A Follow Up To The Senior Who Was A Victim Of A Tech Support Scam

Earlier this week I detailed the story of a senior who fell victim to a tech support scam. These sorts of scams infuriate me as they target people who don’t know any better, or in this case they target people who are unable to defend themselves. Now there is good news, some areas for concern, and some bad news to report.

  • Let’s start with the good news. I did a second examination of her computer and found nothing “bad” on her computer and it appears to be working fine. Thus I have to assume that that after the scammer installed the remote access software, they put on “a dog and pony show” to convince her that her computer had serious issues.
  • Now to the areas of concern:
    • She got a phone call from what sounds like to me to be an automated system saying her credit card had two charges put on it and she mentioned something about having to press one or two to approve or reject the transaction. She was unable to really give me a better description than that. So I recommended that she call or visit her bank and have them review her transaction history with her to make sure that they did not somehow get her credit card details.
    • One concern of mine was that they might have stolen documents and files off her computer. The remote access software had no logs for me to look at. So I am unable to answer that question and the possibility that she might be a victim of identity theft might still be on the table.
    • The bad news is that she didn’t have call display, and any other details that she provided to me were on the scant side. So I am unable to report this to the relevant authorities (more on that in a second) as there is simply not enough for them to work with. Thus these scumbags continue to roam free without having the relevant authorities hunting them down, or yours truly naming and shaming them.

One other thing, the scammer did call back. But she hung up on them and avoided engaging with them.

So that leads to me to what you should do if you encounter this scam.

Fact: Microsoft, Apple, or Google would never call you to say that your computer is broken and it needs to be fixed. And I do mean NEVER. The exception might be your ISP as there’s a minute possibility that your ISP would call you if your computer has been infected with malware that could be sending out something from your computer. If a caller claims to be from your ISP, ask for the caller’s name, where his or her office is located, and for the office telephone number. Ask why you’re being contacted by telephone, what the issue with your computer is and how the ISP could tell it was your PC specifically that had a problem. If a call sounds legit, hang up and call the ISP yourself, then ask for the tech support department or for the person who called you specifically. Use a phone number listed on your ISP’s website or on your bill, not a number that the caller gave you. That way, you could confirm or deny if this is legit.

Now, if you get a call from a scammer. The best way to deal with them is to hang up. That’s it. Hang up and move on with your life. You can’t get scammed if you do not engage. But let’s say you did actually fall for this. You need to act fast. First, shut down the computer. Then do this:

  1. First download and install legitimate antivirus software. Then, run a scan to see if anything has been left behind. Then change the passwords on the user accounts on your PC. You don’t have passwords on the user accounts? You should precisely for this reason. If you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these items, call an IT expert for help.
  2. If you gave the scammer your credit card number, then you really need to act fast. Call your credit card provider and either reverse the charges or cancel the card.  Then you should also contact one of the three credit-reporting agencies. Namely Equifax, Experian or TransUnion and ask them to place a free 90-day credit alert on your file. For the record, Experian doesn’t operate in Canada but the other two do. The agency you contact will alert the others and you’ll be notified if someone tries to do something in your name.
  3. Report it. Microsoft has a Web page dedicated to reporting tech-support scams. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has a website for fielding complaints, while the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center is the place to go if you’re in Canada.

As you can see, getting hit by a scammer is not a trivial matter. You need to be on your toes to avoid this sort of thing. If you are, then you should never have to worry about the negative effects of being scammed. I’ll continue to document these sorts of scams, and where possible I will name and shame the scumbags behind them. Plus I will provide details so that hopefully you will never be a victim.

One Response to “A Follow Up To The Senior Who Was A Victim Of A Tech Support Scam”

  1. Thank You For Sharing This Information. This Will Aware Many Peoples About Such Scams.

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