3 Tech Support Scams To Watch Out For
Advanced computer technology can look like magic. Consequently, the wizardry that those with technical savvy can perform can be baffling.
That confusion is exactly what some scammers rely on. The Federal Trade Commission is warning consumers about scams featuring phony tech support. These schemes have one goal: compromise your technology to steal personal information and money.
It’s important to be vigilant when browsing, and watch out for these three tech support scams.
1.) Yahoo phone support
Data breaches have two sets of victims: those immediately affected and those victimized in the ensuing confusion. Yahoo’s data breach has found a new group of the latter.
Scammers have created several phony replicas of Yahoo help sites. These sites detail common account problems and offer a phone number for “Yahoo Customer Care” or something similar. If you call, one of several things might happen. You might be asked to pay a support fee, to allow remote connections to your computer or for your account information, including your username and password.
Whatever the scammer’s request, their “assistance” is bogus and the damage they can do is real. Yahoo affirms it will never charge for tech support, nor will its employees ask for your password or to remotely connect to your computer. While pay-for-support lines do exist, they’re very rare. Never allow anyone you don’t trust remote access to your computer.
2.) Spyware scanners
In this scam, a banner ad claims to have discovered infected files on your computer. A list of suspicious-sounding file names flash past, including some that are actually on your computer. The ad will insist that you need security software and will provide a download link.
The downloaded software can do one of several things. It could log your keystrokes so a hacker can steal your passwords; it might allow remote access to your computer and, by extension, to your personal information; or it may be “ransomware,” which encrypts your computer’s information until you pay a hefty fee.
Be proactive! Don’t download files from websites you don’t trust. Use reliable anti-virus software and a malware scanner so that you can ignore pop-ups that claim your computer is infected.
3.) Inbound tech support
These scams usually start with a call from an unknown number. If you answer, the caller tells you he’s detected a problem with your computer. You’ll be instructed to provide him with remote access so he can fix it.
Once the scammer has control of your computer, he’ll do any of the things described above. It’s difficult to reverse this process, and you may end up losing your computer!
No tech support company will call about a supposed monitoring of your computer. If you get an unsolicited call from an unknown number about your computer, hang up and report the number at donotcall.gov.
Technology operates by a predictable set of rules. Learning a bit about how it works can keep you safe online.
Your Turn: What’s your best tip for staying safe while using tech support? How do you get the best advice while avoiding scammers? Let us know in the comments!
« Return to "Blog Home"