Scammers are becoming increasingly intelligent and are developing new ways to access consumer funds and personal information. Here at CTFCU, our biggest priority is the financial wellness of our members, and that includes keeping them and their money safe. To ensure member safety, we put together this series to help you recognize the signs of fraud and ways to protect yourself.
Next in our series: Tech Support Scams.
Tech support scammers use various tricks to prey on unsuspecting consumers. The following is a list of their tactics and how you can avoid falling victim to them:
1. Phone calls
Scammers frequently use phone calls as a way to steal information. A consumer receives an unexpected call from someone posing as a tech support representative from their computer’s manufacturer. The impersonator will then ask for remote access to the computer to run a “diagnostic test”. The scan is actually used to implant a malicious virus, designed to highjack the user’s computer. To regain access to their personal files, the victim will be instructed to pay a large sum of money to the criminals.
2. Pop-up warnings
Some fraudsters utilize computer “pop-up” warnings to persuade consumers to hand over sensitive information. The pop-up may look like a legitimate error from your system or antivirus software, featuring a realistic logo from a known company or website. The message will reference a major security issue with your computer, followed by instructions to call a listed number. During the call, the fraudster will ask to gain remote PC access. Once this occurs, any sensitive data on your device can be placed at risk.
While the prospect of falling victim to a tech support scam is scary, there are ways to combat this threat. First, strengthening your computer’s security software will assist in avoiding technological vulnerabilities. Next, familiarize yourself with your tech company’s phone number, email, and even your representative’s name. Anyone who receives contact from an unfamiliar tech support specialist should terminate the communication immediately. Consumers should also change their usernames and passwords frequently. Finally, don’t forget to report your experience to the FTC as soon as possible.