Our computers run into issues all the time. Sometimes we perform simple DIY tricks, and when it’s more complicated, we look for expert help. But what if there’s no issue, to begin with? What if the “expert” we’re contacting is impersonating a source we trust? Fake tech support has become a major security issue in the U.S today and according to a SeedSpark study, 60% of consumers have encountered these scams in recent months.
How do tech support scams work?
In tech support scams, people posing as official support staff reach out to you via phone call or email to repair your device. Even if you didn’t know your device needed a fix, they’ll gain your confidence by mimicking professionals. Once you trust them and either download a software or share personal details, they’ll remotely gain access to your device.
Tech support scams are popular because they have the added advantage of personality. There’s little time to think everything through and the scammer uses urgency to manipulate you in real-time.
From Gen Z to boomers—everyone’s susceptible to fake tech support in 2022 because the criminals have upgraded their schemes to make them more believable. If you’re worried about your personal data and don’t want to hand them over to scammers, here’s everything you need to know to spot and avoid these scams.
1. Fake pop-ups on screens
This is one of the most common ways fake tech support scams are executed. You’ll get sudden pop-ups and banner ads on your computer telling you that your device has serious issues, and it needs an immediate scan. They’ll tell you to call a certain number to fix the issues.
The pop-ups usually copy official templates or at least look like they’re from a trusted company. Do not click on them or call the numbers. Customer support communications are only triggered by the user and no legitimate company will tell you to call them proactively.
2. Unexpected tech support call
Scammers also directly call people to tell them their devices have security issues. They pretend to be from trusted companies and emulate the official user interface of apps. The scammers often email software download links to run diagnostics or ask for device details to look into the issues. By clicking on an unknown link or giving out personal data, you allow them to install malware or completely take over your device.
These scams are mostly run by trained agents with detailed scripts, and they spoof caller ID to fool your system.
3. Payment transfer for services
A lot of scammers trick people into believing they fixed something critical and ask for money after it’s done. They’ll ask for Zelle or wire transfer because they don’t have any chargeback mechanism. Once the money leaves your bank, it’s gone forever. For payment fraud, they might ask your credit card or crypto details to mask their identity.
What to do if you encounter a fake tech support scam?
There are a lot of things you can do if you sense you’re being scammed.
- Do not click on sudden pop-ups or phone numbers that you didn’t initiate. Close the tab window and never visit a shady website.
- If an unknown caller tells you to do something on your computer or asks for details, immediately hang up and block them. Trusted companies never call or text you out-of-the-blue for security fixes.
- Do not click on any links. Always verify email addresses and URLs with official sources. Almost similar is not the same as accurate—Google things just to be sure.
- Do not send money to people you don’t know or trust. Official customer support does not ask for payment this way. If you have been charged, contact your credit card company or bank immediately and issue a chargeback. Do not believe in refund offers either, no tech support makes mistakes like these.
- Do not use pirated operating systems or outdated antivirus. Don’t share your contacts in public forums as well because this is how they find your details.
- Report fake tech support scams online to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at: reportfraud.ftc.gov
- Trust your gut. If it feels like a scam, it probably is.
Keeping personal data and devices secure from scammers is getting increasingly harder these days. You might want to consult security experts who can guide you and help avoid cybercrimes. To know more about how MyTek can help you, get in touch with us today.