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Scammers and “customer service” — another imposter scam

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If you want to contact a company’s customer service department, you can do a quick search online and often find what looks like its phone number or email. But is the information at the top of your search results actually correct?

Based on reports the FTC has gotten, sometimes the answer to that question is: no. Some scammers are creating fake customer service information for popular companies and paying for it to show up in your search results. When you contact them, they’ll offer to “resolve” the problem you may have — if you wire money to them or send gift cards. They might also ask for your personal information, or to get remote access to your computer.

Business imposter scams have the same end goal — getting your money or information. Here are some ways to stay safe:

  • Check the product packaging. If you still have it, the packaging, manual, or other print material for your product is a good source of real customer service information.
  • Visit the company’s official website for contact information. Type the company’s website address directly into your browser. That will get you to the company’s website to look for customer service contact information —maybe a phone number, email address, or a way to submit a message directly through their website. If you use a search engine to find the company, though, double check the URL to be sure you’ve found the company’s official site, not a scammer’s site.
  • Never wire money, send gift cards, or give your account password in exchange for customer service help. No legitimate company will ask you to send gift cards or wire money, or give your password in exchange for customer service help. Hang up on anyone who does.

Have you spotted fake customer “service”? Report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

If you gave personal information to a business imposter, head to IdentityTheft.gov for a free, personal recovery plan and advice on how to protect your wallet.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Thank you for this blog. I cannot tell you how sophisticated these scammers really are. I consider myself to be intelligent with healthy skepticism, but fell victim to a fake site in my due diligence. Please share more like this as well as deeper intel on how to report, engage, and get real assistance. Reporting only goes so far.

I've sent scam emails and texts but they don't stop.

They keep billing me and I have repeatedly asked them to stop. I don’t want to have to pay my bank $35. for stop payment.

My tech-challenged neighbor fell for this scam when trying to contact HP. Allowed them remote access. On the advice of many of us, he changed all his passwords and got security software. They did have access and he had his tax info on it, so he could suffer ID theft. He’s hopefully checking credit reports frequently

Many times nowadays companies do not furnish much if any manual or instructions for their products so you are indirectly coerced to go online for help. That can be a problem.

I got attacked by a company posing as my computer protection company.Norton but they'er not Norton. They made my screen look like I had a virus I could control my mouse they kept flashing DO NOT TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER CALL THIS NUMBER! IT IS YOUR SECURITY, I called they said they worked for Norton, I let them in to fix it ! than they said I had a Trojan virus and it would cost $799.99 to fix. I had a hard time getting them out of my computer and off the phone , I had to promise to pay them Aug 20th of 2020. I had an appointment that day . The next day I called the real Norton I explained I paid them $400.00 for a security pkg I bought now I have to pay $799.99 more I can't afford it . I found out it was not Norton they made sure my computer is secure and when that flashing page happens to you. TURN OFF YOUR COMPUTER IT WILL NOT HURT IT . My point is to inform who ever reads this it is a scare tactic. When it happen to me I felt like I was being robbed over the computer. I f this happens to you don't call the # just reboot your computer. God Bless You.

How can consumers be certain that contact information on a “popular company’s “ website is legitimate, and how is it that there is no verification with the registered company by the purchaser before the ad is allowed to run? Is there no legal recourse against companies that allow this?

I received a call from someone who stated he was from the Medicare dept. Did not give him any information regarding my medicare, but was concerned as he knew my name and date my coverage started. I figured it was a scam thing, but i'm concerned as to how he obtained this information an how he could use it.

I am bombarded with fake communications from Xfinity, my vehicle extended warranty company, ATT(with whom I have no dealings). Either the logo or header has no colors, just black/white and/or has an account number assigned that is not mine...very easily-detected "STUFF" that red-flags whatever it is. Take notice of these "things" prior to responding and DON'T! If you know you don't owe, have an account with questionable companies, IGNORE IT, DON'T ANSWER or RESPOND.

I had 2 phone calls yesterday that sounded like they were from the same foreign-sounding male. The first call came in from a local number (260)485-2756 at 1:21 PM. He said I was being scammed by someone using my Apple account. I told them I didn't have an Apple account and I hung up. Later that day I had another call from a male who said someone had ordered a $799 phone from Amazon and he said he thought it might be a scam.
He said he could help me get the charges dropped if I gave him my password and account #. This phone call came from (707)074-6983 at 6:45 PM on 08/25/20. I told him I would call Amazon myself as they would know that information. He got mad and said something that was not from the English language. I called Amazon directly and they said there was nothing unusual with my account. They also sent me this contact information. I hope this will help get these scammers stopped.

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