One of the worst things seen in the computer recovery industry is the outright scams and dirty tricks that are prevalent.

Lock Your Drive: You send your drive off to a company and they quote you $2000.. Yikes, that’s a lot, so you send it to a few other companies, but the other companies say they can’t get any data from the drive no matter what the cost. Ok, the original company, although expensive, must be good, since they’re the only ones that are able to get any data for you. It’s expensive but seemingly the only option. What may have happened, and it happens every day, is that original shop may have locked your drive with a password. Only they know what that password is now, so anyone else looking at it might not have access to the data… So they’ve in essence locked you into their service and their price—You have no other option.. Dirty….

Clone Then Ruin Your Drive: A similar dirty trick is where a company may get your drive and then quote you say, $3000. Of course you say no to that and want them to send it back to you. In the meantime, they’ve already cloned the drive, so they have a good copy of the data on something back in their lab. They will then physically damage your drive in what looks like a naturally occurring way, which makes the data unrecoverable. So you get your drive back and send it to other shops… The other shops will look at the damage (which looks all legit) and tell you that they can’t get anything from a drive in that condition. Once again, the first company looks like a hero, being able to recover data from a drive that no one else can… So you send the drive back to them, which they receive, and they get the data from that clone they have. You walk away thinking, “Wow, that company was expensive, but they sure are great, they got it back when everyone else said it was impossible!”

Punishment for shopping price: Another dirty trick is where you send your drive to a company and they quote you. The pricing is high, so you want to shop it around. They return the drive to you and you send it out to a few other shops, getting quotes. I turns out that the first place was the best price, so you go back to them. However, they now tell you that “your drive has been opened in an unclean environment, which has contaminated the platter and now it’s going to cost another $1000 on top of that original quote”. Wow, now you’re mad at the other companies, since one of them must’ve opened your drive in a dirty environment and now it’s gonna cost you even more to get your data back! In reality, the original company might be scamming you. They will in essence punish you for shopping the drive around, and in the meantime, they will use this as a way to ruin the reputation of the other service companies you sent your drive to. We have seen this happen before and did an experiment to prove what was going on. We knew about this scam being used by a very large recovery house here in the U.S. We had someone pose as a customer send a drive to that service shop. They quoted the recovery and the fake customer asked to have his drive returned, since he couldn’t afford the amount. When the drive was received back from that original service shop, the fake customer just let the drive sit in his office.. About a month later, we had him put some stickers from our company onto the outside case of his hard drive (non-tamper stickers usually affixed to a drive after servicing or inspection). Note, the customer never opened up his hard drive, and he never sent it to us to open up. He simply took a few stickers and stuck them to the outside of the drive. He then sent the drive back to the original company. They received it and saw those stickers and assumed “oh, he sent it to someone else to get a quote.”- That original company then contacted the fake customer and told him, “your drive has been opened in an unclean environment, which has contaminated the platter and now it’s going to cost another $1000 on top of that original quote.” —- That’s right, they assumed his drive was sent off to a competing company (heck, the evidence was there because those stickers were there, right?). They tried to make the second company look bad, but in reality it exposed that they were indeed performing this scam.

In Conclusion: As a computer user, you are likely never really worrying about your important computer files like digital photos and videos, financial documents and digital music files. Yes, there are backup solutions readily available for a low cost, but most of us seem too busy to take time to ensure we’re protected. For that reason, many computer users find themselves panicking once a computer crash occurs. It is during this crisis that you must take time out to investigate your possible solutions and then find a truly trustworthy company to work with. Simply searching the web for positive reviews or “customer” recommendations is no longer a reliable way as this is being abused by fake review sites and paid-for customer review postings. A great way to find out more about a company is to use the old-fashioned telephone communication model. Call up the company and talk to them, hear what they have to say and ask many questions. Ask them to call you back and see if they do. Do they respond to you in a manner that satisfies your needs as a potential customer? If not, then they are likely to fail you even if you become a paying customer.