How to Spot a Tech Support Scam

Viruses, ransomware, spyware…cyber-attacks on your computer come in all shapes and sizes. Today we look at malware that shows up as a Tech Support Scam.
It starts with a pop-up… “It looked legitimate and so I called… forty-five minutes later they wanted a lot of money, I told them No, and now my computer is locked and I can’t use it.”
This is an all too familiar story we hear when people come to us for help. In most cases, we can…and while it is not as much as it would cost to pay the ransom, it’s not cheap.
Tech Support Scam Pop-Up

Tech Support Scam Pop Up

Reputable companies will NOT call you!

Your best defense against a Tech Support Scam is knowledge.
Knowledge is power.
No reputable company will call you and tell you, your computer is infected or corrupted or whatever. Microsoft will not call you; Google will not call you; Norton, McAfee, HP, Dell, Apple…none of them will call you. Nor will your Internet provider for that matter.
When you DO get “the” call, be sure you capture the phone number if you have caller ID, and then use one of the following responses as a guide as to what to say:
“Hi, can I please get your phone number in case we get disconnected and I can call you back?” If they do, great! If they don’t, no big deal. Either way let them know you are recording this call and will be reporting them (and the number if they give it to you) to the Federal Authorities as you know this is a scam. At this point you will hear the distinct sound of being hung up on.
The other option you can try is… "Hi, I’m sorry to hear you are involved in such an illegal enterprise. Can I pray for you? Where are you located? My local (church/synagogue/mosk) has many outreach programs and I am sure we can help you turn your life around.” Alright, this option is a little tongue-in-cheek, but at least it’s light hearted and sends the proper message that you are on to them resulting in them ending the call.

Report a Scam

For a more in depth look, click here to learn what the FTC has to say about “How to Spot a Tech Support Scam”.
And to report a scam go to ftc.gov/complaint
So if you get one of these bogus pop-ups, does it mean you have a virus on your computer?
Maybe. To be sure, you should do a full scan of your computer using your anti-virus program. Chances are you have a form of malware called spyware. Because spyware sometimes only monitors your online activity and doesn’t try to make changes to your computer, it can fly under the radar of some anti-virus programs, and doesn’t get removed.
If you keep getting pop-ups or have any other concerns, please call us! We are here to help.

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