Two ‘Tech Support’ scammers have been arrested in the US recently in a scam that I don’t think I’ve discussed before – the online Ad. Tech Support Scam. Here’s the article from Techspot. The access point for these scams are those ridiculous ads that pop up on less reputable websites. You will have seen them – ‘Doctors in New Zealand don’t want you to know about this product’, ‘This actress never married, now we know why’. Apparently for the less tech-savvy, a pop-up claiming that their computer is infected with viruses, malware or spyware is sufficiently concerning for them to call a fake tech support number. Then the scammers can sell fixes that do nothing, and don’t need to because there was no problem with the victim’s computer in the first place. The scammers caught in this case were selling these fixes for several hundred or even a few thousand dollars. They’re charged with scamming 10 Million dollars from only about 7500 people, often leading them down long, elaborate scam paths, receiving multiple payments combining several different ruses. It must be a nightmare to get caught up in such a situation, and it shows that there are still people out there who are vulnerable to this kind of attack. My advice is to never click on pop-up ads that you see online. Even if it looks interesting it’s almost always utter BS and the risk is high, especially if you don’t have good (read: paid for) virus protection.
Genuine Windows notifications do appear from time to time – if you have received one and you’re not 100% certain of the source, please seek advice before following any instructions. Remember, big multinational companies like Microsoft and Google do not ask people to ring them regarding their products, and they do not ring their customers. Their business model involves as little real time customer contact as possible – remember how difficult it was to get hold of a real person to discuss your internet or phone plan last time you tried? They wouldn’t contact you even if they could detect a problem with your computer, and they mostly can’t. The scammers however, would love to chat.
If you do have a pop-up or an email you’re concerned about we would be happy to take a look and advise you on it:
24B Dick Street, Cambridge ~ 07 827 7119 ~ firstname.lastname@example.org