Have you ever received a suspicious pop-up message or phone call about an “issue” your computer?
If so, you were the target of a tech support scam. These scams are a popular type of fraud involving cybercriminals who imitate a reputable company and attempt to convince you of a technical issue with your computer that needs to be resolved. The goal of these scams is to take over your computer to gain access to personal information or trick you into paying for useless software.
This type of fraud is successful because the scammer will impersonate a legitimate tech support company employee and use technical terms to convince you of a legitimate issue. The scammer will typically indicate that a “diagnostic test” is needed to identify the computer issue and will request access to your computer.
- Impersonated companies include Microsoft, Dell, Apple, and others.
- Last year there were over 100,000 reports of these types of scams.
It’s difficult to avoid these types of scams, but you can follow these best practices and reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this fraud:
- Never click unknown links.
- Don’t assume the person contacting you is a legitimate employee of the company they claim to work for.
- If you suspect an issue with your computer, contact the company directly.
- Never allow a stranger to access your computer remotely.
- If you need help with your computer, contact a technician you know and trust.
- Always protect personal your information.
In the unfortunate circumstances that you provided your financial information to a scammer to purchase software, contact your financial institution immediately to report the fraud. If you’re tricked into giving remote access to scammers, update your computer’s security software immediately by running a scan and then deleting everything identified as malicious. Once a scam has been identified, it should immediately be reported to ftc.gov/complaint.