Tech support scams are among the most common of scams and they cost consumers millions of dollars each year. In the most common variations of this scam, the victim is scammed into responding to a pop-up on his or her computer or a telephone call purportedly from one of the major tech companies and is convinced that there is a problem with their computer that they need to pay for. In a new version of the tech support scam, people are reporting receiving phone calls purportedly from Microsoft, Apple or other computer companies informing them that their company is going out of business and that the customer is due a refund on a tech support plan they have. The scammer then asks for bank account information in order to be able to wire funds to the customer’s bank account. In other instances the scammer asks for remote access to the customer’s computer. This is a scam. If you turn over your bank account information, it can lead to the scammer stealing money from your bank account and providing remote access to your computer can enable a scammer to steal information from your computer that can 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, Microsoft or any of the other tech companies ever ask for remote access to your computer to fix problems. The most common tech support scams start with popups on your computer that 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 freezes, 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 the real tech companies directly by phone or by email using the phone number and email addresses you find on their respective websites.
The refund scam may appear legitimate because your Caller ID may indicate the call is coming from Microsoft or some other legitimate company, but, as I have told you many times before, through “spoofing” the scammer can make the call appear to be legitimate when it is not. The bottom line is you can never be sure who is calling you so you should never provide personal information to a caller unless you have absolutely confirmed the legitimacy of the call.
As for Microsoft or Apple going out of business, that is so unlikely that it would be a major news story so you can discount anyone calling and telling you that who also asks for personal information.
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