No gift cards for tech support scammers

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Hey computer users, it’s time for a pop quiz.

A) You get an urgent call or email from a tech support company, saying your computer has a problem. Should you give the company remote access to your computer to make repairs?

B) A warning announcing “suspicious activity” or “security threat detected” appears on your computer screen. Should you call the number shown on the screen to talk to a technician?

C) One of these tech support companies asks you to pay for its services, maybe by using a gift card (like from iTunes or Amazon) or wire transfer. Should you?

The answer to all of these questions is No.

Here’s why: Your computer is almost certainly fine. Legit tech support companies don’t operate that way. Tech support scammers sometimes make false claims that they are associated with legitimate computer companies to make you believe them. The person who calls, or who gives you a toll-free number to call, is a scammer who wants to steal your money. If you give someone control of your computer, they can install malicious software that can help them steal your personal information. And anyone who asks you to pay for anything – including tech support services with a gift card is scamming you. No legitimate company will ever ask you to pay with a gift card. If someone wants you to pay with a gift card, please tell the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.

For more tips on avoiding a tech support scam, watch this video:

Comments

Thanks for the update. I have received a few of these already and ignored them. It is good to know that I was right.

Get these calls many times per week, often the foreign accent party calling is rude, demanding and claims that my computer is in danger. When asking basic questions, they stay with script, actually making it their goal to allow access to your computer to install malware and steal identity and confidential information. Tired of the calls.

Don't answer calls from numbers you don't recognize.

I am a Senior citizen, and have always been skeptical of those "to good to be true solicitations" which are increasingly prevalent. The younger generation and seniors continue to be attacked. I worked for years at the Better Business Bureau resolving complaints and educating those folks that actually called and wanted to know if these things were real. I became obsessed with the crooks that did get,usually an older person,( my mom was one also)to send money. I applaud you for continuing to inform people of these atrocious evil people. Finally, is there anything you might suggest that I could do to let everyone, EVERYONE, know and be aware of these crimes. I know your agency does immense good informing us, however, those without internet or computer knowledge are victimized by the minute. Thank you for listening..

Thank you for posting. I was victim today. I can't quit bawling! My daughter is having major medical issues and she has been falling a lot. She fell today and shattered her phone. It had all of my mom's voice mails and videos of her in the hospital right before she died. She just passsed. I got my daughter to the clinic and she was taken care of and then she realized what all she lost on her phone. I took her and bought a new phone and for some reason her Apple password was locked. Att said get home and call Apple. I googled the number and hit call. Apparently it was a scammer I called. Again, I was in panic mode, but it still didn't sound right Bc he told me to go purchase an iTunes card and he could help me. I hung up and called back and the lady told me the same thing so I stayed on the phone and when I went to the store he told me to purchase 2 cards. $50 and $100. I said no you didn't tell me that and yada yada and my daughter begging me not to, I did Bc he said he would put it right back into the account. I sat in the parking lot and gave him the cards numbers. Then fought on the phone with them for an hour. Finally called att and asked for the Apple phone number and reached Apple. They confirmed the cards were empty and the money was gone. Sent me information to speak with local police, FTC, and then corporate For Dollar General. I don't want to file a police report Bc I don't want it to go in the paper about how stupid I was! All of this just to get the voicemails and videos recovered of my mom. Now it's summer, no paycheck until August Bc I'm a teacher. My husband was out of work Bc he almost died right after mom and was in ICU for weeks. I just want to puke. I know I won't see that money again but it sure would be nice.

I was a victim of the same thing last week. I fell for the gift card scam but I purchased a $500 card. They kept telling me to buy more in order to fix my computer. I finally told them no and hung up. Now I've prayed about it and asked God to take care of it. I understand how you feel and I thank you for sharing your story.

