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Common Tech Support Scams: Protect Your Data

By Del Peñano
Jul 25, 2018

I’m sure that many of us have experienced or know someone that has been exposed to cyber criminals acting as tech support. Most people are vulnerable to these scams because they are unaware of this attack vector. These scams can come in multiple forms such as an unsolicited phone call, pop-up browser windows, email, and the perpetrators will identify themselves as a support technician claiming to have identified a virus that has infected your computer. At this point, they would offer to fix the issue/problem for a price. By the way, in most cases there was never a virus in the victim’s computer.

In 2017, the FBI’s (Federal Bureau of Investigations) Internet Crime Complaint Center(IC3) received over 11,000 complaints for tech support fraud alone representing 86 percent increase in financial losses compared to 2016, which equates to $15 million in cyber theft and all this from tech support scams and some will go as far to impersonate the Internet Crime Complaint Center unit of the FBI.

Many people reading this post likely have a technology background or have prior knowledge as a consumer. Always remember that companies such as Microsoft, Apple, etc. will not contact users via ads on web browser or for that matter call customers to inform them that their computer(s) have been compromised. Best advice is not to accept these type of calls, and block them completely. Sometimes these tech support scams will leave a call back number, which you should not call back, since it can also be a form of phone phishing. These cyber thieves are simply using social engineering to gain access to private and financial information which can be extremely lucrative. If you are concerned about a technical support issues on your computer, call the software or hardware company directly to troubleshoot the issue.

How can you protect yourself or business from these types of tech support scams? Here are a few tips and advice:

  1. Most companies will never initiate an unsolicited tech support call. Don’t give out any of your information.
  2. Don’t be quick to give someone remote access to your computer. Always validate who is on the other line and ensure they are a verified employee of the company you are calling for support.
  3. Be sure to have an anti-virus, malware protection software (maintain software updates) and also consider adding network protection, which is a cloud-enabled firewall.
  4. When searching for customer and tech support phone numbers, be sure the number you are calling is legitimate and a verified phone number for the business you are trying to reach.

The team at Jungle Disk is here to help make sure your data is protected. Please contact us if you are interested in a free cybersecurity assessment.