Phony Tech Support Specialists Continue to Target Your Personal Information

Phony Tech Support Specialists Continue to Target Your Personal Information
Image: Pixabay
April 8, 2016

Phony help desk specialists are continuing to target consumers across the country. If you get a call or email from someone claiming to be from tech support, DO NOT give that person access to your computer under any circumstance!

According to reports from consumers, the bogus tech support specialists claim to be with brand name software or computer companies like Microsoft, Dell, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard (HP). In reality, they're overseas scam artists looking to steal your personal information.

The fake support specialist will tell you that your computer is malfunctioning or has been infected with malicious software (malware), then direct you to take a series of steps to fix the problem. Eventually, they will prompt you to download software or allow them to access your computer remotely. This will give the scammer access to all the data stored on your computer.

In a recent twist on this scam, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that people are getting calls from someone claiming to be from the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. Their claim? That your email account has been hacked and is sending fraudulent messages. They say they'll have to take legal action against you, unless you let them fix the problem right away. If you raise questions, the scammers turn up the pressure.

These con artists take advantage of your reasonable concerns about computer viruses and other threats. They know that computer users have heard time and again that it's important to install security software. But the purpose behind their elaborate scheme isn't to protect your computer; it's to make money.

If you receive a call or email from someone who claims to be with tech support, keep these helpful tips in mind:

  • NEVER share personal information with someone you do not know who contacts you.
  • Computer and software companies do not make unsolicited calls offering tech support.
  • NEVER give someone control of your computer unless you can confirm who the person is. If you need tech support, contact the computer or software company directly.
  • Getting pressure to act immediately? That's a sure sign of a scam. Hang up.
  • Be suspicious of emails that are poorly written, urgent, ask you for personal information or link to a website that does not match the organization it claims to be from.

Learn more about tech-support scams and government imposter scams at consumer.ftc.gov.

If you have received a phony tech support email or phone call, contact the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.

Suspected tech support scams should also be reported to the FTC online at ftc.gov/complaint, or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).