I lost $1600 on Friday to a scammer to which I paid $1200 in gift cards and then he took the rest out of my bank account when it was open. He was a tech guy who wanted to refund me $500 I paid for lifetime tech support. He put too much into my checking account and asked me to get the giftcards and yes at Dollar General. I went to Walmart and Walgreen's. I cannot believe how stupid I was; as I look back it was very bad judgment after I let him on my screen. He sounded so much like the guy who "fixed" my computer some months before. This man sounded Indian or someone coming from the Eastern part of the world. I cannot believe how evil this man was in the way he used me and went on and on and on in his dupe. I now can't cover my bills for this month and I have a trip planned and I don't know what to do. It is very sad all around.

ok

How do I prevent this scammers to continue to harrass me by calling again and again.

This FTC page has tips to help you handle unwanted calls.

Thank you, FTC for always staying on top of these bad guys!

I fell for this on 5/25 due to flash on screen which I could not get rid of. I gave access to my computer by NTS 1-844-2608 for services and paid them $400. I fear that malicious software has been installed on my computer. What should I do to reclaim my $400 get the malicious software off my computer??

This FTC article about malware has tips to help you detect and get rid of malware that might be on your computer.

i had the same thing happened to me,I pray you put it on a credit card, I called my credit card company and they canceled the card and within a month i had my money back, so you might try that. Good luck

I fell for this too on June 16. Same question to you. Thank you

I've been victimized and had to freeze my credit reports. Scammer said Apple iCloud had been hacked. Number of felon was the spoofed number of the Apple Store.

In past 2 years, have run across over 50 "romance scammers" using same method of payment. They backdoor through FB and prey on senior citizens. Have documented each occurrance

I had someone call to fix my windows program and they quoted me a price. I laughed and told them I'm possible, I didn't have a computer. They may still be scratching their heads.

I worked in consumer protection 20 years ago....and the messages are still the same:
The tricksters are wily and their methods perhaps updated to current tech talk, but
If it seems based on fear or intimidation or too good to be true (money winnings!) don’t give an inch!

Glad to see that the FTC is attempting to stay on top of the digital scam artists. However, I don't like the video because the people acting nefariously are all dark skin people. #Stereotype #USGovernmentPushingAStereotype

Thank you, I had this happen to me about 5 hours ago. I knew enough to shut down the computer and this stops them in their tracks. I have friends who actually fell for this scam. I will recommend your site so they can become informed on the latest scams out there.

Thank you, I had this happen to me about 5 hours ago. I knew enough to shut down the computer and this stops them in their tracks. I have friends who actually fell for this scam. I will recommend your site so they can become informed on the latest scams out there.

Unfortunately, I bit on this scam. After losing a lot of money, I called My gegular tech, and He told Me to turn My computer off so He couldn't do anything. He ordered Steam cards from Amazon. When asked How I liked them I told Amazon they were ordered by a scammer. I also called the fraud Dept at My bank and changed My debit card. Amazon cancelled orders that weren't sent yet, and My bank is alerting Me to any charges to make sure they are mine. I had to prove to Amazon that it is My account, and I finally got back in. I can't believe I fell for it. He told Me He was a tech that worked for the program I had.

I get those calls. I always ask "Which one?" Then I say that I have almost 2700 computers down at the server farm. I'll tell them that I don't have a computer at home. (After working with 2700 computers through half the night I need to get away from all computers.) As the server farm is about an hour away I'll have to call them back. I need their phone number. Which I never get. LOL!

So, how do I get those pop up announcements that say they have detected a threat to my computer to stop popping up? I have not fallen for this scam, and I have a recognized anti virus protection on my computer, but they are extremely aggravating.

Been there done that... but I knew this was another scammer just like all the others....wish they get a legit job instead of creating havoc for all of us!

I've been taken a couple of times but never again.

I have already reported a scam about federal government grants where they used someone else identify now the are using my identity and trying to scam my friends on Facebook so I was going to report it to fb yesterday evening

I had never seen a no.to call before but there was one yesterday I called they wanted 400.00 in Google play cards for a deposit for software and said I would get it back and refund 1,200.00 of the 2,500.00 I had lost

I didnt send any money and I put a reject on all calls from that no.585 326 0263 said he was a John Morris at Extension 310

who ets fraud&scam reports

You can report a fraud or scam to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don’t go into the law enforcement database.

