Official-sounding calls about an email hack

There’s a new twist on tech-support scams — you know, the one where crooks try to get access to your computer or sensitive information by offering to “fix” a computer problem that doesn’t actually exist. Lately, we’ve heard reports that people are getting calls from someone claiming to be from the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. Their claim? That your email account has been hacked and is sending fraudulent messages. They say they’ll have to take legal action against you, unless you let them fix the problem right away.

If you raise questions, the scammers turn up the pressure – but they’ve also given out phone numbers of actual Federal Trade Commission staff (who have been surprised to get calls). The scammers also have sent people to the actual website for the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. (It’s a real thing: it’s an organization that helps governments work together on cross-border privacy cooperation.)

Here are few things to remember if you get any kind of tech-support call, no matter who they say they are:

  • Don’t give control of your computer to anyone who calls you offering to “fix” your computer.
  • Never give out or confirm your financial or sensitive information to anyone who contacts you.
  • Getting pressure to act immediately? That’s a sure sign of a scam. Hang up.
  • If you have concerns, contact your security software company directly. Use contact information you know is right, not what the caller gives you.

Read on to learn more about tech-support scams and government imposter scams. And, if you spot a scam, tell the FTC.

Tagged with: email, imposter, scam

Comments

I received several calls from Techteamwork.com over the past couple of days. I had been mislead by this firm in the past, when I was in a stressful period and having trouble with my wife's pc. I clicked on a link that read something like pc tech support. Today I finally answered my phone and a man with an pronounced Indian accent (very difficult to understand) began he was calling me to refund $200 of the money I had paid in 2014. I was sceptical. He insisted he was representing the company I had done business with wanted to return my money. I played along until he had me download a program that would let him take control of my computer so he could "help me fill out a form". In the midst of this action I hung up, restarted my computer and found the downloaded file and deleted it, then I emptied my trash. The phone rand and a different Indian accented man said he was calling from the Federal Trade Commission and said he was responding to a complaint from me. I told him to stop calling me. He became very rude threatening me to "take action". I told him I was going to report this incident and hung up.

You have useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

We've had continuous daily phone calls from a "Bridgette" claiming they have information for us about our credit card, We are then prompted to hold the line and someone will assist us. There are dozens of area codes showing on our caller ID. After realizing upon answering " Hello this is Bridgette" is on the line. We've never stayed on the line long enough to speak with anyone and hang up immediately. We have been advised not to redial the number for it could cause problems for us. So now we rarely answer our phone calls and this is happening for more than 6 months. Just does not end !

If u mean Bridgette from credit card services the FTC has already caught them. So if they are back at it again report it but have good and enough information about it or they will keep calling.

I got another call from Bridgett" today on my cell phone. I bet I get 3-5 calls per month or more from Bridgett and card holder services. I hang up every time

Get Caller ID. If the phone number displayed is one you don't know or if the caller refuses to display it, hang up.

I have received same type calls, these people should be monitored and put in jail, in India or where ever they make calls from, they use multiple (800 or 877) phone numbers and use different call names, usually about computer support or email scams

I received a cold call from a company claiming to be a division of Microsoft, called the Microsoft Care and Support Corp. claiming that my computer had been hacked and Microsoft had been alerted by their internal systems engineers. They said my Security Certificate was going to be revoked if I didnt upgrade thru their engineers and technician, leaving my computer unable to legally operate in the United States. Great come on. I said how much does this cost? NOTHING. I said OK reluctantly only to find that a supervisor was brought on due to the complexity of my issue. After half an hour or more of dilly dallying around, I was told I had to fork over 396$ for a lifetime certificate or 296$ for a 2 year permit to operate with a corrected Security Certificate. OTHERWISE my computer would be disabled, and "blocked" so it cannot ever operate again. He caused my PC to crash and said THIS is how that happens so pay up. desperate I tried to get this thru my credit card company but the bank said the # associated with that company had been reported as fraudulent. I realized I had been had and told the creep what he was doing is illegal and he ought to go to jail. I told him he was apparently not going to get my money so he said he was crippling my PC. I have not restarted it but I have no doubt he did something to rig my PC. It looked like he put a password on my PC but the #'s were astericked out so I could not see what he entered. Based on his crashing my PC a couple of times before I tried to pay, I am sure my computer is rigged to fail. OH, he also tried to get me to disclose my social securtiy number while I was trying to get him paid, but I told him to go to hell before I would tell him any of my social. This outfit should be stopped immediately. slick criminals. I am 65 and disabled and trust people too easily but this outfit had a very sophisticated technique.

