You receive a phone call that there is a severe problem with your computer. They claim to be calling from a website you use for email or the company that makes your computer. They might start by asking you questions, “Has your computer been running more slowly?” which many people will answer “yes” to.
Maybe you receive an alert when browsing the web or a pop-up ad. What all of these things have in common is that they are frequently tech scams! Tech support scams are work. People fall for them regularly and, unless someone is highly trained in how to spot scams, they might end up losing cash in the process.
How You Can Protect Yourself from Tech Support Scams
The reasons tech scams may be easier to fall for is that they involve your computer, which you rely on for business, entertainment, connections, and news.
You look for your device or computer’s tech support phone number or website and go to the first result. You assume this means it is the most popular and trustworthy.
Unfortunately, it isn’t!
Instead, it is a copycat site that wants your cash! Using online ads, scammers can make their page or website appear “official” when they aren’t connected to the actual company you’re trying to reach.
To Prevent This
Verify the web domain of the company or link you went to. If you use an Apple computer and want tech support, for instance, the website should start with Apple.com followed by a specific page.
If you are going to a website with a different domain than you intended, it is a copycat advertisement site trying to scam you into paid services or software! Worse, some may even have pages containing downloadable malware!
You pick up the phone, and your heart begins to race. It’s the manufacturer of your computer. Or, maybe it is someone who claims to be calling from Apple, Microsoft, Google, or AOL. Whoever claims to be calling you, the scam is similar.
They will explain that they noticed a problem with your computer (and give you a song and dance about how they did so, “officially). Then, they will ask for remote access to your computer and say that they will be performing a diagnostic test. Or, they will ask you to perform several prompts and provide them with data.
To Prevent This
NEVER give anyone you don’t trust implicitly remote access to your computer. If you do so, they could steal valuable data such as your SSN, driver’s license number, address, banking, or credit information, etc. No matter what they say, do not download software from an unknown or unofficial website.
If they have you perform functions and claim to be checking what is wrong, know this is a scam to get you to trust and believe what they are saying. Any paid services or downloads they offer are lies, and software could contain malware or be unnecessary. If you have computer or software problems, call the official company yourself and verify the phone number and website.
If you gave them your credit card information over the phone, contact your credit company and check your credit report. They may have stolen your CC info. And your identity.
Pop Up Ads
These ads are duplicates of more official-looking pop-up warnings and thus easy to fall for. These pop-up messages will say there is an error and show multiple notifications and prompts.
It might even be difficult to exit the page, and they seem frozen on your computer, which makes the ads appear even more official. Once again, a scammer is using smart ways to trick you. Don’t fall for it!
To Prevent This
Exit your internet browser and run a virus scan, especially if you click “download” on anything if you are rerouted to services or software, exit the page.
While you will encounter scams and scammers both online and off, making it a rule to only trust the official websites that you are familiar with. This will save you time and help you avoid tech scams, costing you money. Beware of any unsolicited calls from “tech” companies.
Real companies will not typically (really ever) call you, unprovoked. Ask for a call back number, if you’re concerned, and then verify it with the original.
Are you wondering about the phone number who just called you? Social Catfish knows scammers like no one else! We pride ourselves on helping everyday people stay safe on the web, through education, blogs, and algorithm-based proprietary search tools.
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