What exactly are Tech Support Scams
Tech Support Scams are still relatively unknown as far as online scams go. This is because their prevalence is not as high as that of other phishing techniques but it is nonetheless gaining popularity has more and more people fall prey to it every day. The number of Tech Support Scams reported from the United Kingdom, United States, Australia, and Canada.
The premise behind the Tech Support Scams is brilliant in nature. The Tech Support Scams starts with cold calling a person living in a Western country. The calls usually have originated from Indian call centers. When a person picks up the call, the person on the other end, the scammer introduces themselves as a Microsoft support employee. Once they have established their credentials they begin with telling the person on the line about how there is a new update for their operating system and hence they need to listen to the step by step process of obtaining it. They lure the person into a false sense of security and gain access to their computer from their remote location. Once that is done, they will ask for the customer’s credit card information saying that the update costs money and hence they will be refunded but for that their credit card information is needed. Once the scammer has this information, they do not need anything else! They will now use this information to gain access to your credit card and then commit credit card fraud.
The Tech Support Scams is a very sinister tool and can help a scammer get all the information they require for committing fraud in no time at all and from the person they are about to scam no less! Hence people need to be wary of this scam and make sure they know the warning signs so they can protect themselves from it.
Different Types of Confidence Tricks in Tech Support Scams
The main thing that makes Tech Support Scams so successful is how the scammers gains the confidence of their victim. It takes a special skill set to know the techniques and tricks to make a stranger hand over their credit card details to you willingly over the phone. The people who operate Tech Support Scams have an entire method which they use to lull their victims into a false sense of security.
These tips and tricks are great in helping scammers get their victims to be pliable and listen to their every demand without realizing how dangerous their actions could be.
Here are some confidence gaining tricks that the people behind Tech Support Scams use.
- One of the most commonly used tricks is when scammers ask victims to access their Windows Event Viewer. This is a place where all the notifications regarding your system are present. The scammer will use these as proof that you have a virus in your computer which needs to be sorted out right away. If a person is not well versed with computers, they will easily fall prey to this since they will misinterpret these Windows notifications as proof of viruses and hence will be read to do whatever the scammer tells them in order to get rid of them.
- The scammer might also use certain folders which are present in every Window computer and have unusual file names as proof that malware exists on your system and hence you need to root it out.
- The person behind the Tech Support Scams might even ask you to open command prompt and then type in certain commands which will yield a longwinded technical looking result. The scammer will interpret this result as a virus in your system and try to convince you about it.
- The scammer might remotely use the ‘Syskey’ system and set a new password for the system which only they know; this effective locks out people of their own computers.
- Windows has a ‘Send To’ function which can fool those who don’t know much about computers into thinking that they have a virus in their systems when a certain action is enacted as instructed by the scammer
Different Kind of Tricks
There are various kinds of Tech Support Scams that can take place and scammers have become very creative in terms of how they lure victims. There are different kinds of Tech Support Scams and one should be wary of all of them.
- Windows Scam
This is by far one of the most popular Tech Support Scams. So much so that Microsoft had to issue a notice against them and is actively trying to combat this problem. People receive cold calls from scammers who trick them into thinking their system has been effected with malware and needs to be fixed right away.
- Security Scam
These days there are pop-ups which say that a person’s computers has been infected by a virus and to combat it they need to call the number on the pop-up immediately instead of shutting off the computer since this could be incredibly dangerous.
Sometimes, a scammer will email the victim telling them about how their system might be at risk and they need to fix it by calling a given number. This is also a type of Tech Support Scams.
- Chat Boxes
Sometimes a website may have been compromised by Tech Support Scams as well. The ‘Chat with Us’ option might be operated by a scammer who will try to gain your personal information.
One of the most popular and common Tech Support Scams is cold calling victims and offering to install an anti-virus on their system.
- Error Screen
This is a kind of pop-up which will take over your screen and with a message asking you to call a certain number to restore your system.
The Telltale Signs of Tech Support Scams
There are certain things you need to be on the lookout for in order to recognize Tech Support Scams for what they are; scams. There are a lot of signs which point to the direction that the call you have received or the message that you have gotten is actually one of these Tech Support Scams. At times the Tech Support Scams look so convincing that you almost fall for it. But if you know what to look out for, you will always be safe from these Tech Support Scams and not fall victim to the scammers who cheat people out of money.
Below are some things you always need to be aware of when you receive a message which asks you to call a certain number to restore your system or a call which asks you for personal information.
- You Get the Call
While most companies focus heavily on customer service and want to ensure their customers are happy, none of them engage in cold calling their customers to inform them of changes in software or that they might have a virus in their system. Thus this should turn on the warning bells in your head; if you get a call and you had no called anyone about the issue yourself, it is most likely a scam!
- Caller ID
If you get a call you will first check your caller ID and since these people are professionals they have this covered. They will go to great lengths to make sure the number appears as legitimate and says ‘Customer Support’ or the company name which they claim to be representing. This might be a sign that this is indeed one of those Tech Support Scams since major companies usually use local numbers and are not listed as such.
- Personal Information
The minute the caller starts asking you your computer password or your credit card information you need to realize this is a scam. No major company representative will ask you these details. And your credit card information is something you should never give away to anyone in any case.
- Foreign Accent
Since most Tech Support Scams originate from India and other related countries, the person will most likely have an accent. Even if they are very good they will have a hint of accent and this should tip you off about the fact that they might be a scammer. They will insist on having a Western name but do not fall for this ploy.
- Rare Virus
They will call to tell you that your computer has been infected by such a rare virus that it cannot be detected with any of the scanners and anti-virus you have in your computer hence you definitely need their help.
- They Ask you to Follow Instructions
If it is indeed one of the many Tech Support Scams, the person on the phone will ask you to perform various tasks on your computer and use those results to justify the fact that your computer is infected. Do not fall for this and scrutinize the results. Also search online about what these actions are supposed to do.
- Spelling Errors
If it is a pop-up, the first thing you need to realize is that most companies do not ask customers to call them to fix a problem. And most Tech Support Scams pop ups have terrible English and Grammar so keep a lookout for that as well.