How to avoid technical support scams
If you’ve been contacted by a third party claiming to work for a tech company, here’s what to watch out for.
Technical Support Scam
What is a technical support scam?
A technical support scam is a type of fraud whereby you’ll be contacted by a third-party claiming to work for a legitimate tech company. The scammer will reach out to you either by email or phone. At times the scammer will even have the means to make the phone number or email they're contacting you from look like the contact details belonging to a real tech company, this is a technique known as ‘spoofing’. They’ll likely inform you that you have a problem with your software or that your device has been hacked by criminals but for a fee they’ll be able to help you fix the issue quickly.
The fraudsters' intentions include one of two things, to either steal your sensitive information such as bank account credentials, passport information which will allow them to make purchases online with your details or to steal your identity. Or, the fraudster intends to trick you into paying a sum of money for a problem that doesn’t actually exist.
Typical scenarios to look out for
A pop-up on your devices screen that informs you that your device has been hacked or is infected with some sort of malware and you should call the number shown on the screen now.
A tech company requesting access to your device via a remote desktop application so they may fix ‘the problem’. Downloading a screen sharing app grants them control over your device. This allows them the opportunity to install malware or other programmes which can steal your personal information. Whilst sharing your devices screen they will be able to display fake error messages to further coerce you into believing there is an issue with your device.
You are asked to pay an upfront fee before they can carry out the necessary work to resolve the issue. Often they will request payment in Bitcoin or they will directly request your credit card information.
How to mitigate the risk
- Do not continue to engage with the scammer via the phone. Legitimate tech companies do not contact customers regarding technical support, you would need to initiate contact with them first. Once you end the suspicious phone call, block the phone number you were contacted by to reduce the risk of further unwanted calls.
- Do not download any software onto your computer that has been suggested by an unknown third-party. Such things as remote screen sharing software will allow a third-party access to your confidential information.
- Never click a link or call a number that is shown on a pop-up. The pop-up will likely be notifying you that your account has been hacked/device is infected with malware. This is no doubt a scam. No warning or error messages include a phone number. However, if you are genuinely concerned, run a scan on your computer and reach out to a professional that you actually trust. You can google this information, or use the old-fashioned, reliable yellow pages to find someone to help you.
- Never share your personal or financial information with anyone. No reputable company will request this information from you.
If you are worried and think you may have already been a victim of a technical support scam please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to support you.
You will be connected to an experienced agent who will be able to offer you support and address your concerns. Your account safety is our top priority and we’re here to help.