For the past several years, we have been hearing a lot about tech support scams. Scam artists have been trying different techniques on gullible PC users with phony tech support calls. PC users need to be vigilant when it comes to scams like these otherwise they will become the next victims. Check out some important things that you should be aware of when it comes to these rampant tech support call scams and what should you do to protect yourself, as well as your property, from these cybercriminals.

The Scam Works Like This

Before, scammers would contact customers over the phone and then convince them that their PCs are infected with viruses/malware. Although this is still happening and people are still falling as prey to these scams, criminals have been innovating the way they attract prospect victims. This time, scammers have to wait for someone to download a bogus desktop program in the hopes of improving the security or performance of their PC. So after downloading the phony app, which is in trial version, the program will then run a scan and will show the user that it has discovered non-existent errors on their PC.

In order to fix those so-called “errors” on the PC, the fake app then convinces the user to purchase the full version of it, which can be priced from anywhere between $29-$49. However, the crime doesn’t just end there. Once the victim purchases the full version, the program prompts them to call a toll-free number in order to activate it.

When the prospect victim calls the number, fake tech support people convince their targets to give them remote access to their PCs. Gullible PC users will be shown with various screens on their computer allegedly claiming there are serious problems on their PC. This is the perfect timing for these phony telemarketers to try and sell more bogus goods like additional security software and tech support services with costs that can reach up to $500.

How to Protect Yourself

Below are some simple tips that you can follow to avoid getting tricked by these tech support phone scammers.

First thing you should do is to avoid downloading an app to your PC that promises better security and improved performance on your PC. Of course you need to provide some sort of security to your computer and some tools that will help improve its speed and performance. However, you don’t really need to spend much or anything at all just to achieve that goal. There are so many free security programs and tools nowadays that can give your PC the proper care and maintenance that it needs — Avast, AVG, and even Microsoft’s built-in Windows Defender.

If you’re thinking of getting a performance boosting software, research on it first before downloading it. Look for some reviews and feedbacks about the said tool and determine if it’s really a legit software before proceeding.

Next, don’t ever believe a website that says your PC has a lot of errors or is having some serious problems. If you suspect that something wrong is going on with your PC or some program notifies you that there is a problem, have it checked out yourself. If you live near a Microsoft Store, you may want to consider trying their Genius Bar-like service called Answer Desk that will check out your PC free of charge. Otherwise, having it checked from your local PC repair shop will do, and paying an authorized PC service provider is a lot cheaper and worthwhile than paying a scammer. Of course, there also the option of consulting one of your geeky friend what would be the best thing to do — which is great if you do have one.

And last, but not the least, be aware that these kinds of scam have been targeting not just PC users, but every mobile gadget owner that they can get hold on to. Early this year, it has been discovered that a tech support scam has been targeting mobile devices as well. Bogus call centers were cold-calling prospective victims acting like tech support agents responding to non-existing problems. Similar scams try to fool users by sending unsolicited emails.

If in case you receive a call or an unsolicited email regarding tech support, be careful about what you tell them or just simply hang up the phone. No matter how convincing they sound to be, don’t be fooled by giving out your personal information to them such as your name, address, or payment information. And as for any type of scams, just keep your common sense and presence of mind and you’ll be just fine.

This entry was posted by Staff Writer on Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 10:13:29 PM and is filed under Mixellaneous.

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