Is your computer on the brink? Careful who you contact to fix it! That’s because the FTC is warning of a surge in tech support scams, many of which can be difficult to spot.
In a recent widespread scam, a company that called itself Elite IT Partners, Inc., purchased keywords on Google so they showed up in searches for password recovery assistance. Victims contacted the bogus company, which asked the assistance seekers to complete an online form to provide their contact information.
Scammers then reached out to the victims, asking for remote access to their computers. Once inside, they were able to scrape sensitive information off the victims’ computers. But they didn’t stop there; they also used phony evidence to convince many victims that their computers were in desperate need of repair that required pricey software. The scammers gladly accepted payment for this software, which of course they never provided. Many victims lost thousands of dollars to these scammers and had their information compromised as well.
Tech support scams don’t always follow the above script. Here are two other common scenarios:
1. Phone calls
In this variation, scammers spoof the numbers of well-known companies claiming they’ve found a problem with the victim’s computer. They ask for remote access to it, run a “diagnostic test,” and plant bogus problems. They then ask the victim to pay an exorbitant amount of money to get the issue fixed.
Red flag: Legitimate tech-support companies never initiate contact by phone.
2. Pop-up warnings
Sometimes, a tech-support scammer targets victims with an alarming pop-up warning. The pop-up might look like a legitimate error from the victim’s system or antivirus software. The message warns about a computer security issue and instructs the victim to call a listed number. Once the victim calls, they are asked to grant the scammer remote access to their computer. The scammer then moves forward much like what’s described above.
Red flag: Legitimate security warnings from tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number.
If you’ve been scammed
Are you a victim of a tech-support scam? It may not be too late to reclaim your money. If you paid via credit or debit card, you may be able to stop the transaction. Contact your credit card company by using the number on the back of your card, or contact DoverPhila Federal Credit Union at 330-364-8874.
Make sure you update your computer’s security software and run a scan. Delete anything your computer identifies as a security issue. Change your usernames and passwords as well. Finally, don’t forget to report your scam to the FTC.
Have questions? Contact the credit union. We’d be happy to help. Click here for more information regarding identity theft resources.