According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), in the year 2017 it received almost 11,000 complaints about technical support. There are already a lot of technical support suspensions and they can lead to huge losses of the victim. The threat of this scam has increased enormously, with Microsoft seeing an increase in the number of scams of 24% in 2017 compared to the previous year. Scammers work by misleading users to believe that something is wrong with their electronic device, often by using a pop-up message. Users who click to solve the problem often end up downloading malware (especially ransomware) or are redirected to a page where they are tempted to download a fake software that promises to solve the problem.
It is superfluous to say that scams on technical support are more lurking than you think. Many can fall for the scam, not just those who are naïve when it comes to technology. Because we are so dependent on technology, something goes wrong, we are prone to panic and we are looking for a quick solution, and this is one reason why technical support scams see a lot of success. It is therefore vital to know how to identify and prevent such scams.
Scammers will often appear as representatives of a legitimate company. In response to the fact that you tell them your problem, they will offer to solve the problem for you, for a small fee, of course. Note that most companies offer such support for free, so a way to identify a scammer is to see interest in money.
For users who visit online technical forums in search of solutions, they are misled by thinking about the result that appears after the search is correct. What they do not know is that cyber criminals are able to advertise false services to score high on such search results. Always keep an eye on the links leading up to the support page to make sure they come from a legitimate source.
You can avoid scams on technical support by taking into account the following:
- If you need help with purchased software, look at the packaging that came with the software for the correct web address or customer support line.
- Be careful when paying for technical support. A large number of technical support assistance is free, so always investigate this problem.
- Skip all links and go directly to the source. Manually enter the address of the company you want to contact in the address bar of your browser. The search bar can produce false results, so be careful.
- Links are not reliable. Always check the links before clicking on them.
Some scammers will first call you and impose technical problems.
- Therefore, be on your guard and never trust that “support” makes the first call.
Have you come across one of these scams? Let us know about your experiences in the comments below.