Recently there has been an increase in tech support scams as the number of new, inexperienced technology users grow. Here are some tips on avoiding being scammed by companies selling fake software and services.
Do Your Homework
If you plan to download any software from a company you don’t know and trust, it pays to do some research first. Usually a quick web search will suffice.
If it’s a scam it will almost certainly have been written about somewhere on the internet, and if the company is legitimate then there should be some evidence of that such as positive reviews.
Don’t Allow Anyone Remote Access To Your Computer
A common tactic of tech support scam operations is to ask you to download software that will allow them remote access to your computer.
Do not allow anyone you don’t know personally, and trust, to gain remote access to your computer! Once gaining access they can download malicious software, steal personal information, or simply show you things on your computer to trick you into believing it has problems that it doesn’t really have.
Don’t Tell Anyone Your Password
I mean anyone.
If a representative from a site you’re signed up with is requesting your password, they’re almost certainly a scammer. Employees of a legitimate site will never ask for your password.
Don’t Trust Caller Id
Scammers are able to alter caller ID to make it appear as if the call is coming from a genuine company’s number. They will claim to be this company, a company you may trust.
If they ask you for personal information, or for anything else that might be regarded as suspicious, you can always hang up and then call the number of the company they claimed to be.
This way you can ensure you are talking to who you think you are talking to.
If you did give a scammer your money, they may contact you later and offer a refund. Do not give them any information such as your bank number or credit card number. They are almost certainly trying to scam more money from you.
What To Do If You Have Responded To A Scam
If you suspect you have downloaded malware, download genuine anti-virus software such as Avast or AVG AntiVirus (if you don’t have any already), both available for free, and run a full system scan. Make sure to download only from the software’s own site, not from sites such as softonic.
If you gave out any passwords, make sure to change the passwords for all accounts you have that use them.
If you used your credit card to pay for a service that turned out to be a scam, call your credit card provider and ask to reverse the charges. Also check your statements for any other charges you didn’t make, as scammers may charge your credit card more than once, and ask to reverse those as well.
If you believe scammers have gained access to any personal information, check out the FTC’s identity theft page for steps to minimize damage.
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(Article Image from freedigitalphotos.net, by chanpipet)