Tech support scams against PC users remain a threat

Tech support scammers have you believe there is a severe problem with your computer, possibly a virus. They say they’ll fix the problem, which doesn’t exist, by offering you tech support. Of course, the assistance does not come for free.

Victims might be required to pay large sums for consumer support or questionable tools. In other cases, fake tech support teams can require remote access to your PC. The latter is likely the most detrimental, as scammers get full privileges to steal your files.

The dangerous nature of tech support scams

Victims are asked to pay by either wiring the money through prepaid cards, sending gift card codes, or transferring the money through an app. Most methods have one thing in common in terms of refunds. For instance, you won’t get refunds for gift cards, which is the preferred payment for scammers.

These tech support scams can appear in the form of pop-ups on computer screens, or they may even be in the form of a phone call from someone posing as a tech support specialist from a top software giant like Microsoft.

The scammers’ strategy is to intimidate the victim into believing that all the data in the computer will be corrupted or lost if they aren’t allowed to work on it that very moment. After the initial contact has been established, the scammer gains access to install an actual virus to grab data or even commit identity theft, posing a severe threat to users.

Luckily, awareness among employees in an organization or individual consumers can go a long way in preventing these malicious attacks. Let’s investigate how we can ensure our protection.

Fake customer support numbers

If you experience an issue with a specific service, the chances are you will look for their support number. You might encounter no problem with this, finding the legit customer support contact and talking with trustworthy representatives.

However, it is also possible that scammers will try to push fake websites or phone numbers to the top of the search results. Therefore, people must check whether they are contacting a trusted source.

Both regular consumers and business owners need to be aware of such threats. For instance, employees should be encountered to double-check whether they contact legitimate partners. As for users, the same rule applies.

Carry out security updates and checkups regularly

You should perform periodic checkups to see if all the systems are running smoothly. Employers have tools to automate this requirement. For instance, they can install monitoring software on corporate computers. Then, it is possible to update the software of employees behind the latest releases.

The risk of system failures is eliminated by having secure and updated software. You should be no less cautious and vigilant than your subordinates when the procedures are being carried out.

You should contact the personnel from reputed software companies, those you can trust. You may also have the in-house tech support carry out all the software tests necessary for your company. These updates and checks help remove bugs and keep devices better equipped to fight the latest forms of cyber attacks.

Consumers should also consider setting automatic updates. Of course, users know how awkward Windows updates can be. However, even if updates occur inconvenient times, it is better than using an outdated OS version.

Ignore instructions/threatsgiven on random phone calls

Tech support scammers often call you posing as a computer technician from a company of repute. They claim that they’ve located a problem in your computer and often ask for remote access to your computer to run a sham diagnostic test.

They then try to convince you into a making a payment to fix a problem that never existed in the first place. Remember not to grant remote access to your computer to strangers who reach you on the phone on a random call. The consequences could be very dangerous. When you receive a call from someone unexpected who says that there’s a problem in your computer that needs immediate fixing, just hang up.

Look for clues if you struggle to see whether a tech support call is legitimate. One of them is threats, meaning that the caller will hope to intimidate you with stories.

Ignore pop-up messages

Another strategy tech support scammers use is trying to trick people with a pop-up warning on computer screens. These pop-ups appear like error messages from the operating system or the anti-virus you use.

The pop-up may also carry the logo of a trusted company to appear more convincing. The pop-up message will warn you of a security issue in your computer needing immediate attention. A number will be displayed, and you’ll be asked to make a call on it for help. Yes, you guessed it, don’t make the call, and close the message.

Use trusted security tools

Tech support scams will likely try to sell you useless software. However, you won’t be tempted by such programs if you already have a reliable security tool. There are many anti-virus tools for Windows but pick the one that suits your needs. Windows comes with Windows Defender, which is better than nothing.

Furthermore, you can install a VPN for Windows to ensure safety on visited websites. For instance, a fraudulent tech support pop-up can lead you to an unsafe website. That website might be after your data or hope to secretly install cryptojacking software to mine computer resources. A Virtual Private Network could block ads and specific scripts from hurting your device. Additionally, it encrypts data and offers security on HTTP websites.

Conclusion

Your data is your lifeline, so you should be very careful about protecting it. Take precautions to protect your company’s data and that of your own as well. Tech support scammers can put your data at risk. In some cases, they might go as far as to spread ransomware or other malware.

Seek help from tech support experts, and remember, raising awareness like ignoring pop-up messages and unexpected calls from phony tech support professionals helps a lot. Stay aware of staying a step ahead of these malicious scammers.