I have been reporting to you about tech support scams for many years, but the problem seems to be getting worse 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. 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.
The FTC and the state of Florida brought tech support scam charges against Big Dog Solutions, which also did business under the name of Help Desk National regarding their scam in which the scammers caused a pop-up alert to appear on the victim’s computer that appeared to come from Apple or Microsoft informing the victim that his or her computer had suffered a security breach requiring immediate attention. A telephone number was provided in the pop-up and people who called the number were convinced to pay for totally unnecessary tech support. Now after almost two years, Big Dog Solutions has settled with the FTC and Florida. As part of the settlement, the FTC will be sending refund checks to victims of the scam. The checks must be cashed within 60 days. For more information about the refund program go to the “FTC Scam Refund” section of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click where it refers to “Help Desk National.” It is important to remember that there no fee for receiving your refund so anyone contacting you asking for a fee related to the refund program is a scammer.
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.
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