If you get a call at your home from a tech support rep calls offering to fix a computer bug that you haven’t even noticed, use caution. In this con, scammers pose as tech support employees of well-known computer companies and hassle victims into paying for their “support.”
What happens is that get a telephone call or a popup on your computer screen from someone claiming to be with tech support from a well-known software company. Scammers use well-known companies to try to trick you into believing they are from a legitimate organization. In the case of these tech support scams, Microsoft is a popular choice. Scammer will try to create a sense of urgency by claiming that they've detected a virus, or your computer is about to crash and you’ll lose all your data!
You are told only a tech support employee can fix the problem, and you’re asked to allow access to your machine. Once access is granted, the caller will often run a “scan” and claim your computer is infected with viruses. The scammer then offers to fix the problem...for a fee.
That may not be the end of the scam. By allowing these scammers remote access to your computer they may be infecting your computers with viruses or installing malware on your computer. Malware often scans files in search of personal information, which scammers can use to commit identity theft.
There are a few things BBB wants you to know to avoid becoming a victim of these scams:
- Never give your password on the phone. Microsoft or any legitimate organization will NEVER call and asks for your password. Nor will they ask you to gain control of your computer out of the blue.
- Do your research. Online search results are not always the best way to find out about tech support companies. Scammers sometimes place online ads to convince you to call them. They boost their ranking in search results so their information appears above legitimate companies.Check with us first at bbb.org/cleveland to see if the company is reputable.
- Don’t give out personal information. Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from tech support. If you’re worried call your security software company directly and ask them for help.
Here are some additional computer safety tips:
- Never use the same password for all your online accounts. Create strong passwords with a combination of letters, number, and special characters, and remember to change passwords regularly.
- Backup your data. Backing up your files regularly can help when the unexpected happens.
- Use a secure connections. To determine if a website is encrypted, look for https at the beginning of the web address on every page on the site (the “s” is for secure).