Tech Support Scams
Who’s the target?
People of all ages
How does it happen?
You may receive a direct phone call, text message, or social media message from someone claiming to be a representative of a trusted tech organization like Apple, Microsoft, or Geek Squad. Scammers can even manipulate the caller ID information to display a legitimate support number. You may be working on your computer when you get a pop-up that appears to be a security alert telling you to click a link or call a phone number for support immediately.
These tech support scammers will tell you they have found suspicious activity or a virus on your device and will often ask you to install an application that allows them remote access. Sometimes, they can gain access as soon as you click on their malicious links. Then, they’ll convince you that they’ve performed services on your device that you need to pay for, and they’ll demand that you wire, transfer, or purchase gift cards for payment.
Other times, tech scammers will tell you that you’re due a refund, but they need your online banking info, or your account info in order to process the refund. The bottom line is that legitimate tech companies do not make unsolicited calls, and they rarely offer refunds, and these scammers are hoping you don’t know that, and you’ll fall for their trap
- You receive a phone call you didn’t expect from someone saying there’s a problem with your computer
- They tell you they’ve found a virus or suspicious activity on your device
- They ask you to install applications that give them remote access
How can we stay safe?
- Never click on a link or call a number on a pop-up window
- Remember that legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email, or text to tell you there’s a problem with your device
- If you need help fixing a tech problem, go directly to a company or person you know and trust
If you think you have been scammed:
- Contact your financial institutions as soon as possible
- If you’ve given the scammer any of your account passwords or PINs, change them immediately
- File a report on FTC.gov
- Contact the Social Security Fraud Hotline (if applicable)