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Fraud Talk: Tech Support Scams

posted on Wednesday, October 30, 2019 in Security & Fraud Information

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Real Fraud Stories for Real Things to Be Aware Of...

Tech support scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer, like a virus. They want you to pay for tech support services you don't need, to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. They often ask you to pay by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, prepaid card or cash reload card, or using a money transfer app because they know those types of payments can be hard to reverse.

Tech support scammers may try to lure you with a pop-up window that appears on your computer screen. It might look like an error message from your operating system or antivirus software, and it might use logos from trusted companies or websites. The message in the window warns of a security issue on your computer and tells you to call a phone number to get help.

The Story of Ted

Ted received a pop-up message from ‘Microsoft’ on his home computer saying his computer had an issue that needed attention. The instructions were clear: do not ignore this critical alert and call the number listed in order for your computer to work properly.  Ted, wanting his computer to not be affected called the number right away and agreed to pay the $1,000 fee in order to get his computer back on track.  This is a scam, Ted....

After it was all said and done, Ted had an uneasy feeling about the situation and decided he didn't want to pay the fee to get his computer fixed. Ted called the number back and after some time, the fake Microsoft representative agreed to give him a $700 credit.

After several months of Ted trying to get his credit back, one day the 'Microsoft' representative called Ted and verified that in order to settle everything, they would need to connect to Ted's computer and get into his online banking to process the refund. Ted, anxious to get his money back, agreed and logged into this Online Banking while 'Microsoft' was online. Within minutes, the scammer had created a $2,000 transfer from Ted's account and into the hands of the scammer....

It's that fast and can happen in a variety of ways. Don't be like Ted, be #cyberaware!

2 Things to Know to Avoid a Tech Support Scam

  1. Legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email or text message to tell you there’s a problem with your computer. If you need help fixing a problem, go to someone you know and trust. Many software companies offer support online or by phone. Stores that sell computer equipment also offer technical support in person.
  2. Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number. If you think there may be a problem with your computer, update your computer’s security software and run a scan.

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What to Do If You Were Scammed

  • If you paid a tech support scammer with a credit or debit card, you may be able to stop the transaction. Contact your credit card company or bank right away. Tell them what happened and ask if they can reverse the charges.
  • If you paid a tech support scammer with a gift card, contact the company that issued the card right away. Tell them you paid a scammer with the gift card and ask if they can refund your money.
  • If you gave a scammer remote access to your computer, update your computer’s security software. Then run a scan and delete anything it identifies as a problem.
  • If you gave your user name and password to a tech support scammer, change your password right away. If you use the same password for other accounts or sites, change it there, too. Create a new password that is strong.

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What If I Suspect  I’m A Victim?

  • Report it to the appropriate people at the financial institution, credit card company or merchant you believe is affected. They can help advise you on suspicious or unusual activity.
  • If you believe your financial accounts may be compromised, contact your financial institution immediately.
  • Watch for any unauthorized charges to your account.

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