Technical support scams are attempted in a variety of ways, but they all have the same goal: to gain access to your computer.
More often than not, it’s a cold call with someone claiming to be from a legitimate company like Microsoft or Dell. Scammers also advertise on popular search engines such as Bing, Yahoo or Google, and make their websites attach to keywords in the search engines related to commercial products and services. Searching for seemingly harmless things like “Microsoft live chat,” “Facebook support,” or “Dell support”, might lead you to web pages containing contact information that connects you with criminals.
How To Help Spot A Tech Support Scam
- They call you. Microsoft, Dell, and other major companies won’t call you. They know that you will call them if you need technical support.
- Your caller ID says Microsoft, Tech Support, Dell, or something similar. Caller ID spoofing is common among tech scam artists. It helps them establish legitimacy and give you a false sense of security.
- They have a foreign accent but use a western name. International scammers will use a name like “Bill” or “Bob,” but will obviously be from another country.
- They use scare tactics. They will claim your computer is sending errors or spam, or try to convince you that your computer is infected with a virus that is undetectable by current scanners. Don’t be scared into letting the scammer take action on your computer.
- They ask you to open Event Viewer to show you error messages. This is a trick to gain your trust. Event Viewer almost always shows minor errors or warnings. That doesn’t mean your computer is infected with viruses.
- They ask you to go to a website and install a tool so they can remotely connect to your computer to fix the problem. The scammer wants to take control of your computer so they can steal your personal information or infect your computer with malware, ransomware, rootkits, and key loggers.
What To Do If You Have Been Targeted
- Scan your computer for malicious software by running a scan using your Anti-Virus program
- Seek professional advice from an IT Professional to help assess the security & integrity of your computer
- Report the issue to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#&panel1-1
Complaints from consumers help to detect patterns of fraud and abuse and help law enforcement to capture the abusers. The FTC would like to know about your complaint and their online Complaint Assistant will help guide you through the process.
To read more, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0346-tech-support-scams