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by Matt Knopoff

Millions of people each year fall victim to tech support scams. A pop-up shows up on your computer screen asking you to call a number to find out more about your infected computer. You call the number and give them your personal information, only to find out you are on the bad end of a scam. This and other tactics trick people to give up personal information in response to a nonexistent threat.

How Does It Work?

Scammers work hard to get you on the phone to convince you there is a serious safety issue with your computer. They often will pretend to be a well-known company and use a lot of technical terms to make them sound legitimate.

After the scammers have you convinced, they will ask you to give them remote access to your computer. This gives them complete and total access to your personal information. They will also go so far as to ask for your credit card information to pay for their services.  By the time you realize what’s happened you’ve already fallen to the tech support scam.

How to Avoid These Scams

When you get an unexpected call claiming to be tech support or some other company claiming you have a virus on your computer, hang up the phone. Don’t trust your caller ID, as some scammers can make it seem as though their call is coming from a legitimate company.

Ignore any pop-ups claiming you need to call your security software company. If someone contacts you to tell you that your computer’s safety is compromised, call the security company directly instead of the number provided on the pop-up screen.

Help Yourself After a Tech Support Scam

If you have fallen victim to one of these scams, change any passwords you may have shared with them. Call your credit card company to reverse any payments it made, and cancel the credit card to avoid further theft.

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How to Protect Yourself From A Tech Support Scam