“Tech Support” Scams: Don’t Fall for a Fake Offer to Help

We’ve discussed online scams before on Off the Cusp, and this author is routinely amazed at the variety, creativity and temerity of the swindles bad guys pull off. Here is another to add to the list: tech support scams. Though most security experts have known about this activity for a few years, ordinary Internet users continue to be targeted and victimized by this scamming technique.

“Tech support” scams blend two technologies (a telephone and the Internet) to convince victims to allow remote access to his/her computer to “remove a virus” or “fix” some supposed computer problem. Once the caller has access, the victim’s computer is now under the full control of the fraudster.

The scammers use social engineering to dupe victims into believing that the person on the other end of the phone is an employee from a well-known (and presumably trusted) company, such as Microsoft® or their internet service provider (ISP).

How do they get the number of their victim? They simply look you up in one of many online telephone directories. Once they know who you are and where you live, it doesn’t take much work to guess what ISP you are using. Targeting Windows® computers is also a no-brainer – since most of us use this operating system at home and in the workplace.

Click here to get a good overview of how the scam goes down along with tips on how to spot a fraud.

By the way, for Patterson customers, if our support or inside sales folks call you, the reason is most likely because you have requested a call back from either support or sales.  We will always introduce ourselves, including our department and the reason for the call.  And we will always know your Patterson number– so just ask us for it if you would like confirmation.