Computer viruses and malicious software are quite scary if they end up on your computer. The fear has been manifested into people all around the world, and hackers are looking to exploit those fears by tricking victims into believing their product will help.
A tech support scam is when a person pretends to be connected to giants such as Microsoft, Apple, Cisco, or any security software company such as McAfee, Norton, IBM, etc and claiming to have detected malware on your computer. He will start explaining how malware poses an imminent threat to your computer, which he is not wrong. But this is not the only type of tech support scam out there.
Other forms of tech support scam feature a planted website ad that pop-up with a warning message. Others feature a clock ticking down the minutes before the hard drive is completely erased of all data. And behind all of these scams lies a phone number which the victim must call in order to fix the problem.
Once the scammer gets the victim all scared, they will call that number. Once they call the number, the scammer will identify himself as tech support from one of the big security companies. He will ask for remote access to your computer and start running phony diagnostics. He will then try and persuade you into paying hundreds of dollars for new software, repairs, or other products and services, and guarantee you that the problem will be solved.
According to Microsoft, more than 3.3 million people per year are victims of tech support scams. This comes at an annual cost of $ 1.5 bln, or an average of more than $450 per victim. However, the most daunting thought is that those numbers are probably on the low side, and victims actually end up getting scammed for much more money. The worst thing about it is that victims never realize they are being conned. If you want advice on cybersecurity, make sure to click here.
How to Detect a Tech Support Scam
Detecting a tech support scam can be quite easy if you understand who you’re dealing with. No one would randomly call you and tell you that your computer is infected with a virus. These types of scams only work on people who don’t understand how a computer system works. But regardless, we are going to tell you warning signs that instantly point out towards a tech support scam.
- A phone call, or email, from companies such as Microsoft, Apple, McAfee, or anyone else who has publically said they do not contact their customers unless they initiate communications.
- A pop-up window on your computer screen warning you about a breach in your computer’s system and listing a number to call for help
- Anyone who during the duration of a conversation asks you to pay for tech support, software, hardware, or any other thing using nothing but a gift card, cash-reload card, or wire transfer. No legitimate company asks for these payment methods.