The number of calls that we have been getting related to computer tech support virus scams into our office has been increasing significantly over the last few months. Truthfully, it has grown in sheer number of clients affected and dollar value as well.
How it All Starts.
A client typically will get a phone call from someone claiming to be with their “tech support” company or with various other claims. The claims have run the gamut from claiming to being with Microsoft and being able to see the customer has computer viruses to asking about newly purchased equipment such as a modem exposing the client to viruses.
What do They Want?
These scammers want two things remote access to your computer and your money. Once they have remotely accessed your computer they are going to charge you anywhere from $200 to $1000 for a computer problem that you never had. Yes, you are in fact paying these folks to give you a computer virus. They run your card and you assume all is well again.
Yep, sometimes as soon as the next day these scammers are calling you again. They will keep calling until you turn the tables on them or you run out of money. We have seen people who have lost thousands of dollars in these scams. Threats, intimidation, or even a new tactic where they claim they are calling to refund your money and just need your banking information to do so.
What Do You Need to Know to Protect Yourself from a Tech Support Scam?
Be on Alert!
Be wary of anyone claiming to be with Dell, Microsoft, or Apple claiming to be able to see an issue with your computer. This just does not happen. Ever. Also, suspicious is someone claiming to be “your tech support” but you have never worked with them before. If someone calls you out of the blue reporting a computer issue, hang up on them!
Do Not Allow Them to Connect to Your Computer.
Many times what starts out innocently enough goes South. If you are on the phone and start to get suspicious that this is a computer tech support virus scam, do not allow them to connect to your computer. If they have already connected, shut the computer down. Many times they will have your screen locked so you cannot shut down and give you a message that if you shut the computer down irreparable damage will happen to your computer. Bunk. You unplug that computer if you have to but break that connection as quickly as you can. If they have connected to your computer you need to change all of your passwords, notify your financial institutions, and get your computer to a reputable local computer support company.
Find A Local Computer Support Company.
Many of these tech support scams occur because the client does not have an established relationship with a local company. Do some research find a local company with good reviews BEFORE you have an issue. Utilize their knowledge as your technical advisor and then with one of these tech support scams comes your way you will know it from the get go. You already have a tech support company and they are not it.
If you have even been the victim to one of these scams, don’t feel bad. These are criminals and they are very good at what they do, thousands of people fall for these scams every single year. If you would like more information on this topic the Federal Trade Commission is a good resource for this.
If you think you may have fallen prey to one of these scams or have questions you need answered, feel free to contact Code Blue Computing anytime.