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Avoid a tech trap

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I will drive for a week with my car’s Check Engine light blinking, but if a security warning shows up on my computer, I act immediately. Scammers have been taking advantage of people like me, who care about computer security. They ran operations in the US and overseas that used pop-up messages and phone calls to convince people their computers needed fixing. The callers pitched unnecessary — and sometimes harmful — tech support services that cost people time and money. The FTC announced four new cases against these operations today, and — along with its state, federal and international partners — launched a national and international effort to stop these scams and get money back to the victims.

Tech support scams often start with a pop-up that wants you to call now, or else...  If you get an urgent message like this, don’t click, call, send money or give anyone control of your computer.

Tech Support Scams

The fraudsters in these cases sent ominous pop-up messages that looked like security warnings about things like viruses or malware. The messages urged people to call a toll-free number. The telemarketers who answered falsely claimed they were connected to well-known companies like Microsoft, Apple or Norton. The telemarketers tried to convince people there were serious problems with their computers, and sometimes got remote access to the computers to run fake “diagnostic tests.” They persuaded people that ordinary things on their computers were real problems. Then, they tried to get people to pay for software or services they didn’t need to “fix” problems that didn’t exist.

If you get a pop-up, call, spam email or any other urgent message about a virus on your computer, stop. Don’t download anything, don’t call the number on the pop-up and don’t give anyone control of your computer. If you think you downloaded malware or gave a cybercriminal access to your computer, update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete anything the software says is a problem. And be sure to report tech support pop-ups and calls to



I received a call yesterday afternoon from 1-888-836-6896. Man with accent said I am internet tech are you at your computer? I told him it was a scam and to hang up and never call this number again. I tried calling the number back and it said to leave your name and number which I did not.

Yesterday, I got another call from a scammer, I get at least three to four a week . I have reported them , but no word about any action against them . The caller claimed my computer came up on his monitor as a possible threat carrier . I responded with NO< NO NO< stop calling here, my phone calls are being monitored for your scam calls . I could hear a lot of things going on in the background, like a loud TV, or multiple calls with people talking loudly . I hung up, and about 2minutes later, I got another call, but there was no answer, only waves og clicking noises . I am not happy about these calls, and neither are my parents, who don't understand my computer . They could scam me worse because my parents think they'd be helping my computer . I need help to stop them ASAP .

Glad you caught it on time. Unfortunately, it might not be so easy for your parents because of their computer illeteracy. I became a victim about 2 weeks ago, but it was through a phone call claiming that I have been awarded $8,000. I jumped into action and sent $300 dollars through the i-tune cards. Then they transferred me to another person claiming that I would receive the funds in my bank account immediately after (of course) I send an additional $750.I ended up having to order another credit/debit card and close my account. What I did was put my name on the NATIONAL DO NOT CALL LIST. It helped although not completely. The calls that do come in I just don't answer them unless I recognize them.

We lost $300 about 3 years ago, also lost $1995 about 2 years ago...shameful ..I have been noticing the pop up ads and yes they are scary but I avoid them like the plague now.

Have gotten numerous calls from "Microsoft Security" stating I have a virus on my computer. The callers almost spoke in Indian accented English. I always hung up.

My son just got scammed today went into his up address now his laptop has a password on it that he didn't put there.
How do we fix this????

If you think you downloaded malware you can update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer.

If he cannot get into the computer, first check and see if he has backed up his files. If so you can search for how to reset the device to factory settings (differs a bit by operating system, manufacturer, and so on), then upgrade and be sure to get antimalware software on it. If there are not backups, you may need to get help from a technician. Be sure they have appropriate certification, such as CompTIA.

I always read their news and I find very good. If I get a strange mail which I do not know I delete immediately but I get from time to time on my hany such news what I do not open.
In addition, the person wants to report that the person I already reported today with another video reported with again other person I know the video also from earlier where other people have already reported. At 1 video has claimed that he is (kelvin frank götze) and today the video with another person also claims that he is what I so so do not believe so.
Thank you for writing this.

AOL is another one that does this

I have received multiple phone calls and emails from these felons. Only the first time did I fall for their spiel.

I frequently receive these annoying pop-up warnings exactly as described in the article. Even if you use Task Manager to close out of the pop-up, it may still pop up again when you log back on to the Internet. I've found it's best to logoff of the Internet, then restart my computer to clear the pop-up.

I have received that type of message a number of times which will lock up your screen. My response is same as yours, power off, and then reboot which clears off the interference. Have not yet found a way to block such messages, but have not been plagued with this problem now for about 3 or 4 months.

I got such a notice on my computer this week claiming my account had been compromised and giving a toll-free number to call for support. All the while an audio alert repeated a warning about the integrity of my computer. I knew it was hogwash and just shut down all operations and rebooted. Problem solved, and the bad guys went away to attempt to scam some other unsuspecting user. I unfortunately was scammed in a similar ruse a few years ago. I am so thankful for the FTC, which interceded to prevent a large payout for fraudulent "services." Thanks so much FTC and honest Internet bloggers!! Have a great scam-free day!

