In this edition, I’m calling out tech scammers and the tricks they’re using to con millions out of computer owners each year.
How To Spot A Tech Scam Before You Get Stung
If your computer had a virus, you’d want to know about it ASAP, right? Before your important files become corrupted, you lose your photos and your digital life is essentially destroyed? Of course you would! Even thinking about it is terrifying.
Tech scammers know we’d be lost without our computers, and that we don’t always know what’s going on behind the screen - which is why they’ve been able to swindle millions from every day people across the world.
The scam goes like this:
You receive a random phone call from someone with a heavy accent (usually Indian) saying they’re from Microsoft, or an alarming pop-up appears on the screen, saying it looks like your system has been infected with a virus. To fix the problem, they need to you to download some support software, which they’ll give you a special link for. A technician then uses that software to gain access to your system and make it appear that your system is riddled with viruses. Flashing screens, mysterious diagnostics whizzing by, fabricated errors…they’ll do or say anything to make you panic. They’ll even go as far as claiming your system has been infected with illegal content and if not corrected, you’ll face criminal charges.
Demands for payment information follow immediately after. Once paid, they simply stop fiddling with your system to make it seem the problem is fixed. To continue the scam, they’ll soon access your system to recreate the problem, this time offering a subscription for ongoing protection.
What To Do If You’re Targeted By A Tech Scam
1. Don’t taunt them. Just hang up. Right now, you’re only a phone number in their system and they’ll move onto the next – if you give them cause to target you personally, you may find yourself in a dangerous situation.
2. If a pop-up appears, immediately run an anti-virus scan. Don’t click the pop-up or call the number. If you’re not certain you have antivirus or don’t know how to use it, give us a call, we’ll be glad to help.
What To Do If You’ve Already Been Scammed
It’s okay. It feels horrible, but you’re not alone and the situation can be corrected. Start by calling your financial institution to have the charges reversed and your card reissued. It’s easier than you might think and helps the authorities locate the scammers.
Then give us a call and we’ll make sure they no longer have access to your computer.