Avoiding Computer Scams

There were a lot of scams and fraud last year. Please protect yourself.  Here are a few common scams that we saw a lot last year.

Tech support fraud

Tech support fraud includes phone calls claiming your computer is infected with a virus or a pop-up message, or a locked screen prompting you to call a fake company.  Call someone you have worked with before don’t call these companies back; they are only interested in getting access to your computer and credit card.

Phishing

Phishing attacks look like they came from a specific company. Called “spearfishing,” hackers might pose as your credit card company, bank, or a site like Google, Dropbox, or PayPal. Targets usually receive an email that looks as if it came from a legitimate business. You might be asked to click on a link to “verify account details” Or “Reset Password,” and from there, some malware may be installed on your computer or phone.  You used to have to download a file or an app to get malware; it’s now a matter of clicking a link. These browser attacks are more difficult to detect; most antivirus programs only scan your hard drive and what is in memory at that time.

What to Do

  • Never click a link in an email that comes from your bank, government agency, or commercial institution. If the link comes from a company, visit and check your account by going directly to the website by typing the URL manually.
  • Check updates weekly on your computer’s security software, and run scans several times a week.
  • If you get an unsolicited call claiming to be a tech support provider for your computer or software hang up immediately.
  • Read all warning message on your computer carefully. Misspelled words and Bad grammar is a telltale sign of a false warning.
  • Shut down your browser to Get rid of a fake virus alert message. On a Windows PC press CTRL-Alt-Del and bringing up the Task Manager. Select the browser and click end task. On a Mac, Hold the Option Key, Command Key, and Press Escape keys, or use the Force Quit command on the Apple menu.
  • Contact your credit card company to request a reversal of the payment if you’ve been scammed. You will also want to look for other unauthorized transactions and ask for them to be reversed as well.

What not to do:

  • Don’t ever allow anyone who calls you unsolicited to access your computer remotely.
  • Scammers can appear as if they’re calling from a legitimate number.  So Don’t rely on caller ID to determine if a caller is on the level.
  • Don’t share your computer username or any account passwords to anyone over the phone.
  • Don’t provide financial information to anyone who calls a few days, weeks or months after you’ve made a tech support purchase and asks if you were satisfied — it’s likely a “refund scam.” If you say No; the person calling will ask for a credit card or bank information, to “send” you a refund but actually to steal from your bank or credit card account.

If you have let a person that you are not familiar with access to your computer you should probably have your computer checked and repaired by us, your passwords and banking information could be vulnerable. Give us a call at (423) 930-8394.