‘Tech Support’ Calling? Just Hang Up

scam2By Jerri Stroud, BBB Editor

BBB recently got a call from a couple in Overland who had received a call from a person offering to “clean up” their computer and help them avoid problems in the future for $313. All they had to do was let the caller have remote access to their computer.

Later, the caller asked for the husband’s driver’s license number, and he proceeded to try to obtain more money from the couple’s bank account. That’s when the couple suspected something was wrong.

Luckily for the couple,they called their bank the next morning and were able to stop those further withdrawals before the bank had completed processing them. The couple also called Better Business Bureau because they wanted to warn others about the scheme. More details on the scheme are outlined in BBB’s recent press release.

Tech support scams have proliferated in recent years, prompting warnings from the Federal Trade Commission and other consumer protection agencies. Sometimes the callers say they’re from Microsoft, Dell or from some other well-known technology company. Other times, they give a name indicating they’re in the computer service business, such as the name PC Cleanup given to the couple.

In some cases, the scammers try to get victims to pay for bogus software to fix their computers or pay for a worthless maintenance program. Other times, they want access to the victim’s computer in an attempt to steal money, as in this case, or to commit identity theft.  And other scammers want to install malware or viruses.

Scammers also contact victims in various ways. Sometimes it’s a phone call. Sometimes it’s an email. In either case, it’s best to ignore the alleged threat. If it’s an unsolicited email, delete it, and don’t click on any links.

If you do have a computer problem, it’s best to contact a reputable firm by looking up their number online or seeking support through the firm’s website.

More BBB tips include:

  • Don’t turn over control of your computer or give your computer password to someone you don’t know.
  • Do not give banking, credit card or other personal information to a strange caller.
  • If a caller notifies you that he or she has detected a virus or other threat to your computer, hang up.
  • If you have any concerns about your computer, contact your security software company directly and ask for help.
  • If you do pay for tech support services, pay with a credit card in case you need to challenge the charge. Do not send money via a wire service.
  • Check BBB Business Reviews by going to www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.

For more BBB news, go to BBB’s website or follow BBB on Facebook or Twitter.



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