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All You Need to Know About Tech Support Scams

All You Need to Know About Tech Support Scams

There’s little in life that’s more frustrating than a computer that won’t do its job. But sometimes,  like your own private miracle, a message appears on your screen. It says: “Technical difficulties? Click here for assistance.”


Unfortunately, if you follow these instructions, you’ll probably fall directly into a scammer’s trap. Here’s what you need to know about technical support scams and how to prevent yourself from falling victim.


How the scams play out


In a tech support scam, a target will 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.


Red flags of technical support scams


  • You get an unsolicited message or phone call offering tech support for an issue you aren’t having.

  • 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


Don’t fall for a tech support scam!


First, if you run into technical difficulties with your computer, don’t wait for a rep to contact you to offer assistance. Instead, directly reach out to a trusted company.


Also, if you believe there may be a problem with your computer, update its security software and run a scan to identify any potential problems.


Finally, never provide an unverified contact with access to your device.


If you’ve been targeted


If you believe you’ve been targeted by a tech support scam, here’s how to mitigate the damage.


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.


You’ll also want to report the scam to the FTC.


Stay safe!

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