BEWARE – It happens every day… scammers are after your money or personal information. It usually happens one of three ways:
- They call you on the phone – pretending to be from “MicroSoft”, “Windows”, Dell, or a generic techie sounding name.
- They tell you to call a phone number – via an annoying pop-up or voice on your computer.
- You call them – thinking you’ve found a legitimate tech support company via a Google search.
In each case, they’ll tell you a great story that has been honed by thousands of calls to other people. They’ll attempt to convince you there is something very wrong with your computer, or that you’ve been hacked and are at risk of identity theft or worse. In most cases they will get into your computer remotely to “fix things”. Of course, things are worse than they thought, and they will need money to fix things. They’ll scare you in many ways and may even run programs that generate false error messages.
These bad guys will take every opportunity you give them. One of our clients admitted to giving them 3 different credit card numbers, as the crooks kept saying “oh, that one was declined”. Another read them the routing numbers from the bottom of a check. And another realized something was up as she found herself driving to Target to buy $1500 worth of iTunes gift cards!
It doesn’t stop at taking your money. While they are in your computer, the crooks can find names, numbers, account information, passwords, birthdays, and banking information.
A recent Microsoft survey showed 15% of the people surveyed had received fake tech support calls. Of those, 22% admit to falling for the scam, including letting the bad guys into their computers, and even giving them money. The average financial loss was $875, plus over half reported subsequent computer problems.
The bad guys are hard to catch, but thanks to efforts from companies like Google and MicroSoft and Federal authorities, they are being taken down every day. Unfortunately, it seems two pop up for every one taken down.
Don’t become a victim! Don’t fall for the Fake Tech Support Scam!