Scammers will often call claiming to be computer technicians associated with companies that most people know like Microsoft or Apple. Others use pop-up messages warning you about computer problems. Usually, a scammer will say they have detected viruses or malware on your computer. They will allege to be “tech support” and will ask you to allow them remote access to your computer. Ultimately, they will diagnose a non-existent issue and ask you to pay for unnecessary services that could, in fact, be harmful.
If you receive an unexpected call, spam email, pop-up or some other kind of urgent message about problems with your computer do not click on any links, don’t give away control of your computer and especially don’t send any money.
How tech support scams work
Scammers set up fake websites, call, issue alarming pop-up messages and even offer “free security scans” – all to convince you of their authenticity and that your computer is infected. Once the scammer has you on the phone, they will work to assure you that there is a problem. They then ask to pay them to fix a completely fabricated problem.
Some typical tell-tale signs of scammers are that they may:
- Impersonate being a staff member of a well-known computer company such as Apple or Microsoft
- Use a lot of technical terms
- Ask you to open files on your computer and then try to tell you these files show problems
Once they have persuaded you into thinking your computer has serious issues they might then:
- Ask for remote access to your computer – this lets them change your settings making your computer vulnerable to attack.
- Trick you into installing malware which may exploit critical data such as usernames and passwords.
- Try to sell you worthless software that is available for free elsewhere.
- Guide you to websites that ask you to enter credit card details or other personal information
- Try to get you to sign up for pointless maintenance or warranty programs.
These scammers are after your money and access to your computer. There are some ways to stop them.
If you are receiving calls or see pop-up messages
- If you are receiving supposedly urgent phone calls from people claiming to be tech support, just hang up. Unfortunately, you can not rely on caller IDs as those can appear to be from local numbers.
- Ignore pop-up messages that instruct you to call tech support. However, there may be legitimate pop-ups from your security software, but these messages will not ask you to call anywhere or to provide information.
- Never allow remote access to your computer to anyone you don’t know and don’t share your passwords.
If you have any concerns about your computer, ask a legitimate tech support company such as Blue Sky IT Consulting directly.
If you have already been scammed
A reputable local tech support company like Blue Sky IT Consulting can safely remove malware, install and update appropriate security software and scan your system for anything that is deemed problematic.
If you have shared any passwords, you will need to change them as soon as possible.
If you have paid for fake services using your credit card, you should get in touch with your credit card company and ask for the charges to be reversed. Also, check our transactions for suspicious activity and possibly cancel your credit card.
If you have recently paid for any tech support and later receive a call offering a refund, this call is also most likely a scam. Do not give away any personal information.
How does the refund scam work?
After a purchase, someone calls to inquire if you were happy with the service provided. If you answer ‘no’, the scammer will ask for your credit card details to make a deposit. Instead of depositing the refund, they will withdraw money from your account. If you receive a call like this, you can report it at scamwatch.gov.au.
For legitimate and trustworthy tech support contact us at Blue Sky IT Consulting.