The Basics of Tech Support Scams
Tech support scams typically involve a scammer who tries to trick you into giving them remote access to your computer or to pay them for unnecessary services. Once you give them access, they may install malware on your device in order to steal your personal information. Tech support scams are becoming increasingly common, and they can be very convincing. The scammers often use high-pressure tactics to get you to act quickly and may even threaten to delete your files or disable your computer if you don’t comply.
Common Tactics Used by a Tech Support Scammer
Tech support scams can appear legitimate but oftentimes, they are a scammer attempting to gain access to your personal or financial information. Here are some common tactics to watch out for:
- Pretending to be from a well-known company. Scammers will often claim to be from a well-known tech company, such as Microsoft or Apple. They may even use fake logos and websites that look identical to the real thing.
- Creating a sense of urgency. Scammers will make it sound like your computer is in imminent danger. They may say that your data is at risk or that you need to act quickly to prevent your computer from being disabled.
- Asking for personal information. Scammers may try to get your personal information, such as your credit card number, by asking you to enter it into a “secure” website or program. They may also ask for your login credentials for email, social media or other accounts.
- Offering a “free” security scan. Scammers may offer to scan your computer for viruses or malware. They may claim to find a problem and then offer to fix it – for a fee.
- Requesting remote access to your computer. Scammers may ask for permission to remotely access your computer in order to “fix” the supposed problem. Once they have access, they can install malware or steal personal information.
- Promising a money-back guarantee. Scammers may tell you that you can get a refund if you’re not satisfied with their services. However, they will likely keep your money and never provide a refund.
If you are contacted by someone offering to fix your computer, be wary. Reputable companies would not reach out to you directly by phone or text message to provide technical support.