According to a recent study just released by the Better Business Bureau, tech support scams continue to be a major problem for consumers, many of whom are cheated out of an average of $500 or, even worse, may unwittingly give access to their computer data to the scammers who use the data to steal from their victims’ accounts and make them victims of identity theft. Through September of 2017, the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI received more than 41,000 tech support scam complaints at a cost of more than 21 million dollars, and to make things worse, the FTC estimates that only about 10% of victims report the crime.
I have been reporting to you about tech support scams for many years. Generally, these scams begin with a pop-up warning on your computer or an unsolicited telephone call purportedly from tech support for your computer telling you that your computer has been infected and that you must call a toll free number to speak with someone to get assistance in fixing the problem. According to a report from Stony Brook University, 85% of these scams originate in India. Once the victim speaks with the scammer, the victim is told he or she has to pay a fee to have the problem fixed and that the victim has to enable the scammer to get remote access to the computer in order to fix it. If you provide remote access to the scammer, you will end up having your personal information stolen that will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.
Providing remote access to anyone to your computer can lead to a myriad of problems including identity theft and the downloading of ransomware.  Neither Apple nor Microsoft ever provide notices of security problems that contain telephone numbers for you to call to fix the problem.  Whenever you get a pop-up, email, or text message that appears to tell you that you have a security problem with your computer, you should never click on any links contained in the message or call the telephone number provided. If your screen gets frozen, all you need to do is just turn off your computer and restart it. If you are concerned that you may be experiencing a real security problem you can contact tech support at Apple or Microsoft directly by phone or by email directly using the phone number and email addresses you find on their respective websites.