Having even a basic understanding of the common scams and how to protect yourself can go a long way. So please read and share this with your friends and family; it may save you and them lots of money, time, and stress.
Most customers are aware that viruses exist and know basic ways to avoid them, such as not opening emails or attachments from people they don’t know. However, in the past couple years we’ve seen more and more customers fall victim to another cybercrime, commonly called the computer support scam.
This scam typically starts off either by pop-ups or ads on your computer or someone calling you out of the blue, both of which usually say your computer has viruses or other issues and that they can help. They might say they’re from Microsoft, Windows, HP, or some other large corporation you might be familiar with, in hopes of making themselves seem believable. Keep in mind, those companies, or any legit tech support company for that matter, don’t solicit customers like that.
Scammers might appear to be offering free help at first but then usually ask for a few hundred dollars or more in order to fix your computer. The pop-ups on the computer are usually annoying and intrusive, yet believable to the average user. If you speak to a scammer on the phone, they also are usually good at scaring and pestering you into handing over a payment.
If someone ever calls unsolicited about computer issues, just don’t trust them. Don’t go to any website they mention or download any programs they tell you about. Never give them your personal info, nor any bank or credit card details. Simply hang up. If you’re getting pop-ups or other alerts on your computer and aren’t sure if they’re legit, seek a computer professional for advice.
If you or someone you know has already become a victim of a computer support scam, I suggest first calling a local computer support company you can trust. They can evaluate your computer, see if there’s truly any viruses or issues, and then ensure there’s no remote access software left by the scammer. After security is ensured, it’s best to change your banking, email, and other online passwords in case the scammer retrieved them.
To help stop these types of scams and to possibly recover any money they charged you, contact your bank or credit card company, inform them of the scam, and try to get the charge reversed. There are also many government and law enforcement agencies that track these types of scams.
If you have any experience of this, then please let me know via the comments below.