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Better Business Bureau ®
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In San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties

Educational Consumer Tips

Tech Support Scam

Author: Better Business Bureau
Published:

Consumers may receive a phone call in which the caller claims to be with Microsoft and offers tech support
for a computer or they may claim that you have a virus that urgently needs to be removed. Once the scammer
has gained your trust, they may request remote access to your computer. Once access has been granted,
the scammer may be installing a virus or malware on your computer that is designed to track your passwords,
financial information and other personal information to use for identity theft or credit card/bank fraud. Once the
scammer may even ask that you pay them for the tech support in the range of hundreds of dollars. Once the
scammer has your credit card number, they can fraudulently charge your account. Even worse, once the scammer
knows you have fallen for the scam, they may place your phone number on a “sucker” list and target you
for future scams because they know you are more likely to be a victim again.

Do not trust unsolicited calls. Do not provide any personal information.

Here are some of the organizations that cyber criminals claim to be from:

-Windows Helpdesk
-Windows Service Center
-Microsoft Tech Support
-Microsoft Support
-Windows Technical Department Support Group
-Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)

Remember: Microsoft will never call you unsolicited. The company says this is a foreign scam to collect credit
card numbers and install malware. Bottom line: If Microsoft calls you, hang up. That way, you don't waste
your money.

It is important to remember that scammers will use your fear and emotions to try and steal your cash. They
will say or do anything to convince you into giving personal information or allowing access to your computer.
Consumers who have been victimized report that the scammers were extremely aggressive and used tactics
involving fear and emotion. They tend to target seniors who are less tech savvy and may be more likely to
trust strangers on the phone. In some even scarier situations, scammers who have gained access to computers
have accessed the webcam and taken personal screenshots of victims during private moments and reposted
them online. Scammers that call you may know your name or other personal information in an effort to make
themselves seem more legitimate, however most of these details are information they may have taken from
your online social media accounts or even just the phone book. They may go through the phone book and
call thousands of people each day.

If you receive a call claiming to be from Microsoft or offering tech support, just HANG UP. Report the incident
to the Federal Trade Commission. If you have already been victimized, you should file a complaint with the FTC
(www.ftc.gov or 877-FTC-HELP) as well as the FBI’s internet crime division, IC3 (www.ic3.gov). If you have
given out your credit card information, immediately contact your card issuer to close your account or dispute
any fraudulent charges. Never under any circumstances should you give out personal information over the
phone to unsolicited callers. Save your hard earned money, just hang up.