How to Spot and Avoid Tech Support Scams – A Guide To Keep Your Data Safe

  • 6 min read

Technology has become an integral part of our lives, making it easier to connect with people, store and share data, and access information. But as tech advances, so do the threats to our data and security. Tech support scams are one of the most common and pernicious threats to our online security, but they can be avoided with the right knowledge and skills. In this guide, we’ll show you how to spot and avoid tech support scams, so you can protect your data and keep yourself safe online. With the right know-how and a few simple steps, you can protect yourself and your data from tech support scams and keep yourself safe in the digital world.

What are tech support scams?

Tech support scams are fake support calls or websites that trick you into paying for unnecessary repairs, services, or upgrades to your computer. They often arrive in the form of pop-up ads, emails, or phone calls. The scammers pose as computer security or tech support representatives and will try to get you to give them remote access to your computer. Once they have remote access, they can steal your data and infect your computer with malware or viruses, or try to trick you into paying for unneeded repairs and services. 

Red flags of a tech support scam

They call you out of the blue. 

If you receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from tech support, you’re probably being scammed. These scammers want to trick you into believing that your computer is infected and that they’re from a legitimate company. 

They demand immediate payment. 

Always be wary of anyone who demands payment as soon as you talk to them or anyone who pressures you to pay with gift cards, money transfers, or prepaid debit cards. These payment methods are difficult to trace and are the preferred payment methods of scammers. 

They ask you to pay with gift cards. 

Another sign of a scam is if they ask you to pay for the repairs using gift cards. While there are legitimate companies that accept gift cards, most don’t. Scammers want to get your money as quickly as possible, so they’ll ask you to use a payment method that can’t be traced. 

They ask you to sign in to your computer while they’re on the call.

If they ask you to sign in to your computer while they’re on the call, end the call immediately. Legitimate companies will never have you give them remote access to your computer unless you’re paying for a service that requires it.

They have poor customer service skills. 

If the person you’re talking to has poor customer service skills, you’re probably talking to a scammer. Scammers aren’t interested in providing quality service or repairing your computer. They only want your money.

How to protect yourself from tech support scams

While no one can guarantee you won’t fall victim to a tech support scam, there are certain steps you can take to protect yourself from falling for one. Always keep in mind that legitimate companies will never call you and ask for immediate payment for unneeded repairs. 

Avoid unsecured Wi-Fi connections. 

Always connect to secure Wi-Fi connections and change the password on your home Wi-Fi router to something unique and hard to guess. This will prevent scammers from using unsecured connections to gain access to your computer and infect it with malware. 

Install antivirus software. 

Install and always have antivirus software installed on your computer. This will protect you against viruses and malware that can steal your data, slow down your computer, or cause it to crash. 

Update your computer’s operating system (OS) and software.

Make sure to update your computer’s OS and software, including your browser, Java, Adobe, and your computer’s operating system. Out-of-date software is more susceptible to viruses and can slow down your computer. 

Avoid clicking on links in emails, even if they appear to be from people you know. 

Scammers can send emails that appear to be from people you know, like your bank, airline, or even your boss. Always be cautious about clicking on links in an email, especially if it comes from someone you don’t know. 

Set up two-factor authentication. 

Two-factor authentication is an excellent way to protect your online accounts from hackers and scammers. It requires you to verify your identity by entering a special code, generated by an app on your phone or another device when you log in.

What to do if you think you’ve been scammed

If you think you’ve been scammed, immediately disconnect from your computer and unplug any wired connections. Change your computer password and any other account passwords that may be compromised. Report the incident to local police and the IC3. To protect yourself from falling for another scam, you should change your passwords for all of your online accounts. Make sure to use a strong, unique password for each account, preferably a long passphrase that combines random words. Avoid using the same password across different accounts and change your passwords at least once a month.

In summary:

– Keep in mind that legitimate companies will never call you and demand immediate payment for unneeded repairs. 

– Scammers often try to trick you into giving them remote access to your computer. 

– Stay safe by installing antivirus software and updating your computer’s operating system and software. 

– Always be wary of links in emails and set up two-factor authentication to protect your online accounts. 

– If you think you’ve been scammed, immediately disconnect from your computer, change your passwords, and secure your computer. 

Now that you know what tech support scams are and how to protect yourself from them, it’s time to take action and put these tips into practice. With the right know-how and a few simple steps, you can protect yourself from tech support scams and keep yourself safe in the digital world.

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