We are all familiar by now with tech support scams that start with a telephone call that generally purports to be from Microsoft informing us that there is a problem with our computer’s security and we are then prompted to pay for unnecessary tech support and repair.  Now, however, a variation of this scam has turned up that is even more troublesome.  This particular tech support scam is targeting only Dell computer customers.  The scammers, posing as Dell tech support representatives are calling Dell customers and telling them that there are security problems with their computers that need to be fixed for a price, however, in the course of the call, the scammer refers to specific information about the customer that it would appear only Dell employees would know, such as the customer’s name, address, phone number, computer make and model, serial number and even the Dell Service Tab which is a code number that customers use to retrieve their service history.  Armed with this information, it is easy to see how many people would fall for this scam and pay for unnecessary updates and repairs.

TIPS

Tech support scams are easy to avoid even if the caller seems to know a lot about your computer because no company calls offering tech support.  If you receive such a call, the best thing to do is just hang up.  If you want to confirm that this is a scam, you can contact the tech support people at the company that make your computer or software.  In this case, Dell is investigating the matter. There are some indications that the stolen information was not taken through an outside data breach, as generally when this is done, the information turns up for sale on the dark web, which is the black market for stolen data. This could be a data breach caused by a rogue employee inside of Dell or one of its subsidiaries (it outsources its tech support to India).  In any event the important thing to remember if you are a Dell customer is that regardless of how much information provided to you by the phony tech support caller, the call is a scam.  Just hang up.  As more becomes known about this matter, I will report to you about it.