Tech support scams in which consumers are tricked by scammers into believing there is a problem with their computers that require the expensive services of the scammers is a major problem. Tech support scams are increasingly common and victimize consumers 60 years or older about five times more than people between the ages of 20 and 59 according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). I have been warning you about these scams for years, but due to the Coronavirus pandemic causing more people to be spending more time on their computers, scammers have increasingly turned to this scam. Recently, the FTC issued an updated warning about this scam.
Tech support scams involve scammers, posing as Microsoft, Apple or other tech company employees, contacting you either by phone or through a pop up on your computer informing you that there is a serious problem with your computer that needs to be fixed. If you respond to the scammer’s communication you will be asked to provide the scammer with remote access to your computer in order for them to identify the problem. Once the scammer has remote access to your computer, he or she always finds a non-existent problem that they tell you they can remedy for a large fee.
Providing remote access to anyone to your computer can lead to a myriad of problems including identity theft and the downloading of ransomware. Neither AOL, Yahoo, Apple, Microsoft or any of the other tech companies ever ask for remote access to your computer to fix problems and none of these companies will ever call you, text you or email you to inform you that there is a problem with your computer. 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.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”
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