man on the phone holding his credit card. he is on the phone iwth a scammer who tricked him using his computer

Tech Support Scams


 In March, we wrote about impersonation/imposter scams; from government officials to potential love interests, scammers can pretend to be anyone! One of the most common identities criminals will assume, however, are tech support officials. There are called tech support scams.

These ploys typically involve convincing you something is wrong with your computer, either through a phone call, or pop-up on your computer. You may even encounter ads for fake tech support companies while browsing the internet. Once you get in contact with the scammer, they will attempt to get you to send money to them in order to ‘fix’ the non-existent problem on your device, or even allow them to remote into your device where they can steal your personal information or damage your device.  

Spotting Tech Support Scams

Phone Calls and Messages

When identifying tech support scams, it’s important to remember that most software or support companies like Microsoft will not send unsolicited calls, emails, or texts requesting personal information. Unless specifically requested by the user, they will not reach out asking for this information. This is your first red flag that the request is a scam. Read up on our previous article to find out how else you can spot phishing emails like these.


You may also encounter a pop-up that alerts you to an issue with your device and asks you to call a phone number. Again, software and support companies will not ask you to call a number to help fix your device. This is a scam! Avoid clicking on any links in these pop-ups as well.

Some pop-ups are the symptom of malware. These pop-ups can seem more legitimate; they will be hard to click out of, may ‘freeze’ your browser, or just seem more urgent in general. It is important to remain calm in these scenarios. Sometimes just rebooting your computer, or force-quitting the browser can help remove it from your screen. To get rid of malware, you will most likely need to take your device to a professional.

Online Ads

If you do need help with your device, there is also a chance you may run into online ads for a seemingly amazing support company that can help you with your device. Remember to do your due diligence and look up these companies before you request their help. Do they have reviews on third party sites that seem legitimate? Do they have a social media presence? Does their website have important information about their services? Often times, simply Googling “[support company] scam” can save you a headache!

Suspicious Software and Payments

If you end up in contact with these ‘support companies’, they may ask for payment before they ‘fix’ your device. The payment methods required are often Bitcoin, or gift cards. Like we’ve reviews in previous articles, this is a tell-tale sign you are being scammed. Criminals often request these types of payments because they offer less protection for you, and less chance of being traced.

Scammers may also attempt to get you download a special software so they can fix your computer. These programs will allow them to remote into your device to steal your personal information! Do not click on any suspicious links to sites you do not recognize. When downloading programs, it is best to only download from official websites of the company, not third-part websites. Investing in an anti-virus software can help, as they can scan programs and sites and let you know if they are suspicious.

Avoiding Tech Support Scams

  • We’ll keep saying it: don’t click on any links! Especially if you are unsure where they may take you. It is better to be safe and not click on any links.
  • Don’t call numbers you are requested to reach out to. Like we mentioned above, legitimate software and support companies will not request you to reach out to them in a pop-up or email and may not reach out to you at all unless you have requested assistance.
  • Never give out personal information. You will never be asked for passwords, account numbers, etc. over phone, email, or text from a software company. If someone you are speaking to is asking for this information, hang up or stop responding.
  • Do not download unknown software.
  • Never give control of your pc to someone else remotely.
  • Try not to react out of fear. Sometimes the messages that may pop-up will be scary. It Is important to take a step back and assess whether the claim is legitimate.

If you think you’ve been the victim of a tech support scam

If you have given away any personal information to a scammer, make sure to login to the affected accounts and change your passwords. If you have given access of your device to the scammers, disconnect your device from the internet and change your passwords from a separate device. Depending on what information you gave the scammers, you may want to put a freeze on your credit, as well as inform your financial institution so they are aware of the threat.

Delete any files you were asked to download and run a fullscan of your computer using a legitimate anti-virus software.


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