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Avoiding tech support scams

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You’re working on your computer when, suddenly, a message pops up on the screen: “Virus detected! Call now for a free security scan and to repair your device.” That’s a tech support scam. Don’t call, text, or email. Legit tech support companies don’t operate that way.

Scammers pose as big-name companies and use pop-up messages, fake websites, and phone calls to trick you into thinking your computer has an urgent problem. Their plan is to get your money by selling you worthless software, enrolling you in fake programs, or getting you to pay for useless tech support. The scammers urge you to call a toll-free number immediately, threatening that you may lose personal data if you don’t.

When you call, the scammer might ask you to give them remote access, pretend to run a diagnostic test, or tell you they’ve found a virus or other security issue. They try to sell you a security subscription or other “services” that range from worthless (for instance, they’re available for free elsewhere) to malicious (they install dangerous software that can help them steal your personal information.)

What should you do? If you get a pop-up to call a number to fix a virus on your computer, ignore it. Your computer is almost certainly fine. But if you’re concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly — and don’t use the phone number in the pop-up or on caller ID. Use a number you know is real, like the one on a software package or your receipt. Tech support scammers like to place online ads pretending to be legitimate companies, so be sure you have the correct telephone number for the real tech company before calling.

And if someone asks you to pay for anything — including tech support services — with a gift card, cash reload card, or a wire transfer, that’s a scam. No legitimate company will tell you to pay that way. If you see that, report it at FTC.gov/complaint.

July is Military Consumer Month. Share this video with the military community to help them avoid tech support scams.

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Tagged with: imposter, military

Comments

thank you for your "PRO" advised, the best thing I can
do is, reboot my PC and problem gone for good,but use
one of the best program to protected your PC

Thank You for posting this and sending info to me! i just experienced this kind of atmospere w a woman from the phillipines who said AOL is still working on the issue i had. then she wanted to give me free security for a month! i really couldnt get who she was but she still claims aol is not taking calls in USA only in phillipines and Japan! mmmm?

I GET THESE NOTICES ALL THE TIME, THE 1ST ONE I GOT SEVERAL YRS AGO, I HAD JUST PURCHASED MY 1ST LAPTOP SO I THOUGHT THE CALL WAS AN HONEST ONE, LUCKILY I CONTACTED MY SECURITY COMP PROVIDED BY MY INTERNET PROV, THEY INFORMED ME IT WAS A SCAM.

I have had a few phone calls where the caller is telling me that there are problems with my Microsoft software. NOT LIKELY SINCE I HAVE AN APPLE USING A DIFFERENT WEB BROWSER!!

Thank you for letting me know how to spot a scan. Thank you very much.

I got what said was an "Urgent Message!" saying my computer had pornographic websites downloaded and I must call the number immediately or it would take my personal information, compromise my operating system and ruin my hard drive. I deleted it and went on with my life, obviously I am still steaming right along on my keyboard and no nudes or nasty shots have invaded my computer. I really looked legit, Windows and everything, but when I hovered over the address, it was NOT a Windows address.

I was scammed out of 7,500, a hard, expensive lesson

I've been getting E-mails saying I owe $2000 for tech support renewal, I've never paid $2000 for tech support and never will. Now I'm getting phone calls, sometimes they call 14 or 15 times an hour without leaving a message

Why don,t you just block their number? I have call blocking from my telephone and internet provider, check with your phone co to block theses calls. I blocked 52 numbers now what a great relief.

Unfortunately, blocking a call is done using the phone number received in the last callerid block that’s sent between the first and second rings of your phone. It’s easy to fake the caller ID and post an incorrect number with every call - I know, I’ve written test software to do much the same - making blocking ineffective. This happened to us end of last year with a solar panel vendor/broker. They’d call five times a day for months using the same ID name but a different ID number. Blocking their calls was impossible.

This happened to me on Thursday. I am freaking out cause I don't have that type of money! Also they called me and I told them no and they said turn on your computer so we can take a security key off! When they said that I got really creeped out. After I got the email I totally turned my computer off and told the guy I would not turn it on. I also called the FTC to file a complaint. Gave them the bad people's email address and the numbers they used. I went to my bank to let them know what was going on and told them to decline any auto renewals at this time and to please keep me posted. The bad people keep calling but I am not answering. I pray they don't try to take money out!

FTC, what are you doing to shut down and prosecute these scammers????

I was scammed a couple of months ago into a call indicating that IYogi support was calling to give me a refund due to inability to cover me any more for the service. I fell into a trap in that the form that locked my computer until I paid them the error they made. I was forced to use my debit card at the local Walmart and buy $2700.00 in gift cards and immediately give them the numbers. They then unlocked my computer and left me with only the amount of the Questionable refund. I reported to Police and BBB along with the Maine bureau to report. No luck on getting money back.

7/22/2018 - on my skype-site popped out an announcement, that my skype should be up-dated and I should allow it, otherwise it will expire. I did!!! The design of the skype-page has been changed yet it seems to work. Have I done something wrong??? Thanks for answer.

