Scam Alert

Fraudsters constantly develop new scams to steal money from consumers and violate their rights. Education and awareness are the best tools to combat consumer fraud.
Check this page regularly to learn about recent scams and how to avoid them.

Tech Support Scam

May 16, 2017

The Scam

It’s a normal morning. You’re following your usual routine, enjoying a cup of coffee and browsing the internet. A group of pop ups or an email appear on your screen, warning you of a computer virus that could wipe out all of your important documents, photos, and applications. The message is clear; click here or call us to have a technical support representative help you. This is the only way to solve the issue! Eager to save your computer, files, and personal data from harm, you hand over your credit card information and allow tech support to remotely access your computer, breathing a sigh of relief.

The Truth

A scammer, pretending to work for a reputable company, will now add viruses to your computer, allowing them to collect all of your personal information as you continue your normal routine. They may also ask you for your credit card information in order to charge you for their “services”, and refuse to return access to your computer until you pay up. These scammers can also direct you to a website, asking for personal information including credit card and other sensitive financial information. They don’t even need to speak to you over the phone or remotely access your computer to steal your money.

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, created a consumer alert for this tech scam and has provided a guide to help consumers protect themselves and report scammers. Here are a few tips from this guide.

10 Ways to Protect Yourself From Tech Support Scams

1. If you get a call from someone claiming to be a tech support person, hang up.

2. If you get an unfamiliar pop-up window, close it.

3. If you receive a suspicious email or text message, delete it.

4. If you are asked to provide remote access to your computer, hang up. Never give control of your computer or provide payment or sensitive information to someone whom you do not know.

5. Be aware of links and avoid suspicious websites.

6. Do not be pressured into purchasing software or computer services. Do your own research.

7. Run current versions of anti-virus software on your computer. Purchase consumer software from known and trusted sources.

8. Do not rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller. Criminals know how to manipulate caller ID systems to make it appear they are calling from a local or legitimate number.

9. Never give out any of your passwords. No legitimate company requests your password.

10. Change your browser settings to block pop-ups from unfamiliar websites. If you see a pop-up alert, don’t click on it and don’t call any of the phone numbers listed on the pop-up. If you encounter an unwanted pop-up window, you can close your internet browser by following these steps:

  • Apple: you can close your browser by using Force Quit: (1) either access Force Quit from the Apple icon menu or press Command+Option+Escape simultaneously to open the Force Quit Applications window; (2) select your web browser; and (3) click on “Force Quit.”
  • Windows: you can close your browser by using the Task Manager: (1) press Ctrl+Alt+Del and click on Task Manager or simply press on Ctrl+Shift+Esc; (2) select your web browser; and (3) click on “End Task.”

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