Three Steps to Avoiding IT Support Swindles

Though there are many legitimate and incredibly helpful IT support groups throughout the world, there are also individuals who use these credible company names to scam unsuspecting individuals. What can you do to protect yourself from these technologically savvy predators?

1. Know How These Scams Work

From fake websites offering free “security” scans to phone callers claiming that your computer is experiencing security issues, scammers have been finding creative ways to get your money. By playing up the fear factor of computer viruses and using technical jargon, they attempt to gain your trust. Then they may do one of several things:

– Ask for remote access, and then make changes that can endanger your computer 
– Ask for payment to enroll you in a worthless computer “protection” program 
– Gain credit card info to bill for phony services 
– Install malware that can steal sensitive data 
– Direct you to their “website” where you’ll enter payment information for their program

2. Confirm That You Are Talking to Credible IT Support Personnel

If you do get a call out of the blue from an individual claiming to be an IT support person, don’t hesitate to hang up and call the company back. Look up a credible number on the company website, in your local phone book, or on your software’s packaging. Feel free to ask for the technician by name when you call – that way you should be reconnected if it was a legitimate call. And if the individual really is a technician with the company, he should have no problem with your actions – you’re trying to protect yourself!

If you do decide to continue the conversation without hanging up and calling back, keep these important points in mind:

– Never give remote access of your computer to a third party who calls you out of the blue. 
– Don’t rely on your caller ID. Criminals can make the number look legitimate. 
– Don’t use caller ID to return the call. Instead, find the company’s number on their website. 
– Be wary of numbers posted online. Be sure you’re on a legitimate company website. 
– If you own software from the company, find their number on the packaging or receipt. 
– Never give credit card information or bank information to a third party who has called you. 
– Don’t be pressured into purchasing a product or subscription for security protection. 
– Never give your password over the phone.

3. Beware of the Refund Scam

Finally, scammers will call under the guise of IT support and offer you a refund on your recently purchased product. They may ask if you were satisfied with the product – offering a refund if you were not. Or they may claim the company is going out of business and is required to refund customers for “warranties” or other services.

It’s time to confirm whether you’re talking to a legitimate technician. In order to confirm the story, hang up the phone and find the product packaging. Use the number provided on the packaging to call the company.

By taking these three simple steps, you’ll be able to protect your computer from IT support scams. You’ll also protect yourself from a lot of hassle!

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