Please report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

If you're able to restart your computer, and you suspect the caller put some malicious software ('malware') on your computer:

  • Don't shop, bank or do other online activities that involve user names, passwords, or other sensitive information.
  • Update your security software, then scan your computer for viruses and spyware. Delete anything it identifies as a problem. You may have to restart your computer for the changes to take effect.
  • Check your browser to see if it has tools that will delete malware, or will the browser to its original settings.
  • If your computer is covered by a warranty that offers free tech support, contact the manufacturer. Before you call, write down the model and serial number of your computer, the name of any software you installed, and a short description of the problem.
  • Many companies — including some affiliated with retail stores — offer tech support. Telephone and online help usually are less expensive, but it can be hard to find a reputable company. To get technical support you could look for a company’s contact information on a software package or on the receipt for your computer.

Hello I got the same call today saying he was from Microsoft I ask him where he is and he said he was in California but he had no idea that California is one hour behind Calgary ab so anyways he didn't get my money but just to let people no they r calling from a 19917 number what is probably some form of calling card so please don't turn on your computer if it's not on but if it is on tell them it's not our you just don't have a computer and hang up Carrie from Calgary Alberta canada

How do I report them? I have been getting a call every night at about 10:00 p.m. claiming to be somebody from Microsoft. I've repeated told them I'm on the no call list. The name that shows up is Roy C Robinson with a phone number of 1-541-526-3174.

You can report the calls to the National Do Not Call registry, at donotcall.gov.

It is about time for these crook to go to jail.

I actually talk to them and tell them they have skills and can find a real job where they won't be going to hell for theft. All religions say theft will cause you to bad things.

I appreciate the info that you're sending out to help protect and warn. Thank you for doing this job for hard working and law-abiding Americans.

I've reported several "IRS" attempts with phone numbers and transcript of what was said. Nothing is done though right? I think we consumers need to go on the offense with your help and catch them. What good does it do to report to you? I got 3 more calls in 2 days last week and it's frustrating to know they will succeed with some poor innocent

I haven't got the email yet. But I have received many phone calls from Microsoft with a very heavy Indian accent. :-)

I also have received many calls from "Microsoft". I first asked him to tell me the IP ADDRESS he was referring to. He was shocked because he knew I knew he needed this info in order to know it was MY computer. Then I told him I didn't have Microsoft that I have APPLE computers and use their software. Never got a call again!

I have told them this numerous times. Today I got 14calls from the, I wrote down the number each time. Each time I have lead them on asking such questions like you did. I have even told them I was in front of my computer and doing exactly what they asked. I then said Oh you have to have it on. They stopped for about a week and now they have started again.

Thanks for the information. I believe most consumers are afraid of these "unseen" hackers so even the most innocent "goof" may seem like a hack. It's good to have a source to obtain a greater understanding without fear of being drawn into a marketing call.

Sir i am using alone my email but i dnot know about calls and other problems thanks

How to avoid scams?The people who request to fix computers are they a certified technician?

got a call from benchmarh, saying they are a microsoft server let them in my computer and they showed ma all the foreign addresses attempts at hacking

Already worked with them. I even asked them if they were hackers. I fell for it hook, line, and sinker. Didn't buy their so called products but I did let them take control of my computer.

What should I do if I already gave permission to a company to control my PC?

