All You Need to Know About Tech Support Scams

How the scams play out

In a tech support scam, a target may have an unresponsive computer with a message, get an email, text message, pop-up or even a phone call allegedly from a computer technician who works for a well-known company. The “rep” will offer to help with any computer issues they may (or may not) have. They’ll direct the target to call a specific number or click on an embedded link, which will connect them to the “rep” who can supposedly help them. Once connected, the scammer will ask the victim to pay for the services before they’re rendered using a wire, prepaid gift card or cryptocurrency. Once the payment is made, the scammer disappears.

We’ve also recently been made aware of support scams where the fraudster receives remote access to the victim’s computer and asks the individual to log into their digital banking platform. These scammers then have access to digital banking credentials and account information.

Red flags of technical support scams

  • You get an unsolicited message or phone call offering tech support for an issue you aren’t having.
  • Your computer may be unresponsive playing an alert audio with a phone number to call.
  • You’re required to pay for tech support by wire transfer, prepaid gift card or crypto.
  • A pop-up message appears claiming there’s a security issue with your computer and directing you to call a specific number. 

What you need to know about tech support

  • Legitimate tech companies won’t reach out to you by phone, email or text message to let you know your computer is having issues. 
  • Security pop-up warnings from authentic companies won’t ask you to call a number or click on a link. 
  • Legitimate companies won’t demand that you pay for a service by wire transfer, prepaid gift card or crypto. 
  • Logos are easily spoofed and should never serve as proof of a message’s true origin.

Protect yourself – Be vigilant!

If you run into technical difficulties with your computer, directly reach out to a trusted company and be sure your security software is up to date.

Never provide an unverified contact with access to your device or banking information.

If you’ve been targeted

If you’ve given a scammer remote access to your computer, update your computer’s security software, then run a scan and delete anything that’s flagged as a problem. If you’ve shared your login credentials with a scammer, change all your passwords.

If you’ve provided any credit card or banking information, contact the institution and relay the situation.

Report the scam to the FTC

Stay safe!

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