As many people around the nation have transitioned to teleworking and remote learning amid the pandemic, scammers have begun doubling down on efforts to steal personal and financial information using tech support scams.
In a typical scenario, the scammers will call potential victims posing as representatives from Microsoft, Dell, or other tech support services. Alternate versions of the scam involve victims seeing pop-ups on their computer claiming a virus has been detected with instructions to contact tech support to unfreeze the computer and remove the virus.
Once on the phone, victims are coerced into providing remote access to their computer to the scammer, who may also ask for payment to remove the purported virus. Once a scammer has access to the victim's computer, they can retrieve any number of passwords, usernames or logins, and other personal information they can then use to either access the victim's various personal and financial accounts or even open credit lines.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division provided a list of tips on how to avoid these crafty scammers:
- Never click on pop-up messages purporting to be from technical support or call the phone number listed in a pop-up message.
- If you get a pop-up message and your computer freezes, simply shut down your computer and restart it. The message should go away.
- If you receive a call purporting to be from Microsoft or other technical support, hang up. It is a scam.
- Never give remote control of your computer to someone who calls you out of the blue or whose number you got from a pop-up message.
The Federal Trade Commission also has information on how to stay safe against the threat of tech scams. Visit here.