Most Tech Support Merchants Are Legitimate
PC tech support scams are a very popular issue. PC tech support scammers want you to believe that you have a serious problem with your PC, such as malware or virus. These scammers want you to pay for tech support service that you actually don’t need, to fix an issue that does not actually exist. They use wide range of methods to try to deceive people. Identifying these tactics will help you avoid being victim of such scams.
Typically a tech support company with a tech support merchant account, has been vetted as legitimate and must follow stick compliance. You are usually much safer seeking out a pc tech support company that has a merchant account.
Following are the most common PC tech support scams and tips to avoid them:
Pop-Up Warnings Scam
How it Works: PC tech support scammers try to bait you with an on-screen message claiming that a virus or malware has been found on your PC. The pop-up warning may look like an ordinary error message from your hardware manufacturer or operating system, and it might even have logos from trusted websites or companies (e.g. Microsoft). To receive tech support, the message prompts you to call a phone number associated with the fake tech support company.
How to Avoid it: If you receive such a pop-up warning on your PC, shut down your computer immediately. Ignore any warnings the pop-up gives you to not shut down or restart the PC. Don’t give unverified, unknown persons remote access to your devices or accounts. Also, make sure that your anti-virus software is up-to-date.
Phone Call Scam
How it Works: PC tech support scammers may call you and pretend to be a PC technician from a reputed company. They know that people trust name brands and hence they use this to their advantage. The scammers then say that they have discovered a severe issue with your computer and ask you to provide them with remote access to it so they can run a diagnostic test. Once they have access, they try to make you pay to fix an issue that never actually existed.
How to Avoid it: A simple way to avoid this scam is to hang up the phone call. Legitimate companies don’t contact by phone, text message, or email to tell you that there is a problem with your PC.
Tech Support Ads and Listings in Search Results Pages
How it Works: Scammers pay to have their fake company’s link show on top of search results for PC tech support. Alternatively, they sometimes run their own ads online. With such tactics, the scammers hope that you will click on one of the top links in search results and call the provided phone number to get help.
How to Avoid it: Be very cautious of PC tech support numbers acquired via search engines. Visiting the official site of the company you know and trust would be a smart decision.
What to Do If You Were Scammed
If you gave a PC tech support scammer remote access to your computer, shut down and restart your computer immediately and update your anti-virus software. After that, run a full system scan and erase anything it identifies as a problem. If you paid a PC tech support scammer with a debit or credit card, you may be able to stop the transaction. To do this, simply contact your bank or credit card company and tell them that you got scammed and ask if the charges can be reversed.