Tech Support Scams

Tech Support Scams

May 08, 2024

Have you ever received a suspicious pop-up message or phone call about an “issue” on your computer?

If so, you were the target of a tech support scam. These scams are a popular type of fraud involving cybercriminals who imitate a reputable company and attempt to convince you of a technical issue with your computer that needs to be resolved. The goal of these scams is to take over your computer to gain access to personal information or trick you into paying for useless software.

In the 2022 FBI Internet Crimes Report (IC3), Tech Support Scams seen an increase over 30% YOY and ranked overall in the top 5 internet crimes reported which resulted in over $800M in losses to Americans. Specifically for elderly victims (over 60), Tech Support Scams ranked 1st and alone accounted for almost $600M in reported losses.

This type of fraud is successful because the scammer will impersonate a legitimate tech support company employee and use technical terms to convince you of a legitimate issue. The scammer will typically indicate that a “diagnostic test” is needed to identify the computer issue and will request access to your computer.  Use of unsecure websites might also trigger a malicious pop-up asking you to call the number on the screen.

Best practices:

It’s difficult to avoid these types of scams, but you can follow these best practices and reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this fraud:

  • Never click unknown links/pop-ups or call the number on the screen.
  • Don’t assume the person contacting you is a legitimate employee of the company they claim to work for.
  • If you suspect an issue with your computer, contact the company directly.
  • Never allow a stranger to access your computer remotely.
  • If you need help with your computer, contact a technician you know and trust.
  • Use secure websites and pay attention to the URL or website address you are visiting.
  • Be cautious when providing any personal information.

What do I do if I am a victim of a tech support scam?

If you receive a tech support scam pop-up, immediately disconnect from the internet, and power off the device to end all programs in use. Restart your device and conduct a scan with an IT professional. In the unfortunate circumstances that you provided your financial information to a scammer to purchase software, contact your financial institution immediately to report the fraud.

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This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. This material was prepared by LPL Financial, LLC