January 8-14, 2018
If tech support calls, hang up!
By Nan Selz
There’s nothing new about tech support scams – they’ve been around for years. You may have gotten a pop-up message on your screen claiming that viruses are attacking your computer. The pop-up suggests you call the phone number on your screen for assistance. The scammer then offers to rid you of the problem and prevent such incidents in the future with tech support services that cost a significant amount of money.
But scammers have gotten more aggressive recently. You may get an unsolicited telephone call from someone claiming to be from a major computer company. He will try to convince you that a virus or malware has infected your computer, and he will say he can fix the problem if you’ll give him remote access to your device. With that access he can claim to have found multiple problems such as viruses or malware that he will eliminate for a fee.
The scammer then asks for a form of payment, usually a credit card or wire transfer. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) found that thousands of people lost money to this scam. They shut down one operation called Global Connect for just such a scam, but, evidently, scammers are using this company name again to target victims.
If you get an unsolicited tech support call, you should:
– Hang up immediately.
– Never give control of your computer to someone who calls you.
– Report scams like this to www.ftc.gov/complaint.
Americans have lost over $1.5 billion to scammers who claim to be able to help their victims with computer technology issues. If you would like more information about scams of all kinds, sign up for AARP’s Fraud Watch Network. You’ll receive free email alerts with tips and resources to help you spot and avoid fraud, and you’ll gain access to a network of experts, law enforcement and people in your community who will keep you up to date on the latest scams in your area.