I was scammed by an "operation" called " Support Buddy" and paid them $329.98. They made my computer worse and I have many "Locky" files. I requested a refund and they assured me they initiated a full refund, that was in late Jan 2017. Now some 5 months later, no refund.

Please report this to the FTC at The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. 

Under cyber attack often. Did just what your support message stated. Former member FBI infragard. Thanks

This exact thing happened to me. The voice with the pop up scared the crap out of me and I couldn't get it to go away. I did call the number, they did obtain remote access to my computer. I finally wised up when they asked for money. I called them a scam and got yelled at. I hung up and took my computer to Geek Squad for them to clean and restore. No permanent damage, but just to be safe, I also put a hold on all my credit cards and bank accounts. I didn't lose any money, but it was a major hassle and scare.

When I am online, I like to update my scam busting antivirus software every 6 hours. I use Microsoft Windows 10. Win 10 and its' previous versions, has kept me safe all these years. Stopped using other antivirus programs years ago. Had to undo damage they caused, restored original Microsoft.

It does no good to update your antivirus software when there have been no changes; most good companies will alert you to updates and let YOU make the decisions.
If you are relying solely on Windows to protect you, you are missing so many good third party programs that will work reliably and will never damage your data. I have been using the same antivirus software and malware detectors for over ten years now and NEVER had any problems. Just be sore to do proper reseach to see what their reputation is, and you'll be able to make better decisions. Or, you could even ask here for recommendations and most would give you accurate responses and if there was a bad response, others would point it out to you.

I found a way to get around these calls and have not been called since. I sound like I am concerned and interested in what they have to say. The first thing I do is ask for their name, just so I know who I am speaking to, I then I ask for a call back number, just incase we get disconnected. I tell him/her I have been having trouble with my phone dropping calls. Once I have the number, I hang up in mid sentence. I then call the number, tell the person I was working with (Joe Smith)and get transferred back the same person. Once connected with the same person, I tell him/her that I have their name, I have their call back number and am going to report them for the spam call. I then get pushy, I ask them to confirm that they understand what I have said and then ask to speak to a supervisor. Once I have that person on the phone, I tell them the same thing. I demand that they remove me from all calling lists and that they fully understand what I am saying.
So far, this has worked. I have not heard anything back from the same kind of calls.
And yes, I do report them with all of the contact information I received.
Good Luck!

Many people I know have eliminated their landline phones, and it does help cut down on scammers. If you do like the convenience of a landline, as I do, you should answer only the calls from people you recognize. Anyone else with legitimate business will leave a voicemail.

If you get stuck with a salesman trying to coerce you into spending money on anything, hang up. We have to become hardened watchdogs, and that means you have to allow yourself to be rude to these people. They count on the fact that we were raised to be polite.

I find most traps are easy to avoid. No one gives away anything, hang up. If there is trouble with your computer, call Apple, or whomever is the maker of your computer. Car issues? Call your car maker or mechanic. Don't take anyone's word for anything on the phone. They will lie to get money, and it's easy to avoid if you just hang up.

I find I answer very few calls, and delete many offers to help, offer me money, ask for silent shoppers, ask for any personal info.

These words should become your mantra. HANG UP AND DELETE!

Google also does this. There is no legit way to contact them. I was talking to someone at Verizon who was helping me with one issue when I mentioned I had a Google problem. He Googled for a phone number and of course found two, but not legit. I did not realize that when he gave me the numbers, and the first one I called was a false # with scammers. Told be I had been hacked, I needed tech help and software, $100 each. I hung up and called a friend who confirmed that it was all a hoax. And the popups are enough to drive us crazy...even with good antivirus and spyware and all that, the popups never end.....

I got scammed by Support Teq for $199.99 and am going back and forth with Visa. What a pain and they removed all my computer's protection and came on line without permission.

This is exactly what happened to me a couple weeks ago. I had never heard of this before, but now that I've been a victim I see it everywhere. I did give access to my computer, but afterward I figured out it was a scam. I cancelled CC, changes all kinds of passwords, even had my internet provider reset the IP address on my computer. Called Lifelock, put a 90-day fraud alert on credit, and filed complaint with FTC. Then took the computer to reputable tech I've used before for a check. I also blocked the phone numbers. I feel I minimized the damage and I'm a lot wiser now about this.

Only took FTC's five Commissioners, 1,000 employees and a $100 million annual budget, a decade to help! WOOT! That's only a billion dollars!


I got one of those calls Tuesday afternoon. Guy w/ thick accent(India?)called and asked if I had a computer? "I told him NO, but if I did, I bet you'd tell me how to get you into it so you could mess it up for me?" That resulted in a very quick hang up and a laugh from me. I figure it's their dime.

