Fake Tech Support Phone Calls Still Costing Users Time, Money & Security
Scammers will do anything to make a buck – even if that means cold-calling people & telling them that their computer is infected with viruses that they’d be more than happy to remove for a fee.
Tech support phone scams have become quite the nuisance in the last few years & tens of thousands of folks across the globe – including the U.S, UK, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand & Canada – have been conned into forking over their hard earned cash for computer support services they don’t need.
The FTC even stepped in and threw the gavel at a six companies making bogus computer support calls in 2012, but ComputerWorld reports that has had little impact and consumers continue to receive phone calls from scammers.
How the Fake Tech Support Phone Call Works
The tech support scam begins with a random telephone call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft, “Windows Support” or something similar. There have also been reports of the scammer claiming to be from an antivirus firm such as McAfee, Norton (aka Symantec), or Sophos.
The imposter will claim that they’ve received reports that the target’s computer has been infected with a virus or some other form of malware and offer to remove it for a fee. The scammer typically instructs the victim to open Windows Event Viewer and will try to convince them that the harmless error messages are proof that their system is actually in need of repair.
From there, the scammer will offer to fix the machine for a fee (which can be hundreds of dollars) and urge the user to download & install a remote desktop program like TeamViewer, LogMeIn, Ammyy or Supremo.
Once the victim hands over their credit card information, the scammer will pretend to fix the non-existent computer issues, and/or upsell useless or Trojanized software.
Who’s Targeted by Tech Support Scams?
Computer support scams typically target Windows users; however, there are tech support scams geared towards Mac / OS X users as well.
Protect Yourself from Tech Support Scams
If someone calls you out of the blue saying they are from Microsoft or any other tech-related company, it is recommended that you:
- Do not give remote control of your computer unless you can confirm that they are actually a representative of a legitimate company that you are already a customer of, or that you contacted to perform remote computer repair.
- Decline their offer for computer repair or software.
- Do not provide any of your personal or financial information.
- Take the caller’s information down to report it to the proper authorities.
Did You Receive a Suspicious Tech Support Phone Call?
If you suspect that you are a victim of a tech support phone scam, you are strongly advised to:
- Report the call to the FTC.
- Change the password to your computer, along with any accounts that the scammer may have access to when they took control of your machine.
- Scan your computer with an antivirus solution (just make sure it wasn’t installed by the scammer!).
Have you received any suspicious tech support phone calls? Share your experiences below!