Because of the pandemic, we’re engaging in more online activity than ever before – working, connecting with family and friends, shopping, and banking are just a few. Scammers are preying on this by creating phony security warnings delivered to you via phone calls, popups, or emails, with the hope that you will take the bait and rush to fix it.
Here are three common scenarios:
Scenario #1: Unsolicited call from tech support that isn’t your trusted Managed Service Provider (MSP)
You get an unsolicited call from someone who says he’s a computer technician. Maybe he claims to be from Microsoft or Apple. He says there are viruses or other malware on your computer to trick you into giving him remote access to your computer or buying software you don’t need. He may ask you to pay by gift card or wire transfer.
Scenario #2: Unknown popup appears on your screen
A popup window appears on your computer screen with a message warning of a security issue on your computer and tells you to call a phone number to get help. The person who answers may pretend to run a diagnostic test and claim to identify more problems and ask you for payment to fix them.
Scenario #3: Unsolicited email about a suspended account
You get an email saying one of your accounts has been suspended. For example, scammers are sending emails saying your Zoom account has been suspended or you missed a meeting. If you click on the link, it will install malware allowing the scammers to see what’s on your computer.
Remember Microsoft and similar companies will never contact you with unsolicited cold calls, popups, emails, etc. They will only contact you if you’ve made prior arrangements with them to do so.
How to avoid tech support scams – Here are four tips to protect against tech support scams:
- Never give control of your computer to someone who contacts you out of the blue. Criminals can spoof phone numbers, so you can’t rely on Caller ID. Avoid giving anyone you don’t know access to your computer or your credit card information.
- Don’t click links in unsolicited popups or emails. If an unknown popup appears on your screen, avoid clicking on any links. The same is true for unsolicited emails. Instead, navigate to the company’s site by typing in their URL.
- Maintain your anti-virus software. Use trusted anti-virus security software and make sure to update it regularly.
- Recognize and know your MSP. If your business has an MSP, you will occasionally receive notifications via phone calls or emails; however, always error on the side of caution by carefully inspecting their email address and communication platform for discrepancies. Don’t engage if something is off-putting about the communication; instead, contact your MSP to validate the notification.
Act quickly if you’ve been scammed
If you’ve been scammed and you paid by credit or debit card, contact your credit card company or bank to ask them to stop the transaction. If you paid with a gift card, immediately contact the company that issued the card and tell them you paid a scammer and ask if they can refund your money. You should also report any tech support scams to the Federal Trade Commission at reportfraud.ftc.gov.
In general, make sure you only visit trusted and secure web pages, practice good online cybersecurity habits and only reach out to reputable and well-known IT companies for support or advice. If you have any questions or would like to discuss our services, you can contact Entre Technology Services.