I have been reporting to you about tech support scams for years, however as with many scams, this one keeps evolving into new forms although the ultimate goal is still the same. At its essence, the scam involves being contacted purportedly by Microsoft or Apple in some fashion, either by telephone call or in its most recent incarnation by a pop up ad on your computer telling you that problems have been detected on your computer that need to be remedied immediately. In the case of the latest tech support scam which is now the subject of a legal action by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against five companies, as well as the three men behind the scams, Rajiv Chhatwal, Ruinder Kaur and Neeraj Dubey, the pop up ads often include loud alarms or recorded announcements warning you of dire circumstances. The ads prompt you to call a toll-free number which leads you to a call center in India where the scammers pose as representatives of Apple or Microsoft. Under this version of the scam they then ask for remote access so that they can diagnose the problem. Once they have remote access to your computer, they show their victims innocuous screens and directories on their computers which the scammers say are dangerous malware requiring immediate repair for which they charge between $200 and $400 and provide you with nothing of value.
Neither Microsoft nor Apple will contact you by way of such pop up ads offering tech support for which you will be charged. It should be noted, however, that Microsoft does regularly issue software security updates, but they do this in automated updates if you have provided for this service or on its website. If you receive this type of pop up ad purporting to be from Microsoft or Apple and have any thought that it might be legitimate, you should merely contact Microsoft or Apple directly at a telephone number you know is accurate to confirm the pop up was a scam.