Financial Well-Being Blog

Protect Yourself from Tech Support Fraud
May 06, 2024

Emerging Fraud Trend: Tech Support Scams

Fraud and Security

In today’s digital age, financial fraud has evolved to become more sophisticated and prevalent than ever before. At CommunityAmerica, our top priority is providing you with the information and resources needed to keep you, your financial accounts and your personal information secure while providing assistance in regaining control of a compromised account.

Tech Support Fraud

Tech support fraud occurs when the fraudster claims to be associated with a computer software or security company, or even a cable or Internet company, offering technical support to the victim.

Once they've gained your trust, they may:

  • Ask you to give them remote access to your computer and then make changes to your settings that could leave your computer vulnerable.
  • Try to enroll you in a worthless computer maintenance or warranty program.
  • Ask for credit card information so they can bill you for phony services — or services you could get elsewhere for free.
  • Trick you into installing malware that could steal sensitive data, like usernames and passwords.
  • Direct you to websites and ask you to enter your credit card number and other personal information.

If you get a call from someone who claims to be a tech support person, hang up and call the company yourself on a phone number you know to be genuine. A caller who creates a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure tactics is probably a scam artist.

8 Tips to Avoid Tech Support Fraud:

  1. Do not give anyone access to your computer, phone or tablet — nor to your personal or financial information — unless you initiated the contact and know that contact is legitimate.
  2. Examine pop-ups and emails closely for signs that might indicate fraud, such as spelling and grammar mistakes.
  3. Do not rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller. Fraudsters spoof caller ID numbers. They may appear to be calling from a legitimate company or a local number, when they’re not even in the same country as you.
  4. If you think there may be a problem with your computer, phone or tablet that you aren’t able to resolve on your own, consult with someone you trust or take the device to a business that offers in-person technical support. Online search results might not be the best way to find technical support or get a company’s contact information. Scammers sometimes place online ads to convince you to call them. They pay to boost their ranking in search results so their websites and phone numbers appear above those of legitimate companies. If you want tech support, look for a company’s contact information on their software package or on your receipt.
  5. Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from tech support.
  6. If a caller pressures you to buy a computer security product or says there is a subscription fee associated with the call, hang up. If you’re concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly and ask for help.
  7. Never give your password on the phone. No legitimate organization calls you and asks for your password.
  8. Put your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, and then report illegal sales calls.

If You've Responded to a Scam:

If you think you might have downloaded malware from a scam site or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, don't panic.

  • Disconnect from the internet and restart your computer in "safe mode".
  • Get rid of malware. Update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete anything it identifies as a problem.
  • Change any passwords that you gave out. If you use these passwords for other accounts, change those accounts, too.
  • If you paid for bogus services with a credit card, call your credit card provider and ask to reverse the charges. Check your statements for any other charges you didn't make, and ask to reverse those, too.

Fraud trends are frequently changing. Follow the above steps to keep your personal information as safe as possible. Educate yourself and contact CommunityAmerica if you suspect fraud.

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About the Author
roxanne doss
Roxanne Doss

Fraud Investigations Manager

Roxanne Doss has a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist (CITRMS) credential that helps CommunityAmerica and our members combat the increasing problem of identity theft. In 2016, she earned her CFE credential from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE).