Be suspicious of unexpected calls from tech- support specialists, pop-up windows on your computer, or advertisements informing you that your computer is at risk. People all over the world fall victim to tech support scams every day. This type of scam is carried out in the following ways:
Tech Support Scams Type 1: Cold Calls on your phone
You get a call from a scammer pretending to work for Microsoft, Dell support or any well-known tech company. The caller ID also shows the toll-free number of the company they claim to be from. They warn you that your computer has a virus or some other fake problem and offer to fix the issue. They make the problem sound urgent so you give them remote access to your computer to enable them to fix it. Once they have control over your computer, they may do one or all of the following:
Pretend to fix the made-up problem and charge a fee for it
- Sell you outdated software
- Enroll you in a fake tech support program
- Change your computer settings so that they can easily access the machine anytime
- Install malware on your computer that scans your files for sensitive data
- Steal your personal information
How to avoid cold call scams
Tech support specialists of any major company do not call unless you ask them to call you. They do not offer unsolicited tech support as there is no way they can detect a malware on your computer. Hang up if you receive an unexpected call from someone claiming to be a tech support representative. Do not be fooled by the ID number on display either. It is easy to get the caller-ID system to show the name or number of a major company. Use the contact information on the software package to contact tech support. Never give anyone remote access to your computer, or share your personal details.
Tech Support Scams Type 2: Pop-up Warnings on your computer
In this type of scam, you get redirected to sites that show fake alerts or messages on your computer screens. These messages look like real security warnings but they are not from your installed security software. They tell you that your computer is infected with malware and direct you to urgently call the listed number on the message to receive help.
How to avoid pop-up warning scams
- Ignore the message that tells you to call the given number to contact tech support.
- Use the contact information on the software package to contact tech support.
- Close the browser
- Microsoft users: Open the Windows Task Manager and close the browser.
- Apple users: Use Force Quit to close the browser
- Learn to spot the genuine message from the fake one. Fraudulent messages generally use incorrect spellings and grammar.
- Use pop-up ad blocker
- Perform a scan using the current version of your security software