Is Dell infiltrated by scammers?

Michael Sharpe
5 min readDec 20, 2021

I recently attempted to buy a top-of-the-line gaming computer from Dell. An Aurora 13 loaded with an Nvidia 3090, 64 GB, decent SSD storage, and a great CPU. A dream machine for about $5000. It’s been a long, long time since I bought a machine. I typically buy components cheap over time and build a computer that is a couple of years behind the “state of the art”, but performs well. However, my most recently built computer unexpectedly died. I could not put a new machine together, partly because it is so difficult to buy parts. So I thought, to heck with it, and decided to treat myself to a Christmas present.

Even though I try to build computers myself and often just try to put good rigs together for fun by shopping deals over time, I have bought several machines through Dell. They had always been reliable, and I like to support American companies. Most of the computers I have ordered were just productivity machines and never top of the line.

About 6 months ago, I got an excellent HP Omen machine for my daughter for a great price and was impressed with its performance. Unfortunately, the build times for HP were a couple of months out. Instead, I configured a similar machine on Dell, and while it cost more, the build time was only a couple of weeks. So I ordered it. My bank texted me with a fraud alert within a couple of minutes, asking if I had just paid 5k at Dell. The bank denied the transaction. No big deal, I cleared that and expected Dell to re-run the card again. I got no email or call from Dell about this. That was concerning. But I ignored it.

After a few days, the order was still pending, and I became concerned. So I called customer support. This is where things started to get very strange. I asked them what the issue was and why they had not re-run the card. After all, this can’t be an odd situation for Dell right? Many people have a card that would get rejected with a sudden 5k charge. It should be a simple support procedure to re-run the card right? Apparently not.

I ended up getting routed through a few support people, but at the end of the day everyone was saying that they could cancel the order and create a new order, and I would not lose my position in the queue. But everyone mentioned that I would have to provide my credit card number to them to complete the order. This triggered me. In the end, I said I was not near a computer and would call back to cancel the order later. I just wanted to get off the phone to cancel the order online. After…

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Michael Sharpe

Senior Software Architect located in Houston, Texas