Tech support scams have earned a notorious reputation as one of the most frequently reported categories of fraudulent activities. These scams continue to evolve, cunningly targeting our digital vulnerabilities. According to a recent report from the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center, victims of tech support scams suffered losses exceeding $588 million in 2022.
Initiating Contact: Scammers initiate the scam by reaching out to potential victims through unsolicited phone calls, phishing emails, or invasive pop-up messages. These messages often convey ominous security threats or virus warnings, aiming to create a sense of immediate peril.
Impersonation: To enhance their deceit, scammers often pose as reputable tech giants like Microsoft, Apple, or prominent antivirus service providers.
Guidance Through Phony Fixes: Scammers guide the victim through a series of steps, with the purpose of addressing the issue at hand. They might recommend installing remote connection software, such as TeamViewer, AnyDesk, or UltraViewer, which allows them to access the victim's computer.
"Verify a number by getting it directly from the company's website."
The Request for Payment: Following the supposed "fix", scammers assert that extensive repairs or the installation of antivirus software and enhanced security are necessary. At this point, they demand payment, typically by credit card which gives them the opportunity to steal credit card information quickly.
Concealed Threats: What makes tech support scams particularly insidious is that, with access to your computer, scammers can download malware, access your personal information, and establish the means to reconnect at a later time without your knowledge. This poses a dual threat to your finances and your identity.
In the digital age, where technology plays a pivotal role in our daily lives, safeguarding yourself and loved ones from tech support scams has never been more critical. It's essential to remember that legitimate tech support representatives do not employ aggressive tactics or seek financial gain at your expense.