New Twist on Tech Support Scam

Man Working on Personal Computer --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Your BBB® has recently learned about a new twist on the tech support scam. If you aren’t familiar with the tech support scam, it generally works like this: the scammer will call you claiming they are with Windows or Microsoft or another large tech company. They will then tell you that they noticed that your computer is running slowly or is sending out an error message. They offer to “fix” it for you remotely usually charging a fee for the “fix” and ask you to go to a website where they can access your computer. Unfortunately, consumers who fall for this scam may end up losing money as well as a lot of time as the scammer will have access to any personal information contained on the computer.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, this new twist involves the scammer claiming to be from the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. They will say that your email has been hacked and is sending out fraudulent messages.  The caller will then claim that the organization will take legal action against you unless you let them “fix” it immediately. If you ask questions, the scammer will increase the pressure, and according to the FTC, have even reportedly given out phone numbers for actual FTC employees and sent consumers to the actual website for the Global Privacy Enforcement Network, which is a real organization that helps governments work together on cross-border privacy cooperation.

Here are a few things to keep in mind should you receive a tech support call:

-Don’t rely on caller id to identify the caller. Scammers can spoof phone numbers to make it appear as though the call is coming from a well-known company or from a local number when in fact the scammer may be calling from another country entirely.

-Don’t give control of your computer to anyone who calls offering to “fix” a problem with it.

-Don’t give out or confirm financial or sensitive information to anyone who contacts you claiming to be from tech support.

-Don’t give out passwords over the phone.

-If you have concerns about your computer and you want to contact tech support, avoid searching for it on the internet as some scammers will pay for ads to convince you to call them.  Look for contact information on the software package or on your receipt. Don’t use the number a caller gives to you.

For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville.

About Amanda 202 Articles
Amanda is the Director of Investigations & Information Services and is a regular contributor to the consumer education blog. She is one of our go-to colleagues for answering complex consumer inquires. Amanda also manages our charity reporting program.

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