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Don't Fall for Tech Support Scams

The abundant use of technology is bringing a flood of tech support scams. Posing as representatives of reputable companies, scammers are offering anything from free security scans to helping you with your “infected” computer. And what’s worse, they’re very convincing. 

How It Works

Scammers may call, place alarming pop-up messages on your computer, offer free software scans, or set up fake websites. These are all ploys to obtain your information. Specifically, scammers may use the following tactics to convince you: 

• Pretend to be from a well-known company like Microsoft or Apple
• Use technical terms to confuse you 
• Instruct you to get on your computer and open files which they will then say are      infected

Once they’ve convinced you there’s a problem, they might: 

• Ask you to give them remote access to your computer where they will change settings leaving your computer vulnerable to attack
• Trick you into installing malware that gives them access to your computer and sensitive data
• Try to sell you software that’s worthless, or that you could get elsewhere for free 
• Try to enroll you in a worthless computer maintenance or warranty program
• Ask for credit card information so they can bill you for phony services, or services that may be free elsewhere
• Direct you to websites asking for your credit card number and other personal information

Remember, never click on suspicious links, give anyone control of your computer, or send any money.

What To Do If It Happens 

• If you get a phone call, just hang up. 
• If you get a pop-up message to call tech support, ignore it/close the window. There are legitimate pop-ups from your security software to do things like update your operating system. You’ll never be prompted to call a number that pops up on your screen about a problem. 
• If you’re concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly – look for the number online, on a software package, or a receipt. Never call a pop-up number. 

If You Were Scammed

• Get rid of the malware. Update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete anything the software says is a problem. 
• Change any passwords that you shared with someone or that you believe they could have access to.
• If you paid for any services, call your credit card company immediately and ask to reverse the charges due to fraud. Check all financial accounts to make sure there are no unauthorized charges or withdraws.  

Remember, real tech support companies will never ask you for your account passwords, call randomly to gain remote access to your computer, or call randomly to solicit payment for service.

Source: Federal Trade Commission