Tech Support Calling? It’s Probably A Scam Or Hacker

Thomas Fox is president of Tech Experts, southeast Michigan’s leading small business computer support company.

For business computer users, the threat of a security breach is a constant worry. The thing is, many systems are secure enough from outside attacks, and many scammers know this.

As a result, scammers have switched tactics and have taken to pretending to be Windows technicians, hoping to get users to give up their credit card information.

This isn’t a new scam. Despite news reports and emailed reminders, some people still fall for the ruse.

Social engineering
These social engineering tricks generally follow the same formula: A person calls you pretending to be from the Windows technical team at Microsoft.

The scammer usually tells you that you need to renew your software protection licenses to keep your computer running.

Most of the time, these scammers spread the conversation out over a number of phone calls and emails, the goal being to gain the trust of the user.

Once trust is established, or the user seems interested enough, the crook will offer a seeming sweet deal: They offer a service that makes your computer run like new, usually for a reasonable price.

The scammer will then use remote PC support software to show you ‘problems’ your computer is having.

They will usually show you the Windows Event Viewer – a part of the OS that shows errors, usually harmless, that your computer has generated.

The scammer will then convince the user that these errors are harmful, and if you have paid, they will make it look like they are cleaning your computer.

If you give them your credit card number, you will likely see ridiculous charges, or even have people trying to access your accounts.

What’s being done?
Governments are aware of this increasingly common trick, and some organizations, like the FTC, have taken measures to shut down scammers.

What can we do?
While action is being taken, these scammers are working hard to steal your credit card and other personal information. To ensure you don’t fall prey to this trickery, these five tips should help you identify when an attempted scam is at play:

  • Microsoft doesn’t call people.
  • Windows Event Manager is a log of errors for ALL programs.
  • Microsoft employees will never ask for your passwords.
  • Most of these scammers operate out of call centers in India, but bill from the US.
  • Microsoft employees won’t usually ask you to install software that’s not made by Microsoft.

As a rule of thumb: If you get an unsolicited call about your computers and IT security, it’s likely not genuine. If these criminals provide you with a website, do a quick Google search to see if there have been any scam reports.

If you’re concerned your credit card or other information may have been compromised, please call us right away for a complimentary security assessment.