This FTC article tells more about tech support scams.

It has tips about what to do if you already gave someone access to your computer.

You will need to get rid of malware (malicious software) that a scammer might have installed on your computer.

I keep getting emails supposedly from yahoo saying that because of inactivity on the account they are going to cancel it in three days if I don't verify my account. I use my yahoo account at least 2 times a day. I replied to the email saying as much with no response. The email was suspect and I did not verify my account and yahoo is still open. The last yahoo email was at least 1 month ago and my account is still open.

Those emails could be from a scammer who is phishing for details about your account.

Don't reply to email, text, or pop-up messages that ask for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links within them either – even if the message seems to be from an organization you trust.

If you have a question about your account, go to the company website yourself. Use the customer service or 'contact us' information.

My identity has been hacked too. They have got into bank accounts ...open bank accounts..don't know what else...been scammed a few times by men saying there in the military..

You can go to IdentityTheft.gov to report identity theft and get a personal recovery plan. You can provide details about the theft, and get pre-printed letters to send to creditors, banks and other businesses where your accounts were affected.

If you gave someone your bank account number and he took your money, contact your bank. Explain what happened and ask them if you need a new account number. Don't share your personal or financial information with people you don't know, or people you just met online. Even if they say they will put money in your account, if they have your account number, they can take money out.

I have get ten this calls too but they say they work for At&t which they not.I have already talked At&t they don't work for them I had this phone blocked.

Thanks for the info. Very helpful.

Thank you

Yes, I hear you loud and clear. I have received several of these scams in the last few month. I just ignore them.

I had a software company steal my information and I've had money stolen. My identity has been stolen too.

You can go to IdentityTheft.gov to report identity theft and get a personal recovery plan. You can provide the details you have, and get pre-printed letters to send to creditors, banks and other businesses where your accounts were affected.

I am getting calls from folks claiming to be at DELL or Microsoft on my system shutting down unexpectedly (but of my 4 PC's none have shut down). I have requested they no longer call me and they continue to call me. I do not know how to stop it.

Thanks you very much

I receiver a call yesterday 4/5. The caller had a accent from the Pacific area telling me I had a problem in my computer that need fixing and right off wanted access to my system. I have been in this computer business a long time and asked question relative to how and when. He replied with pressure but no answers. I have software "belived?" does a good job of protection but one never knows. I hungup.

I GOT CAUGHT IN THIS ONE. FORTUNATELY I REVERSED THE CHARGE AND REPLACED MY CREDIT CARD SINCE THEY HAD MY NUMBER

This is very helpful information especially since most people tend to panic and may quickly hand over information or access before really thinking the call through. Thanks!

appriciate your timelywarnings pleasekeepitup thx.

To FTC, my primary email:

 why i haven't recieved anything until now ?. The answers is Mafia's are in Cellular, bank and delivery company. Write me and i will give you explainations how to bring my cases to IMF /INTERNATIONAL COURTS & HUMAN RIGHTS. Thank you. M

I got an automated call from the IRS stating someone has filed a lawsuit against me and before it goes any farther we need to fix it. Then I wanted to call back 757 837 0528 phone number is bogus!!!!! WTF? Is this a scam too? Amber

Thanks for the info. This is just crazy to call the fTC now that is gutsy.

Thank you for this valuable info. I reported a scam phone call yesterday to the FTC via email. My phone call was from someone saying he was from Microsoft.

Tried to forward to my important people, but it keeps getting blocked by my carrier.

We called our wireless router (NetGear) actually we were advised to do so by our Time Warner provider, as we were having trouble connecting & did not know our wireless password, after about 30 minutes of do this then this the guy (with a difficult accent) mentioned a cost involved to continue fixing the problem. I think was $30.00/hr, he took about additional hour and took control of the computer and then convinced that if we paid the $129.00, we would have 2 year free tech support!

Thank you for the information

I had cable carrier put a block on calls that seem to ne fraudulent i.e. from India.

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