Avoiding Tech Support Scammers – The Latest in Phishing Scams

Avoiding Tech Support Scammers – The Latest in Phishing Scams

Scammers do not just send fraudulent emails. They might try to call you on the phone and claim to be from Microsoft or any other legitimate business. They might also setup websites with persistent pop-ups to get you to call a number to fix the issue. They might try to sell you software or ask to remote into your system to help solve computer problems. The only problem is, once they have access to your computer, they can access your computer’s data and your personal data. Below are some things to look out for to know if you are being targeted as a potential victim.

Telephone Tech Support Scams

Cyber-criminals often use publicly available phone directories to find victims, so they might know your name and other personal information ahead of time. Since Microsoft Windows is the most widely used operating system, they will usually say they are from Microsoft. Please note that Microsoft will not contact you without you initializing contact first, so treat all unsolicited phone calls with a great deal of skepticism. Do not provide any personal information over the phone.

www.donotcall.gov is a great website where you can add your mobile and home phone numbers to the National Do Not Call Registry to limit your phone information being available. You can report unwanted calls here as well.

Pop-up Tech Support Scams

Another well-known trick is a website pop-up. Scammers will create these sites with persistent error messages with a phone number for you to call to help fix the “issue.” These pop-ups are not easy to close, and some can come with warning sounds that can be annoying to listen to while trying to close the browser. Some pop-ups even warn that your data is infected. Whatever you do, do not call the phone number listed with these pop-ups, as Microsoft warnings and error messages never include a phone number.

Instead, it’s best to just close your browser. If you cannot close the browser with traditional means, you can always end the process via Task Manager. If you need more information on how to use Task Manager, please see this document located on DASNR IT’s support site.

Reporting Tech Support Scams

There are a few ways to report these scams to the right authorities. You can help Microsoft combat cyber-criminals by reporting information about your tech support scam experience. You can also fill out a FTC Complaint Assistant Form located here.

Protect Yourself from Tech Support Scams

Do not purchase any software or services from any unsolicited sources. Never give control of your computer to anyone unless you can confirm they are a legitimate representative of a support team from which you initiated the contact.

As always, when something like this happens, you should take this as a reminder to back up your data and run security scans using Windows Defender/Microsoft Security Essentials and possibly another anti-malware application such as Malwarebytes.