My husband played a long game with them once that went on for about 10 minutes, pretending he knew nothing about computers, talking to them in a foreign accent too. He pretended it was our sons computer and he asked them to help him to find the power switch. He played along, not really even being anywhere near the computer, but making them think he did everything they asked. Then the guy told him to hold on while he got his supervisor on the line (thinking he had a live one who was gullible). Then my husband told him he was playing them and he knows they are scammers, and the man cussed out my husband and hung up. We didn't get calls for a long time after that....we sure had a good laugh with my husband's "show" and foreign accent!

Another time, I just told the caller, "Wait..can I ask you something first?...If you were to die today, do you believe you would go to heaven or hell?" the caller hesitated, then hung up on me.

This has happened TWICE on my Mac, accompanied by a loud alarming BUZZ that jolts and startles you. And it freezes the screen so you can't close the app using normal means; I had to do a "force quit" -- bad stuff!

Please furnish legit computer security software that can be used.Thank you.

Please add buttons so we can share on social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn! Thanks!

I call the 800 numbers periodically and wait until they answer and then hang up... costs them money every time. We should post the numbers and just blast them until they give up.

I got the FTC involved and I got my money back. And yes, they are all from India and speak horrible English!

Thank you for all the information on computer scams.

These people are clever.They keep changing the website like anything. they have especial payment gateways.. They ask their victims to sign digital and cleverly protect them ... victims fell trap to this..Especially the old people who are naive... I can name two companies and their owner who are doing this scam business with multiple websites from past 8 years. Getting hold these two people will enable you get at least 50 other people who are doing this business. Tousif Arfeen from adeebaeservices. com and Techkangaroos RS Baghel from RSB Infosolutions

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

I got 2 laptop. Those hacker they hack into my computer and usually POP UP windows come up and they ask I need to call to fix it, i did call the 888 number, they guide me back to MICROSOFT calling center, the guy name DAVID check online and find out thiese info: TCP DESKTOP : VD3KH61:49738 ERROR CODE: ERR7343DYJ6 Number to call: 866.211.1905 (POP UP) 1-800.210.4126 ( from Microsolf ) Terrible part, DAVID told me that's my computer got hacker from Vietnam. If you believe that's true then we need to take action about VC hide in US. Please let people know, those info IS HIDE IN YOUR COMPUTER or not, check it out for save, save for you and for the country. Syracuse NY 13208

1-800-210-4126 the receptionist is INDIAN voice and finally ask money: 1. one year up to $159.00 2. two year xxxxx 3. three years xxxxxx 4. 5 years charge up to $2000.00 800-211-1905 at just ask money first talk later. So please check out those info, if MICROSOLF has involved to fight with VIRUS ATTACK or not... the best I have been challenge in 2017 and most recently

I hung up on the scammers and blocked the number. Haven't heard from them since.

I got scammed sounded very convincing, he even told me not to answer POP UPS and only open mail with https very convincing, he provided me with a fake invoice with name of Aspire IT services licenced in Canada he wanted a check sent to him electronically, with ck. # acct. # and routing #

I just used my real number for a learning program and already been harassed I must change my number too many times I do not want to enter my number for this other Acct I'm using for school only thanks

I have COX telephone, and one feature I like is that when I get a call from someone selling stuff I don't need/want,
I can block their number from calling me again. Phone just rings once then call is blocked. Just cuts caller off in mid-sentence. Works great 4 me. COL. SEK

Thanks for the tips. :)

Thank you for keeping us aware of these people.

My Dad was just scammed by theses people. He called the number and let them have access to his computer to fix t. They installed two things on his computer and asked him to write a check for 299.00. They would send fed ex to pick up the check. When I found out about this I had him stop payment on the check immediately and deleted the program they put on there. He is afraid they are going to come back on him because he stopped payment. He believes he could be in trouble because of this. I'm not sure what else to do, how do I keep him safe, he is 80.

if you use a answering machine and let it answer the call they hang up

My mother in law just fell for this they tried to get $1000 off her but she said no then have them $300... can anyone tell me what she should do and I'm afraid there still in her computer since she gave them access to it... she went to the bank and canceled her bank card but they already got the money before she did that..any help is appreciated

This FTC article explains what to do if you think there is malware (malicious software) on a computer. Your mother in law should not use the computer for banking or shopping until she knows it is safe. She should update the security software. The software will scan the computer to find any viruses or spyware on the machine. Read about malware and how to get rid of it.

I just got a call from A2Z Cleaner Pro. I am 76 yrs. old when I got the warning that my computer was infected. I could not get rid of the warning and ended up calling the number. They convinced me to get a 3 yr. program for $ 348.63 and took control of my computer, said they fixed it and had me sign a check for the money. Now I am not sure what to do to get rid of it. The bank has not yet called me to verify the check that I signed on-line to them and I want to cancel this. What should I do? They said they were from Microsoft and now I find out that this is probably a scam. Please tell me what to do.


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