Tech support scams are a profitable way for scammers to steal your money.  I have been warning you about these scams for years.  They come in a number of different varieties including pop up ads on your computer and telephone calls purportedly from Microsoft, Apple, Google or other tech companies.  Earlier this year I told you that  the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) along with the Attorneys General of Pennsylvania and Connecticut  settled a legal action against the company, Click4Support which the FTC indicated stole more than 17 million dollars from unwary consumers by pretending that they represented Microsoft, Apple and others offering unneeded tech support services.

Click4Support used online advertisements and popups that made them appear to be a part of Microsoft or Apple.  The ads would lure unsuspecting computer users to call Click4Support and then give Click4Support remote access to the victims’ computers for purposes of identifying viruses, malware and other problems, which were always found whether or not they actually existed.  Then Click4Support sold its services either on a one time basis or a long-term service plan at a cost that ranged from $69 to thousands.  In return, the victims actually got nothing of value and, in some instances, their computers were harmed.

Microsoft just released an interesting report about tech support scams in which, surprisingly to many, Microsoft found that Millennials were victimized  more by these scams than any other demographic group.  In fact, Millennials were victimized six times more often than Baby Boomers.

TIPS

In the phone scams for tech support, it is important to remember that neither Microsoft nor Apple will ever call you about tech support so if someone represents that they are doing just that, it is a scam.  Hang up the phone.

Don’t trust popup ads for tech support service either.   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.  Neither Apple nor Microsoft nor any of the other tech companies ever provide notices of security problems that contain telephone numbers for you to call to fix the problem.  If your screen becomes 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 using the phone number and email addresses you find on their respective websites.

Often the tech support scammers will attempt to lure people into providing them with remote access to your computer in order, they tell you, to check your computer for problems.  Providing remote access to anyone to your computer can lead to a myriad of problems including identity theft and the downloading of ransomware.

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.”  Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.

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