Scammers never get tired and even at the start of the year, they’re at it again.
For those who are not yet in the know, a classic style of scamming consists of a fake tech support caller claiming that he needs access to your computer to fix a non-existent bug. However, there is a new twist involving the caller actually installing a virus on the victim’s computer.
You may receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be a tech support from a well-known software company. Microsoft is a popular choice, but Mac is now being used. The callers often have strong accents, but use common names such as “Bob” or “Bill.”
The caller tells you that your computer is sending error messages, and that they’ve detected a virus on it. He says only a certified tech support can remove the virus, but first you need to grant him access to your machine. If you agree, the caller will run a scan of your files and will actually point out how the virus has infected the computer. The scammers then offer to remove the virus, for a fee of course, and so they need your credit card details.
Here’s how the rest of the story goes: Those who granted access to their computers, whether they paid for the virus to be removed or not, will have difficulties using it afterwards. Some computers will not turn on or certain programs or files become inaccessible.
What to do if a fake tech support scammer calls?
Never give control of your computer to anyone unless you can confirm that it is an authorized representative of a computer support team, which you are already a customer or have a subscription with.
Never provide your credit card or financial information to anyone claiming to be from a tech support company. Legitimate tech support companies never ask for this information.
Take the caller’s information down and report it to your local authorities or the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, if you suspect that he’s scamming you.
Change the passwords of your computer, e-mail, and online banking or credit card accounts.
Run a virus scan after the call.
Place a fraud alert on your credit report.Always remember to be vigilant and skeptical whenever someone calls you and claims that he/she is a representative of a large and well-known company, and then suggests performing a “fake” troubleshooting procedure on your computer.