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Protect yourself from tech support scams

Don't let scammers posing as tech support take advantage of you

by Leslie Pedder

The Tech Support Scam starts with what appears to be a helping hand to fix a technical glitch.   The criminals will send a message by phone, email or text convincing you that you need help.    

With so many new computer scams and schemes out there, it’s hard to feel safe. A scam to look out for is technical support scams. These scams use the guise of your computer needing technical support to lure you into a trap.

Some even try to get you to pay for them to fix a nonexistent problem, while others use your need for technical support to gain access to your device and install malware to attain your personal information.

Now complete peace of mind when dealing with scammers may be unattainable, but here are a few ways you can set some of your worries aside and protect yourself from tech support scams.

How do tech support scams work?

Technical support scams can appear in many ways. Below are some of the most common ways technical support scammers can try to attack you and your devices.

Scams by pop-up browsers

Pop-up browsers are one of the most common technical support scams. These scams often appear randomly on your device while using a web browser or application. These pop-ups will display messages requesting you to take action and work with technical support to fix a problem that does not exist. These messages appear with the hopes that you will believe you need technical support, and click the link or call the number they provided to gain full access to your device.

Scams by phone

Scam calls can come to your phone with someone pretending to be a support representative from a tech company. These scammers are well versed and will try to convince you that your device has an issue with the hopes of gaining access and installing harmful software. Please note that major companies will not contact customers unprompted. These calls will be from scammers.

Scams by email

Tech support scammers will send emails with fake error messages asking you to click links, call a number, or update and install software to fix a problem with your device. This type of scammer is hoping you will not notice and believe that they are the major tech company they are posing as, to gain access to your device or your personal information.  

 

How can I protect myself from tech support scams?

If scammers ask for access or information

  • Never give remote access to your device in order to fix it. Only do so if you know it is a legitimate representative from the company you have requested support from.
  • Do not pay or give payment information in exchange for technical support. Tech companies will not call you and ask for payment to fix your device.

If scammers call your phone

  • If you answer the phone and it’s a technical support scam, hang the phone up immediately and block the number.
  • If you get a call from an unknown phone number do not answer it. If the person leaves a voicemail, delete it.
  • Pay attention to the phone number, scammers will use fake numbers to get you to answer the phone.

If scammers attack with pop-ups

  • If a pop-up appears, close it and shut down the browser it came from.
  • Do not click the link or call the number that appears on the pop-up.
  • If you cannot get rid of the pop-up, force quit using the Task Manager.
    • On your PC, press ‘Control + Alt + Delete’ and, select Task Manager, click the task, then select ‘End Task.’
    • On a Mac, press ‘Option’ + ‘Command’ + ‘Esc,’ and select the application, then select ‘Force Quit.’

If scammers send you an email

  • If you receive a technical support scam email, report it as spam and delete it.
  • If you open the scam email, do not click on any of the links or pages and delete it immediately.
  • Be on the lookout for messages that contain poor grammar, misspellings, or come from unknown email addresses.

Use Antivirus Software

First, be sure to install and run an antivirus program like our top pick TotalAV.  The program is full of features to keep you safe from malware and protect you when browsing the internet including ransomware protection, real-time antivirus protection, elimination of viruses and malware, a tool to free up your computer’s space, plus more.  

You can check out our review of all of our antivirus apps, here: Best Antivirus Security Software and Apps to Protect You 2022.

Continue to be cautious when using or looking for technical support and report any scammers you come across when possible.

 

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