I don't answer the phone unless I know who is calling.

Be careful. Scammers are spoofing the phone numbers of Apple stores and the like.

I got a call similar to this some time ago. Some guy who sounded like he was from India kept telling me I had some sort of virus on my computer, which I knew was false. I could also hear others in the background.
Since he could see the malware on my computer and wanted access to it, I asked him what was my IP address. He had to know that if he knew there was malware. He responded with a local IP that anyone could have. I asked again what my "public" IP address was and he got angry and called me a "stupid American." I laughed and he hung up.

I attempted to access my Amazon account and was unable to sign in with my password. Called the customer service number listed at the bottom of what was supposed to be an Amazon page and got an East Indian who explained that I was being victimized by three different hackers. He actually showed me where the hackers were. He convinced me to turn over control of my computer while he pretended to "clean it up" for me. He and his partner were charging $200. My daughter whose job entails knowledge of these kinds of scams, advised me to quickly turn off my computer, which I did. Irate, the scammers began to call my phone and the harassment began. Long story short----I had to pay a legitimate tech company $120 to remove the several pieces of malware that the scammers had placed on my computer IN LESS THAN 5 MINUTES! I also wound up changing my phone number. I am now very careful about everything.

I keep getting a booming voice that tells me not t0o shut down my computer because it is infected. At the same time this entity tries to save an .exe file to my computer. The first thing I do is IMMEDIATELY SHUT DOWN THE COMPUTER>

Just this week I had a flashing warning on my computer screen, warned to call this number because the computer was seriously infected. I didn't call, just rebooted and everything was fine. Then two days later I received a call from 'tech support at Windows'. I told them not interested without waiting for their spiel and hung up on them. The computer is still fine. It's ridiculous the amount of calls I get despite being on the do not call list.

Criminals don't care about the do not call list. Just don't answer calls from numbers you don't recognize.

Unfortunately I was also scammed by the computer techs last year. They kept calling to "update" my computer after the fact. When I would ask how they knew my computer was infected, they would tell me that I paid for coverage to protect my computer and they just know. I replaced my laptop shortly afterwards and when the big red flashing screen popped showing that I had an issue, I shut it down and took to my Geek Squad. Tech told me that Yahoo does not keep their virus protection up to date and I have stayed off Yahoo ever since. In the meantime, the calls still come in clusters leaving me voicemails to call right away. Not gonna happen.

Be careful when Googling for tech support. I know someone who recently wanted setup help for his Amazon Echo, called the 3rd search result echoalexasupport[.com], and was charged $299 to fix errors on his Mac. Once they divert from the main reason you called, politely tell them "no thanks".

BELIEVE IT OR NOT--THE BEST WAY TO GET RID OF THEM IS TO TALK TO THEM. BUT KEEP IN MIND WHAT , AND WHOM YOU ARE SPEAKING TO. THE WAY I LOOK AT IT, IS IF THEY TALK TO ME FOR TEN MINUTES, THEY WONT TALK TO SOMEONE ELSE MORE VULNERABLE. ALWAYS IF I TALK TO THEM, WHEN I ASK FOR THEIR INFO. SUCH AS SPELL FULL NAME,COMPANY NAME, EXACT SPELLING OF WEBSITE (WHICH MOST DONT HAVE)--I GET A HANG UP-- THEIR TIME WASTED. I ALSO HAVE A SIXTEEN DIGIT CREDIT CARD NUMBER WHICH IS FAKE, WHICH I KEEP STUMBLING OVER NUMBERS,YOU KNOW 7123 OR IS THAT WHAT DID I SAY?2137?
NEVER GIVE CORRECT CREDIT CARD NUMBER OR BANK INFO.
WASTE THEIR TIME I CAN ALMOST GAUARANTEE THEY WILL STOP CALLING

I called what I thought was Microsoft tech support and representative was adamant about me paying for services. After I allowed access to my laptop. Glad I chose not to use card or give out information for them to contact me. Low and behold the problem I was having ultimately disappeared when I used my installed security program to scan laptop.

