Spotting and Avoiding Tech Support Scams

Scammers are calling and claiming to be computer techs from well-known companies such as Microsoft, Dell, HP, and Apple. They will tell you that your computer has been infected with a virus and they will try to convince you to give them access to your computer. Once they have access, they can do anything they want, such as download malware or steal your information. Another avenue for this is popups that appear in your web browser. They can be very loud and jarring and they vary in content. Most of the popups go something like this: “Your computer has been infected with a virus! Call this number for assistance!” or “Your computer has been doing something illegal! Call this number now!” They try to make the popup as frightening as possible so that you call them immediately without thinking things through. Many times they will also try to sell you antivirus software. They are not actually selling you any software, they are stealing your credit/debit card number. Do not give them your credit/debit card number. Companies like Microsoft do not have popups that tell you to call and they will never call you to say there is a virus on your computer.

Recently, there has been an influx of scammers registering domain names that end in .cm instead of .com. When you go to these fake sites, your browser ends up with many popups warning you of infections and may even freeze your computer. Make sure you are always typing the URL into your search bar correctly.