The phone rings, you pick, up, it’s tech support. How nice! They’re calling to follow up on a computer problem you had or to warn you of a virus in your system.
That’s the start of a phone call that could end up costing you. The FCC is reporting that an old “Microsoft” tech support scam going back to 2011 has been reinvented with a twist.
In one new version, the caller claims to be from tech support – some say “Microsoft” or a Microsoft partner. The caller offers you a refund of whatever you last paid to a technician for help on your computer. The person claims you paid too much for the service (or, in some cases, claims the company is going out of business) and if you’ll just give them your account information, they’ll direct-deposit the refund for you. Easy. Except, of course, you’d be giving your account info to a fraudster.
In the other version, the caller (possibly identifying themselves as “24/7 tech”) claims to need remote access to your computer, either to manage the refund via Western Union, or in a different scenario, to fix a known technical issue with your computer or clean a virus. Maybe you’ve been getting those error messages everyone gets once in a while, so you might agree to some trouble-shooting help. The caller then walks you through some steps on your computer, gains access and either installs a virus, or grabs your personal and banking info. In some cases, the caller might even ask for payment for the “repair.”
What Can You Do?
Here’s what the FCC advises:
- Never give a caller access to your computer. Neither Microsoft nor any legitimate tech support company will cold call you and ask for access. If you receive a call like this, hang up. Log the date and time of the call.
- Never give anyone your banking information unless you called them (and not because they left you a message!).
- File a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint.
- If you already received a call like this and paid for a supposed repair with a credit card, call your credit card company and ask them to reverse the charges.
For more information, check the FCC site – read the comments there, too, from people who’ve received these calls.
Have you received any of these “tech support” calls?