4 Ways to Protect Yourself from Tech Support Scams

As technology continues to advance, so do scammers’ techniques to get your information. One common scam that’s grown in popularity over the past few years is the tech support scam. Here’s how a tech support scam works.

You’re browsing the internet and get a popup from a person saying your computer has a virus and you need to click on the link to remove it. Or you might get a phone call claiming to be from Apple telling you there’s an issue with your phone and they need your Apple ID login to fix it. After you give your information, they demand you pay a few hundred dollars for the “work” they’ve done.

Luckily, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself from these scammers.

  • Keep software up to date. Hackers and scammers take advantage of people with outdated security software. Change your software to get automatic updates.
  • Don’t click suspicious links. If you get a popup telling you your computer is infected and to click a link to get support, don’t click it.
  • Be skeptical of caller ID. Remember, scammers and spammers can fake the number that shows up on your caller ID. Just because the person on the other end claims to be a technician from Microsoft doesn’t mean they are.
  • Unplug. If you receive popup on your computer that you can’t get rid of, turn off your computer by pressing the power button or unplugging it.

Even the most diligent person can fall victim to tech support scams. Here are some signs to watch for next time you’re online.

  • Unwanted popups. Beware of random computer popups telling you there’s something wrong with your computer and to call the provided phone number right away.
  • Someone calls you to tell you something’s wrong with your computer. No one from Microsoft, Apple or any other tech company will call you on the phone to tell you something’s wrong with your computer.
  • They ask for gift cards. Gift cards are a favorite payment method of scammers because funds on them are nearly impossible to get back. Legitimate tech support companies will never ask you to pay for services with gift cards.

Remember, scammers try to use a false sense of urgency to get you to act right away. If you’re online and someone tries to pressure you into sending them money or clicking links that seem suspicious, ignore them. If you ever think something is wrong with your computer, contact a reputable professional.