFraud are sent to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) which is run by the City of London Police.  

Your report was sent by ActionFraud for assessment by the NFIB. The NFIB’s systems assess reports of fraud and internet crime from across the UK, helping to build a national picture of where fraud and internet crime is taking place. Experts review the data from these reports to decide whether there is enough information to send to a UK police force for investigation.

ActionFraud have liaised with the NFIB who say unfortunately, your report did not contain sufficient viability of leads for the NFIB to pass it on to a UK police force for investigation. It is noted that the suspects appear to be in Poland and Northern Cyprus and your report indicates that you made a bank transfer to Poland. Therefore it is not possible for the NFIB to pass this to a UK police force, as it is outside their jurisdiction.

Reports at the NFIB are assessed daily for viable leads and links to other criminality and the data you have provided may link to another crime.

I regret that I cannot be of any further assistance.


Public Enquiries


Seems ActionFraud cannot assist as it's out of their jurisdiction because the fraud came in from outside the UK. Does this leave the door wide open for international fraud? If ActionFraud cannot deal with complaints of fraud coming in from outside the UK, who can "Barry"? Where is our protection?

All I can do now is thank MP Catherine McKinnel for her help with this matter and await Ebay/PayPal's decision regarding the $10,000 negative balance left in our PayPal account.


LATEST UPDATE 14/09/2014

Received a message from Viperac via Ebay messaging, seems there is another victim of Francisco Cortez, how many more were duped by this scam?


I read your publication on the PayPal scam you were victim to. I too was also a victim of this in Jan 2014.

I also reported to Action Fraud and Local Police but have heard nothing back since. Also, Action Fraud haven't even alerted anyone about this scam on there website or anything.

I wanted to ask if you ever heard anything back from your MP or even Action Fraud as I don't think Action Fraud have taken this seriously as I even gave them the bank account number and everything of the scammer.




LATEST UPDATE 14/06/2017

70+ Scams and How to Avoid Them - http://compari.tech/avoid-scams

The most comprehensive A-Z of common scams, schemes and fraud.

Many thanks to Sophie Hunt @ Comparitech.


Written by Matthew McLeod.



Wednesday 10th September 2014, 19:13


Laptop - Repair or Replace?


Students all over the UK are heading back to school.  One question about their computer lingers in their minds and the minds of their parents.  Should we repair it or replace it?  In this article we’ll go through several criteria to decide whether or not the system may be worth repairing or if it is best to replace it instead.  Most of these factors rely on answers you can provide, thus enabling you to make an informed decision as to whether or not repair is possible.

First and foremost, we highly recommend looking at how the computer has served its owner in the past.  Has it been reliable or flaky?  Systems that have been unreliable may be less worthwhile of an investment.  But systems that have performed well and grown sluggish or unstable over the years may be more worthwhile as repairs.  We recommend making this judgment based on the history of the computer and what amount of money may have been invested in it initially, how its performed and how much has been spent repairing it to determine if it makes sense to invest more money or replace it.

Secondly, how old is this computer?  If the machine is over 6 years old then it may not be worth repairing, but if it is 6 or younger then there’s some chance a cost effective repair may be worthwhile.  Age is an important factor because computers age both from usage as well as time passing.  The less a computer is used or at least the less intensively it is used, the more viable it may be for future usage.  The passage of time also has an effect on hardware components as well. Some may age from oxidization (or exposure to air), corrosion (humidity or liquid) and temperature changes.

Third, does the system fit your needs?  Is it physically compatible with traveling between classes?  If the system is too large or the keyboard is too small then that may make it difficult to travel with or use to take notes.  The form factor, durability, battery life, processing power and memory are all important considerations. Having a portable and lightweight system may be great  for taking notes and having a more heavy duty notebook may be better for classes that require more processing power or graphics rendering capabilities.

Finally, what kind of software does your school require?  Some schools may require Windows, Apple, usage of Google Apps, etc.  These may help to decide what kind of machine is the best bet for your needs.  Make certain that the system can perform according to the requirements of the classes being taken. Sometimes applications are cloud-based and very light on system resources, other schools may have more resource intensive requirements for certain classes. Because these variables are very school and course-specific, I recommend querying those institutions directly for a list of system requirements.If your current machine can handle everything the school will throw at you and it meets the first three criteria then it may indeed be worth investing in.

Personally I recommend everyone make their decisions on a case by case basis and weigh the pros and cons of all the options available.  This is a long term investment for educational purposes, but it is also one that may change over the course of the education process.  What served for the initial classes may not be ideal later on, so some degree of flexibility may also be appropriate.

If you have questions or want help figuring out whether your older system is worth fixing up, contact us.  We’re happy to help.  Pc-Direct has been serving the North East area for over 13 years helping families and small businesses.


Written by Matthew McLeod.


Friday 23rd October 2015, 08:37




ISP TalkTalk has been hacked with the possibility of millions of customer bank account details compromised.

The company, which currently has about four million customers, said it was "too early to say" how many were affected.

TalkTalk have said: "Identifying the extent of information accessed is part of the investigation that’s underway, the website was now secure again and it has contacted major banks to monitor for any suspicious activity on customers' accounts."

TalkTalk have contacted customers: "We are very sorry to tell you that on Thursday 22nd October a criminal investigation was launched by the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit following a significant and sustained cyberattack on our website on Wednesday 21st October."

In a statement TalkTalk said: "We would like to reassure you that we take any threat to the security of our customers’ data very seriously. We constantly review and update our systems to make sure they are as secure as possible and we’re taking all the necessary steps to understand this incident and to protect as best we can against similar attacks in future. Unfortunately cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and attacks against companies which do business online are becoming more frequent."

I's not the first time TalkTalk have been comprimised, in February TalkTalk customers were warned about scammers who managed to steal account numbers and names from the company's computers. TalkTalk then said it had sent the email to every customer although only a few thousand account numbers went astray.

In the latest incident, TalkTalk said in a message to customers: "We are contacting all our customers straight away to let them know what has happened and we will keep you up to date as we learn more."

"We have taken all necessary measures to secure our website following the attack. Together with cybercrime experts, the security services and the police, we’re continuing to complete a thorough investigation. We’ve contacted the major banks, and they will be monitoring for any suspicious activity on our customers’ accounts. We have also contacted the Information Commissioner’s Office."

TalkTalk advised customers to keep an eye on their bank accounts & credit cards over the next few months and anything unusual should be reported to banks and Action Fraud as soon as possible.

Action Fraud is the UK’s national fraud and internet crime reporting centre, and they can be reached on 0300 123 2040 or via www.actionfraud.police.uk.

TalkTalk said: "If you are contacted by anyone asking you for personal data or passwords (such as for your bank account), please take all steps to check the true identity of the organisation. Check your credit report with the three main credit agencies: Call Credit, Experian and Equifax - TalkTalk have vowed to offer all customers, one years free credit protection monitoring service.

Given today's online crimnal activity and the breaches TalkTalk and other organisations have suffered by hackers, Dido Harding, chief executive of #TalkTalk revealed: "'I can't confirm that the data has been encrypted", you have to ask yourself why, TalkTalk has not implemented encryption on their servers to protect their customers.

A hacking group called 'TalkTalk hackers' have claimed responsibilty, they appear to be cyber-jihadist group based in Russia.


Written by Matthew McLeod.


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