Federal Trade Commission - HOW TO SPOT A TECH SUPPORT SCAM:
Learn how to spot and report Tech Support Scams:
The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C) to combat Internet crime, has released a Scam Alert advising the public of an ongoing telephone scam in which callers purport to be an employee of a major software company in order to defraud a targeted victim.
The IC3 has produced Scam Alerts in the past advising the public of an ongoing telephone scam in which callers purport to be an employee of a major software company. The callers have strong foreign accents. The callers report the user’s computer is sending error messages and numerous viruses have been detected. The caller convinces the user to give them permission to run a program allowing the caller to gain remote access. The caller advises the virus can be removed for a fee.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released an alert on tech-support themed telephone scams. In these schemes, fraudulent callers claim to be from legitimate technical support organizations and offer to fix computer problems that don't exist. Users should not give control of their computers to anyone who calls offering to "fix" a problem.
There’s a new twist on tech-support scams — you know, the one where crooks try to get access to your computer or sensitive information by offering to “fix” a computer problem that doesn’t actually exist. Lately, we’ve heard reports that people are getting calls from someone claiming to be from the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. Their claim? That your email account has been hacked and is sending fraudulent messages. They say they’ll have to take legal action against you, unless you let them fix the problem right away.
Here are few things to remember if you get any kind of tech-support call, no matter who they say they are:
- Don’t give control of your computer to anyone who calls you offering to “fix” your computer.
- Never give out or confirm your financial or sensitive information to anyone who contacts you.
- Getting pressure to act immediately? That’s a sure sign of a scam. Hang up.
- If you have concerns, contact your security software company directly. Use contact information you know is right, not what the caller gives you.
“Your computer is damaged ... we’ll help you fix it.” It’s the latest twist on tech support scams: Scammers sell software online that claims to increase your computer’s performance. They lure you to their websites with pop-up ads or web searches. Then, they tell you to call a phone number to activate or register the software. On the phone, they ask for remote access to your computer and then tell you that your computer has many errors that need to be fixed immediately.
It’s all part of their plan to sell you bogus “security” or “technical support” products or services. Really, your computer is fine. They want to charge you – possibly hundreds of dollars – for software and services that you don’t need and that doesn’t help.
What can you do to avoid similar tech support scams?
- Don’t give control of your computer to someone who says they need to activate software. Instead, look carefully at the software instructions to learn how to activate the software yourself.
- Don’t give control of your computer to someone who calls you out of the blue claiming to be from tech support. Instead, hang up and call the company at a number you know to be correct.
- Never provide your credit card information, financial information, or passwords to someone who claims to be from tech support.
- Learn how to protect your computer from malware.