Tech scams

Tech Scams: How to Spot Them

…and what to do if tech scams are being run on you!

Last month we got the skinny on how one little upgrade to SSD can speed up your computing life. I’m calling out tech scams in this post, along with their tricks used to swindle millions out of computer owners each year.

Spotting Tech Scams Before Getting Had

You’d want to know If your computer had a virus immediately, right? Your digital life is essentially destroyed by these tech scammers when important files are corrupted and you lose your photos, and more importantly, your personal information. It is scary to even think about it.

Tech scammers have been able to con millions of dollars from average people across the world. They can do this because they realize we’d be lost without our computers and that most of us are unaware of what is going on behind what they see on the computer screen.

United States snapshot
Microsoft Global Tech Support Scam Research: Global Summary, September 2018

Typical tech scams will go something like this:

A pop-up jumps onto the screen out of nowhere. It will say something to the effect of “your system is infected with spyware”…or malware, or a virus, take your pick. Better yet is the random phone call from a guy who’s name is ‘Bill’ and has a heavy Indian accent and they tell you they are with Microsoft or some other popular tech company.

The scammer tells you that they will give you a special link to download some support software. They tell you this will fix the ‘problem’.

They then gain access to your computer and make it look like it is loaded with viruses. In fact, they make it look somewhat convincing with fabricated errors, flashing screens, and made up diagnostics. This is all intended to make you fearful and panic.

Sometimes they will even say you may face criminal charges, claiming your computer is infected with illegal content, and you can go to jail if not corrected.

This is when they know you are hooked. Now they start becoming pushy and demanding a credit card number. Once you give them your credit card information, they then make it seem as if the ‘problem’ is fixed and stop messing with it.

Now, this is not just a hit and run scam either. They will try and milk it for all they can. Since they now have access to your computer, they can recreate the ‘problem’ anytime they want. This next time, however, they will look to push you into a recurring payment plan, or subscription, for ongoing protection.

“Microsoft, the real Microsoft, will not call people randomly like this. Never!….Ever!”

-Joe B.
Fake pop-up

What Can You Do If Targeted by a Tech Scam?

  1. Do not talk, taunt, or tease them. Just hang up the phone. At the moment the tech scammers call you, you are only one of many numbers on a list. They are dialing through this list, and they’ll move onto the next potential victim if you just hang up the phone. However, if you upset them by taunting or arguing, then you could become a target. They will then focus all their efforts on you. This focus could get your computer or even you personally into a dangerous situation.
  2. Another thing to look out for is pop-up windows. These usually say something along the lines of you have a virus or some other maintenance related issue. DO NOT CLICK IT! Immediately run an anti-virus scan.

Be wary of any unsolicited pop-up message on your device; don’t click on it and don’t call the number. It is most likely a tech scam.

Joe B.

What Should Be Done If I’ve Already Been Scammed?

First, don’t beat yourself up too much. It does feel crappy, but you are definitely not alone in this situation and it can be corrected. At a minimum, do the following:

  1. Get in contact with your bank immediately. Explain the situation and ask to have the charges reversed. Most likely, you won’t have to ask but ask anyway to have a new card issued and cancel the old one right away. This is a very easy step if you take action as soon as you realize the con. Reporting it also helps sometimes to track down the criminal.
  2. Once all of this is taken care of, do not do anything with your computer except taking it to a professional to ensure it is cleaned and they will no longer have the ability to access your computer.

Do you have different tips about tech scammers you would like to share? We ask you to share them here. You can leave your comments, questions, or anything you wish in the section below or Contact Us.

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Tech scams
People are still losing money – and time. Three out of five consumers have been exposed to a tech scams in the previous 12 months. – Athima Chansanchai

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