If you’ve got tech products, such as a computer or tablet, chances are you need tech support every now and then. That’s just the nature of tech. Chances are you also do your best to protect your computer and tech products with good antivirus programs. You keep them up to date and steer clear of shady internet sites (like porn) that could be harboring viruses or malware (spyware, ransomware, trojans, etc.).
However, just because you don’t frequent shady sites, doesn’t mean you’ll be safe from scammers posing as tech support gurus. Sure, your chances will decrease if you steer clear of such sites, but there are still some legitimate websites out there that when visited, could compromise your computer with a tech support scam.
What Are Tech Support Scams?
If you’ve been scammed by criminals posting as tech support, you’ll know exactly what a tech support scam is.
There you were just hopping along with websites doing your thing and bam! An alert pops up on your screen with an alarming noise to go along with it!
“Threat detected! Threat detected!” And your heart drops into your stomach! You’re paralyzed thinking, “What do I do?” But lo and behold, there’s a phone number posted there under the threat, insisting that you call for “tech support” to get rid of the virus.
Hopefully, you didn’t call… and didn’t fall for the scam.
For those who don’t know much about tech support scams, essentially, you need to know that there are shady scammers out there that work day and night trying to get access to your operating system on your computer. They want in…and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to try.
While it used to be that the majority of scams were found on shady sites, such as porn, today they can also be found on reputable websites too.
Legit Websites & Tech Support Scams
For example, let’s say you’re browsing Pinterest for delicious recipes. You see one that looks like it comes from a reputable website, such as Home and Garden. You think, “Sure, that’s gotta be safe” and you click on it.
Now, the legit website may not be completely compromised. The scammers get in by using a 3rd party advertising service that shows ads on that website. They put hidden code in there that gets past that 3rd party ad site. Essentially, they found a loophole or back door. They’re smart, those tech scammers, using their very sleek powers for evil.
What happens when you click on sites that have these hidden codes?
The popup hellish nightmare begins.
“Google Chrome Critical Error!” pops up, or something like that, alerting you that your computer is in grave danger – all your important information and data is at risk!
And, the error message looks quite legit, like it’s from Microsoft or some other trusted company. It gives you a phone number to call IMMEDIATELY (because you won’t be able to even close out the browser). It tells you the longer you wait, the more damage will be done.
Tech Scam Alerts: What Should You Do?
The first thing to remember if this should happen to you is NEVER CALL THE NUMBER.
It’s a scam. If you call that number, you’ll get a very professional sounding tech scammer who will try to convince you that your computer is now infected and if they don’t hurry up and install a program, you’re valuable personal information (including bank account information) will be stolen by hackers.
They’ll tell you that they need access to your computer to install the “miracle cure”, which they can do remotely if you give them access.
And, they’ll ask for money to do it – usually hundreds of dollars. They won’t want your debit or credit card information though. They’ll usually want a direct money transfer, prepaid card, or gift cards.
What should you do?
Report those nasty scammers to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or Federal Trade Commission, who will do their best to go after them. Take note of the site you were on when the popup alerted and give them the phone number they wanted you to call.
Shut down your computer and don’t go back to that particular site. You’ll want to get ahold of a trusted computer repair technician so they can check your computer and antivirus program.
What If I Need Tech Support?
If you need tech support and you’re searching online, it’s better to choose a local tech support company than a remote company. The reason is that some tech support scammers do their best to try to get their scam sites to pop up in Google results. If you go with a local search, such as “tech support in Vancouver”, or “computer repair Edmonton”, you’re more apt to get a list of local technical support companies.
Protect Your Computer Against Tech Support Scammers
One of the best ways to protect yourself from tech support scams is to have a high-quality antivirus installed on your computer. Cybersecurity is necessary, as there are more and more scammers trying to swindle people out of money all the time. If you’re not sure if your computer is protected with antivirus or malware protection, locate a local, reputable computer support professional and ask for help. They’ll be able to look at your computer to see what you have, check to see if your computer has been compromised, and install a highly effective antivirus program.
Tips and information brought to you by TickTockTech – Computer Repair Edmonton, Alberta. Expert information sourced from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, United States Federal Trade Commission, and Microsoft.