Scammers posing as Microsoft tech support attempt to steal your information, money

  
     
January 14, 2013

Upstate, SC, January 14, 2013
Upstate consumers have reported getting calls from foreign phony tech support specialists who are out to access their personal information and steal their hard-earned money, warned Vee Daniel, BBB President.  
 
“Be suspicious of anyone who calls out of the blue offering to fix a problem with your computer,” Daniel said. “If you need assistance with your computer, make sure you contact www.bbb.org to find reputable computer repair companies in your area rather than responding to these calls.”
 
The BBB has received several phone calls to report suspicious calls from phony tech support specialists claiming to be partners with Microsoft  and other computer branded companies.
 
According to reports from consumers, the phony tech specialist claims that the consumer’s computer has a virus or other problems and that they can fix the problem. They say the consumer's PC is sending messages to the phony tech specialist's system which is a virus at work. The caller then directs the consumer to take a series of steps in order to get rid of the computer virus. Through these series of steps the consumer is allowing the caller access and full control into their computer. The caller convinces the consumer they can fix the issues, but there is a maintenance plan/security software fee. At this point, the caller requests payment by credit card for installing the software.    If the consumer does not pay to have it fixed the scammer is locking the consumer out of their computer and wiping out their information. 
 
Consumers report that the callers have Indian accents and may suggest the consumer speak to several different tech support specialists within their company and often call back if a consumer refuses to pay for services.
 
The calls seem to target seniors and other consumers who may not be as technologically savvy. 
 
If you receive one of these phony tech support calls, keep the following tips in mind:
  • Microsoft and other computer and software companies do not make unsolicited calls offering tech support.
  • Do not follow the caller’s instructions. If you need tech support, contact the computer or software company at a number you know to be valid.
  • Never share personal information, such as bank account and credit card numbers, with anyone you don’t know who contacts you.
 
If you’ve fallen victim to this or a similar scam:
  • Contact your bank or credit card company to dispute the charge for any money you paid.
  • Immediately run anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. 
  • Monitor your credit report and place a security freeze on your credit, especially if you store sensitive financial information on your computer or use it to bank online.
 Consumers who have questions or may have fallen victim to this scam should contact the Upstate Better Business Bureau at 864-242-5052 or info@upstatesc.bbb.org.