I got a call from a guy saying he was from a security company that worked closely with Microsoft. He said there was a serious security issue on my computer, and wanted me to go on to a web site and download a tool that would fix my computer. I am always weary about downloading anything I’m not sure about to my computer, so this put me on guard.

I said to him, since you were able to scan my computer to determine the security issues, what’s the IP address my computer. He couldn’t answer that question, so I knew the call was bogus and hung up.

Another idea is have a whistle by your phone and when these scammers call blow it load in the phone that will give them an ear ache and/or a headache. I doubt they will want to call you back.

I had the same thing happened to me yesterday, they were telling me I was getting my college grant money if just get a gift card and put $200 which I did because I didn’t know how grants work it’s goinf to be my first year of college in the fall ;( and they wanted $480 more which I did not give them and I found out they weren’t what they said they were . I sadly lost my money and I’m tying to get it back from them but they are saying they can’t give it back until I pay ... can someone please help me find someone or a website that can help me get my money ? I saved it up for my college cloths and it breaks my heart that someone would do this to me or just anyone .

You probably can't get the money back. Scammers ask people to pay them with gift cards, because it is like getting cash. You could try contacting the company that issued the gift card you used.

Hi, there are scammers out there contact and scam the ladies through Instagram and Hangouts App, Google Voice Number. Asking for ITunes Cards and Bank wire and Walmart Money Transfer to different person each time. I happened to got scam since October 2017 and lost about 50K financially helped him abscess fell in love with him through online. The last time I helped him was in June and he stoppped contact me and burnt the phone number. He said because of security reasons and they can trace the voice and track the conversation, so he cannot talk on the phone or FaceTime me. Please help help to spread out the words and stop these animals to hurt more people.

Just lost $10,429.00 to "Geek Source." Started with pop-up. Paid them $429 for rummaging around in my computer for hours and then 5 years of support services. Seemed to be OK for six weeks or so, then they called & said they had to refund the money. They talked me into giving them access to my bank account in order to deposit the refund. I had to fill out an online form and when it came to the amount to be refunded, they caused the amount to have an extra digit, resulting in an extra $4000 being deposited (supposedly). They were even able to show me a false bank statement showing the extra money. They berated me for trying to scam them. They had me buy $3500 in gift cards at the Apple Store late in the evening -- a $500 bargain for me, right? They called me the next morning to say that my credit card company had refunded the money & the gift cards didn't work (they were again able to show me a facsimile of my credit card account showing the money refunded). They ran me around town to buy Target cards, which supposedly also didn't work & were refunded by the credit card company, and finally had me go to the bank and take out $3000 dollars and buy Google Play cards at CVS. They had transferred $4000 out of my savings account into my checking account to fool me into thinking my checking account had an extra $4000 in it. FINALLY, $10,500 later, it was over. I'm pretty sure these people were calling from India. Although I'm nearly 80, I shouldn't have been so stupid. They alternated persuasiveness with bullying -- it worked on me. Be aware!!

Received an email from someone pretending to be my boss requesting me to purchase Apple Gift cards and send the barcodes to him. Fortunately I didn't send them to him but I did purchase them. Kicking myself for not calling my boss first but I'm a loyal employee and do what I'm asked to do. Meanwhile I am trying to dispute the credit card transaction. Please READ all emails including looking at the email address and DO NOT under any circumstances go buy gift cards for ANYONE you do not know.

What happened with your credit card company?

I'm sure here goes Is it possible for people to or so called friends and family to take advantage of somene of you (me). I Just though like I need to venting this includeds SSI, IRAs PoA, I did not authorize anyone to have financial concerns and adding to your pleasure. Do want kids never had kids just your average gay male whos concern
Just worry for my well being and not retirement that's mine. #stoptheabuse where do I began reporting my "close friends " I'm 40 yrs old and still don't know how to start a pro folio and roll overs .

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