Tech support scam

An analog clock reading 8:242014-06-03 / 2014-W23-2T20:24:34-05:00 / 0x538e7552

Categories: Internet culture

Today, I was the target of a tech support scam.

I received a phone call from someone purporting to work in tech support. The caller said they were calling about my Windows computer. Thinking they might have the wrong number, I replied that I didn’t have a Windows computer. The caller then hung up, without even apologizing or saying goodbye.

The abrupt ending of the call made me suspicious, and so I did some research. It turns out that this is known scam. I found information from both the Federal Trade Commission and Microsoft about this scam:

According to these sites, the scammers sometimes try to convince you that your computer has a virus or malware, and then trick you into installing malware or divulging your password or credit card number. Sometimes the scammers claim to be working for Microsoft or tech support providers.

I ran the caller’s number through a search engine, and found reports from others that are consistent with Microsoft’s and the FTC’s descriptions of the scam.

I decided to post about my experience in order to spread the word about these scams. In closing, here’s some of the FTC’s advice for those cold-called about computer security issues:

If you get a call from someone who claims to be a tech support person, hang up and call the company yourself on a phone number you know to be genuine. A caller who creates a sense of urgency or uses high-pressure tactics is probably a scam artist.