Tech Support Scams: My Computer is Infected, Or is It?

Media Division | November 30, 2016

There are a multitude of different types of scams out there.  There is unfortunately no shortage of individuals who are willing to con people out of their money and even their identities.  Scams have been around for a large chunk of our history, but the advent of telecommunications and other technology has opened up a whole new realm of scams.  This has now come to include people being scammed by false tech support operations for their computers.

Types of Tech Support Scams

There are a few different types of these tech support scams.  One of which is through internet pop up ads.  These are encountered all over the web on different sites.  Some of them will pop up saying something such as “Your computer is infected with a virus!” or some sort of wording to that effect.  These have become much more sophisticated than they used to be and can actually look quite official at times.  The reality is that your computer, the manufacturer of your computer, or your virus protection software is not going to issue a warning through your web browser.

Another type is the unprompted phone call that some receive from a person claiming they are a tech support official.  The individuals making these calls can have a multitude of fabricated stories to explain why they have called you.  Some will state that they are with Microsoft or Apple and say that your computer is infected, they are checking in on a possible infection in your computer, or that they need to virus sweep your computer.  These individuals generally have the aim to gain remote access to your computer, get credit card information, or steal personal data.  They will sometimes claim that the tech support service must be paid for and request a credit card.  The bottom line here is that companies like Microsoft or Apple will never make unprompted or unsolicited tech support phone calls, and if a call like this is received, than it is certain to be a scam.

A third type of tech support scam that can be a bit more insidious is when a retailer or other business will claim that your computer is infected when it is not and that it needs to be repaired or cleaned up.  There have been occasions in which stores have pushed for their employees to sell certain quantities of repair services and this has included selling it to those who do not even need the service.

Avoiding Tech Support Scams

There are several things you can do to prevent these types of scams from happening to you.  For one, if you receive unsolicited calls from any person claiming to be a reputable company such as Microsoft, Apple, or Norton, simply hang up.  As said previously, these companies never make these types of unsolicited calls.  Two, never click on pop up ads which claim that your computer is infected or running slow, or other such wordings.  This also spreads into the realm of emails.  If you ever receive emails claiming similar such things, never click on any links within the email, simply delete it.  And three, as far as avoiding scams from any retailers that might be selling unnecessary repair services, you can take your computer to a reputable computer repair business.  Be sure to meet the individual who will be taking care of your computer, and that they are licensed.  Of course, not all retailers are performing these types of scams, so there are those that offer computer repair services that could be used as well.  If you have any doubts about their legitimacy or claims, there is always the option to get a second opinion.

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