We all need to beware of Online Tech Support Scams. These scams will usually involve someone impersonating a tech support person who wants to “help” you eliminate a virus or some other made-up problem with your computer. The scammer may call you pretending to be an employee from Microsoft or some other well-known company. They may also use an advertisement or pop-up chat window on your computer. They will attempt to get online remote access to your computer or get your credit card information from you by saying:
- Malware and/or viruses have been found on your computer and they will need to be deleted immediately.
- Your computer will be ruined and internally destroyed if you do not buy their software or allow them remote access your computer to repair the problem.
- You must immediately search for specific files on your computer. When you find the requested files, you will observe that they are related to real programs. Then the scammer will trick you into buying useless or possibly very harmful software.
To “save” your computer, the scammers may direct you to a phony website. They will then ask you to enter your credit card or other financial information that they will then steal. Or, it’s possible that the scammer may take online control of your computer and then refuse to give it back to you unless you agree to pay them.
10 Ways To Protect Yourself From Online Tech Support Scams
1. If you receive a phone call from someone who is claiming to be a tech support person, simply hang up.
2. If you get an unfamiliar pop-up window on your computer or personal device, close it immediately.
3. If you receive a suspicious or phony looking email or text message, delete it.
4. If you are called and asked to provide remote access to your computer, hang up the phone. You should never give control of your computer or provide personal or payment information to someone that you do not know.
5. Watch for, be aware of, and avoid suspicious websites and links.
6. You should regularly run current versions of the anti-virus software on your computer. There are legitimate pop-ups from your security software that will do things like update your operating system. But don’t trust any pop ups that are asking you to call a phone number because of a problem on your computer.
7. Do not be pushed into purchasing computer services or software. You should always do your own research. You can easily do an internet search with the software name followed by the word “reviews.” Be sure to only buy consumer software from well-known and trusted sources.
8. Do not trust or rely on caller ID on your phone. Scammers are very capable of changing the name and number listed on the caller ID system making it appear like they are calling from a legitimate business. If you’re concerned about your computer, you can directly call your security software company. You can do this by finding the company’s contact information online, on a software package that came with your device, or on your sales receipt.
9. You should never give out any of your passwords. No honest company will ever request your password information.
10. You can change your browser settings to block pop-ups from unfamiliar or unknown websites. If you receive a pop-up alert, do not click on it and do not call any of the phone numbers that are listed on it. If you receive an unwanted pop-up window, you can close your internet browser by following these simple steps:
- Apple users: You have the ability close your browser by using Force Quit. You can access Force Quit from the Apple icon menu or press Command+Option+Escape to open the Force Quit Applications window. Then select your web browser and click on “Force Quit.”
- Windows users: You can close your browser by utilizing the Task Manager. You press Ctrl+Alt+Del and click on Task Manager. Or you simply press on Ctrl+Shift+Esc. You then elect your web browser and click on “End Task.”
What to Do If You Are A Victim
Here is what you can do if you have been a victim of an Online Tech Support Scam:
- If you have allowed a scammer remote access to your computer, shut it down or restart your computer. That should end the remote session.
- Regularly use your anti-virus software to scan your computer. Then delete any suspicious files.
- Regularly change your passwords, including those that are linked to your computer, email, and any personal financial accounts.
- If you have paid for a phony tech support service or software with your credit card, call your credit card company or financial institution to reverse the charges.
- If you gave any other financial information to the scammer, or you think that they may have accessed that information, get in touch with your bank to report the fraud immediately.
- You need to beware of any follow up scams where the fake tech support company wants to offer you a “refund.” The scammer will request your credit card or bank information to be able make a deposit, however they will instead take money out of your account.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post on Online Tech Support Scams. I hope it provided a service to the reader or helped in some way. You are welcome to pass it on to someone that may benefit. If you have Comments or Questions, please leave them below. If you know of any other scams, please leave the info in the Comments section and I will be glad to investigate. Take care.