Look Out for Tech Support Scams
March 1, 2023
We have received an increasing number of reports in recent weeks of customers falling victim to a type of scam known as a tech support scam. In this type of scam, the victim encounters a pop-up on their computer that looks like a normal notification you would receive from your system or antivirus software, often using logos from trusted companies or websites. The notification warns you about a security issue on your computer and instructs you to either call a phone number for help or to click a link to a spoofed tech support page.
There are a number of things scammers will try to do in these types of scams:
Install malware on your computer. Scammers will pose as tech support in order to convince you to give them remote access to your computer and then pretend to run a diagnostic test. What they are actually doing is installing malware or keyloggers onto your device so they can steal your personal information.
Steal personal information. Scammers create phony websites that look like the real deal to prey on your trust and convince you to enter personal information into their fake site, which then allows them to steal your identity and commit fraud.
Ask for money. A scammer will pose as a tech support representative, pretend to fix whatever issue the pop-up claimed was wrong with your computer, and then charge you for their "service." If someone asks you to purchase gift cards as payment, it is definitely a scammer. Legitimate businesses will never ask for gift cards as payment.
If you receive a pop-up notification on your computer that includes a phone number or asks you to click a link, do not call the number or click the link! Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number or click on a link. Legitimate tech companies will also never contact you by phone, email or text message to tell you there's a problem with your computer.
Your best defense against these types of scams is keeping your computer's security software up-to-date. If you think you are being targeted by a tech support scam, do not click on the notification and instead have your security system run a scan of your computer for malware. Should you need any help fixing a problem, go to someone you know and trust. Visit your manufacturer's website directly to find online support or a phone number for their tech support.
What To Do If You Were Scammed
If you gave the scammer remote access to your computer, update your computer's security software, then run a scan and delete anything the scan identifies as an issue.
If you gave login information a tech support scammer, change your passwords right away. Make sure you also change the password on any accounts or sites with the same password. Make sure you use a strong password.
If you paid a tech support scammer with your credit or debit card, contact the credit card company or your bank immediately. Tell them what happened and ask if they can reverse the charges.
If you paid with a gift card, contact the company that issued the gift card right away to see if they can refund your money. Remember: legitimate businesses will not ask for gift cards as payment!