One thing that is good with some of these phone scammers is to talk softly. Just a little at first, but slowly lower your voice as you pretend to get to your computer and find what they were looking for. That is about the right time to sound your handy-dandy boat horn, kept within easy reach of the phone for just such occasions.

i had it happen called the police to file a complaint which helped someone said he was from Microsoft and personal datq had been stolen and if i didn't call in 5 minutes i would have my computer blocked i tried to shut down did and when i powered up and went into internet explorer it kept coming up and finally i called told them it was scam and if they didn't stop putting it on my computer they would be sorry guess what i used goggle until the next day and then checked ie and it was gone the police officer thought it was funny when i told them they would be sorry

The most fun I've had was to play along with one of these folks, pretending to follow the instructions but making lots of mistakes that took many minutes to correct. He must have thought I was a total idiot, but he persevered. Then when he got to the money part I told him I'd known all along it was a scam and had purposely wasted as much of his time as possible so he could not use it to scam others. I hung up - he called back! Screamed at me and called me a son of a bitch! I laughed at him and hung up again.

I never got a call like this until my mother-in-law moved in and started using our home phone as her main line; now we get calls from "Microsoft" regularly to tell us that there is something wrong with our computer. We also get calls DAILY from a loan company offering us this and that. I can only imagine that the scammers are plugged into whatever mailing lists seniors are prone to use and milk them to the max.

reading comments regarding microsoft phone calls have rec many which i ignore but yesterday i was threatened on robo call that the local police will be called within 24 hours how dare they threaten me in my own home that is crossing the line i reported to ftc that could scare an elderly person call was from new york i live in michigan

I am embarrassed to say I let a scam company onto my computer via a remote session...and then gave them my checking account # for a one time e-check. The alert came from Microsoft (NOT) and stated that I would be shut down so that I didn't infect them also if I didn't call this 800 number. They get on remote session with you and show you a false view of what you think is a totally mess; infected by a foreign entity (well, yes it was - them). You're then transferred to the division that will clean up the mess. I questioned why I was now with a company called Tech Axis and they said the Diagnostic Expert (supposedly Microsoft's) transferred me. While they were on remote I did call Microsoft and they informed me that they never reach out to their consumers. So....I shut the computer down and immediately stopped payment on the check. Well....6 days later I get an alert from my bank that they removed the funds anyway ($299.99). It is removed from a company call Itimes. My bank insisted I call them before filing the complaint. They said they had already issued the credit (yeah right) and would see it in 3-4 days. What's shocking to me is that they retained my account number when they said it would not be in their system. The company Tech Axis is out of Pakistan and most like Itimes is also. I encourage you to contact the Federal Trade Commission so that we can put a stop to this tech support scam!!!

I fell for it but my husband cold booted to kick them out. He ran the security program and deleted the crap they were loading. The company name is Tech Access. Dubai and Pakistan based. They even post as a legitimate company on Google. Pure scam. I also closed my checking account and put a stop payment on the check. It cost me $35.00 to stop check---I learned my lesson. Now they harass me for payment with several calls a day. I contacted the State Attorney General and Microsoft. Hang up and cold boot these guys out of your life.

Wish I had known this. I got scammed by Microsoft hacker. They froze my computer and I couldn't use it. Not knowing, I called the number. Ended up agreeing to pay $299. They took over my computer for 3 hours. Gave them my checking account info. I found out it was a scam. Took my computer to a local repair person who I trusted. He sent me to the bank immediately. We were able to close the account before I lost any money, but have to get my automatic payment accounts change to the new account. A lot of hassle but didn't lose money. Just be so careful. My computer repair angel is getting all that stuff off. So thankful he sent me to the bank before I got robbed. Bet I don't ever do that again. They were so convincing. Intending to go to police station and report it.

Exactly what happened to me, but I closed the my bank account before they got into the money. They sure were convincing. Don't feel bad, I fell for it too.

This website is uselessly outdated. I doubt there are ANY live people monitoring these comments. I've spent HOURS filing complaints & NOTHING has changed.

In my case, the pop-up (a full page pop-up by the way) said I'd been hacked. I couldn't click out of the webpage, and the message said if I turned off the computer, Microsoft would automatically disable it. Had I been thinking, I'd have tried a hard boot, or done a control/alt/delete, chosen task manager and ended the browser task. I called because I didn't know what to do. I wanted proof that the tech was from Microsoft, and he took me to another screen where he could log in to a Microsoft tech page. His login was successful. Obviously, the page was NOT a Microsoft page. Then he needed permission to access my computer remotely to see where the problem was. By the time he'd "diagnosed the problem" and were at the point of fixing it, I was pretty sure it was a scam. That's when they said it would cost $550 to fix it. They were IN MY COMPUTER and I thought if I said "no", they'd ruin the machine. I paid. Today I had my credit cards changed, and I spent about three hours with a real tech person double checking / fixing things on the computer. I am hopeful. The best thing is just not to fall for it. I'll never know if my identity has been stolen due to things they might have recovered during the scan, but I will be watchful.

good info

I believe this happened to me and I did pay. Now I get this email out of the blue saying they are going to auto renewel me and charge me 2000 Dollars which I don't have. What do I do?

If you gave the scammers your bank account or credit card number when you paid, they could take money from you. Contact your bank or credit card company and ask how to protect your accounts.

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