Protect yourself from tech support scams
Cybercriminals and hackers have began to disguise their method of hacking by baiting users into thinking it is tech support, but it is really a scam.
The Tech Support Scam starts with what appears to be a helping hand to fix a technical glitch. The criminals will send a message by phone, email or text to convince you that you need help.
With so many new computer scams and schemes out there, it's hard to feel safe. One type of scam to look out for are the "technical support scams." These scams use the guise of your computer needing technical support to lure you into a trap.
Some even try to get you to pay for them to fix a nonexistent problem, while others use your alleged need for technical support to gain access to your device and install malware to obtain your personal information.
Now complete peace of mind when dealing with scammers may be unattainable, but here are a few ways you can set some of your worries aside and protect yourself from tech support scams.
How do tech support scams work?
Technical support scams can appear in many ways. Below are some of the most common ways technical support scammers can try to attack you and your devices.
Scams by pop-up browsers
Pop-up browsers are one of the most common technical support scams. These scams often appear randomly on your device while using a web browser or application. These pop-ups will display messages requesting you to take action and work with technical support to fix a problem that does not exist. These messages appear with the hopes that you will believe you need technical support and click the link or call the number they provided to gain full access to your device.
Scams by phone
Scam calls can come to your phone with someone pretending to be a support representative from a tech company. These scammers are well versed and will try to convince you that your device has an issue with the hopes of gaining access and installing harmful software. Please note that major companies will not contact customers unprompted. These calls will be from scammers.
Scams by email
Tech support scammers will send emails with fake error messages asking you to click links, call a number or update and install software to fix a problem with your device. This type of scammer is hoping that you will not notice and will believe that they are the major tech company they are posing as, to gain access to your device or your personal information.
Never give remote access to your device in order to fix it. Only do so if you know it is a legitimate representative from the company you have requested support from.
Do not pay or give payment information in exchange for technical support. Tech companies will not call you and ask for payment to fix your device.
If scammers call your phone
If you answer the phone, and it's a technical support scam, hang up immediately, and block the number.
If you get a call from an unknown phone number, do not answer it. If the person leaves a voicemail, delete it.
Pay attention to the phone number. Scammers will use fake numbers to get you to answer the phone.
If scammers send you an email
If you receive a technical support scam email, report it as spam and delete it.
If you open the scam email, do not click on any of the links or pages, and delete it immediately.
Be on the lookout for messages that contain poor grammar or misspellings or come from unknown email addresses.
What do I do if I provided personal information to a scammer
First of all, don't be the slightest bit embarrassed, as it could have happened to anyone. And the worst thing you can do is stay silent, as you can help prevent this from happening to others.
Stop all communication: Cease all contact with the scammer immediately. Do not engage further or respond to any messages or calls from them.
Report the scam: Report the incident to your local law enforcement agency or the cybercrime unit in your country. Provide them with all the information you have about the scammer and the communication you had with them.
Notify your bank and credit card companies: If you shared any financial information, contact your bank and credit card companies right away. Inform them about the potential scam, and ask for advice on how to secure your accounts.
Change passwords: Change all of your online account passwords, especially those related to sensitive information or financial accounts. Use strong, unique passwords for each account.
Check out my best expert-reviewed password managers of 2023 by heading to Cyberguy.com/Passwords.
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA): Wherever possible, enable two-factor authentication on your accounts. This adds an extra layer of security and makes it harder for scammers to access your accounts.
Monitor your accounts: Keep a close eye on your bank accounts, credit cards, and other financial accounts for any suspicious activity. Report any unauthorized transactions immediately.
Inform credit bureaus: Consider contacting credit reporting agencies and placing a fraud alert on your credit report. That can help prevent the scammer from opening new accounts in your name.
Be cautious about future communications: Be vigilant with any future communications from unknown sources. Scammers may try to target you again using different tactics.
Have a good antivirus software on all your devices: The best way to protect yourself from having your data breached by these tech support scammers is to have antivirus protection installed on all of your devices. That will stop you from clicking on any potentially malicious links that may install malware on your devices, allowing hackers to gain access to your personal information.
Use identity theft protection: If a scammer got a hold of your personal information, you may consider a service that will walk you through every step of the reporting and recovery process. Identity theft protection companies can monitor personal information like your home title, Social security number (SSN), phone number and email address and alert you if it is being sold on the dark web or being used to open an account. They can also assist you in freezing your bank and credit card accounts to prevent further unauthorized use by criminals.
One of the best parts of using some services is that they might include identity theft insurance of up to one million dollars to cover losses and legal fees and a white glove fraud-resolution team where a U.-.based case manager helps you recover any losses.
See my tips and best picks on how to protect yourself from identity theft by visiting Cyberguy.com/IdentityTheft.
Kurt's key takeaways
Protecting yourself from tech support scams and identity theft is crucial in today's digital world. Always be cautious of unsolicited calls or emails claiming to offer technical support. Avoid providing personal information or granting remote access to unknown individuals. Invest in good antivirus software to safeguard your devices from malware and potential threats. Consider subscribing to an identity theft protection service to monitor and secure your sensitive information. By staying vigilant and taking preventive measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cybercriminals.
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