It is an unfortunate fact that in the world of information technology (IT), there are scammers looking to steal your personal and financial information. Technical support scammers may try to get you to pay them to “fix” a nonexistent IT problem. Also, they may try to gain remote access into your computer or software to install malware and steal your information. Common methods for tech support scams include: pop-ups, search listings, and phone calls.

Pop-Up Scams:

There are two types of pop-ups that tech support scammers will use to get your attention. One is a pop-up window that appears on your computer. Typically, these look like operating system error messages and will prompt you to update your systems software. These notifications may even include the logo of a reputable company, a website link, or a phone number.

The second kind of pop-up scam occurs when the user is browsing a website that contains links to related content. When the user clicks on the link it can direct them to another website which hosts the pop-up. These notifications warn that your computer may be infected with malware and prompt you to call the provided phone number for assistance.

Recognizing a Pop-up Scam:

These are a few tell-tale signs to help you recognize whether the pop-up notification on your computer is a scam:

  • bad spelling
  • bad grammar
  • broken or poorly formatted imagery
  • urgent language
  • contains a phone number (real warning messages in a pop-up window will not prompt you to call a provided phone number).

Search Listings:

Tech support scammers will create fake websites and even pay for online ad listings to get their websites to rank in search engine results. The goal of these websites is to get you to call their phone number for help. So, if you are looking for tech support, be sure to turn to an IT managed services provider that you can trust.

Recognizing a Scam Website:

A few signs that a website might be a scam are:

  • the website appears as an ad listing in online search results
  • it prominently displays an 1-800 number
  • a hard-to-close pop-up window appears on the site

Cold Calls:

Cold call scams involve a scammer calling you pretending to be tech support from a reputable company like Microsoft. These callers can even spoof the caller ID. They will tell you there is a problem with your computer or software and ask you to grant them remote access to run diagnostics. From there, two things may happen. First, they will pretend to run the test and find a fake problem that you must pay to have fixed. Second, since they have remote access, they may install real malware on your computer.

Another tech support scam call you may receive is a “refund call.” Someone will call offering a refund for tech support services that you have already paid for. The reason could be that you were dissatisfied with the services or that the company is going out of business. Then they will ask for credit card or bank account information.

Recognizing Scam Calls:

It is unlikely that a reputable tech support or IT service provider will call you unexpectedly. Typically, you will only receive a phone call if you request it.  You should also beware of calls from toll-free, or 1-800, numbers.

If there is a phone number, email, or website that you are unsure about, do a search for it. People report scams all the time. So, it is possible that you will be able to find some information with just a simple online search.

Steps to Take If You’ve Been Scammed:

Even if you are being careful, scammers can still find ways to get to you. If you think you have been scammed here are a few steps you can take:

  • contact your IT managed service provider
  • change your device passwords
  • change your software account passwords
  • run a virus/malware scan on your devices
  • uninstall any applications the scammers asked you to install
  • contact your bank or credit card company
  • report the scam to your software provider

Kapp Communications Can Help Protect You:

Kapp Communications is a secure and reliable IT support managed services provider. We have been partnering with local businesses since 1984 to provide IT security, IT consulting, and more. We have significant experience helping companies and individuals who have fallen victim to scams. Our other services include: 24/7/365 monitoring, hardware and software audits, email, and application support, patch management, and software updates.

Our company is one of the leading managed services providers in Pittsburgh, PA. Plus, with our pricing program there are no surprises. We provide all-inclusive support. Contact a sales representative today to learn more about our affordable IT solutions.