Tech Tips

How To Avoid A Remote Tech Support Scam

How to avoid a remote tech support scam DRC Technologies Northampton PA

Knowledge is power. Stay safe. Learn about how to avoid a remote tech scam in our latest post.

In the past decade, the world has become dependent on technology. And that technology has been, in many ways, a wonderful addition to all of our lives. It’s helped businesses become more efficient, and families connect.

But, as with all things in life, tech has a dark side: scammers.

What is a Remote Tech Support Scam?

Scammers are brilliant people. Unfortunately, they elect to use their brilliance for nefarious purposes – most frequently to steal your money (or your identity).

man holding empty wallet over computer

A Remote Tech Support Scam involves a third party entering into & controlling your computer remotely. The fake third party “tech” then either accesses your personal information & steals your money, or they “fix” a problem that never actually existed & often charge an exorbitant price for their “services”.

How to Spot a Tech Support Scam

Scammers may be brilliant, but they’re also somewhat predictable. They tend to use the same mode of operation repeatedly, which fortunately for the rest of us, makes them easier to spot…if you know what to look for. We aim to show you how.

Remote Scam Operators will generally:

  • Claim to be from a major company like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Dell, Apple, Verizon, etc
  • Tell you there’s is a problem with your computer, your account, or recent order
  • Request remote access to your computer
  • Require that you give them your account credentials like usernames and passwords or have you enter that information after they’ve accessed your computer
  • Ask for a large amount of money for services
  • Ask for payment via gift cards or via direct access to your bank account
  • Claim to have a refund for you for your antivirus software, or Microsoft account (they don’t).

DRC Technologies Tech Tip: If you’re feeling unsure, if there’s even an inkling that something may be off with whomever you’re speaking to about remote tech support, hang up. Scammers use urgency to create fear. You should never feel pressured by a tech.


The Two Most Common Types of Remote Access Computer Scams

There are two major types of remote support scams: the cold call & the pop up.

What’s a Cold Call?

A random person calls your home or cell phone claiming to be tech support from a major computer company or anti-virus company.

frozen phone representing cold calls of remote tech support scams

What’s a Pop Up?

A pop up just “pops up” on your screen. More often than not, it will be a warning about your computer being hacked or your computer being infected with viruses. They’ll supply a phone number to call to “save” you from this problem, which of course, is fake.

examples of pop up computer viruses

What’s Actually Happening?

What the scammers are telling you, and what is actually occurring are two very different things.

First and foremost, they’re lying.

These scammers are not from any of the companies they claim to be from. Because no major company will ever cold call you to talk about your account. If someone cold calls you, never give them your username or password.

They’re preying on basic fear.

They say all the right things to make you fearful of the loss of your data, your account, your money & your identity. Then they say all the right things to make you feel like they can save you from that loss.

They’re not fixing a problem with your account.

Even if you haven’t directly given them your account information, they frequently install a keylogging program into your computer so they can see what you’re typing. This gives them access to any and all passwords and usernames you type into your computer.

They’re not removing viruses or saving you from being hacked.

They’re installing viruses and are the ones hacking you.

What Do I Do If a Scammer Calls Me?

Hang up. Plain and simple. They’ll often repeatedly call you back to try to bait you again. Ignore them and report them to the FTC & the FBI.

guy throwing his cell phone into the ocean
Resist the urge to chuck your phone in the nearest body of water or you’ll have two problems.

What Do I Do If I Get a Pop Up?

Do not click on it & do not call the number on it. Take it to your local, trusted tech service to run a system scan.

kid about to hit a computer with a hammer
Do not smash your computer. That will also create a second problem.

What If I Already Let A Scammer Access My Computer?

First, take a deep breath. Then, visit our post What To Do If You’ve Been Hacked for step by step information on what to do next.

Is There Legitimate Remote Tech Support?

There sure is. Many real tech firms utilize remote administration with their clients. It’s usually quick, it’s secure, and as a customer, you don’t have to leave your couch (or even wash your hair).

We’ve been utilizing remote support for many years and our customers love it.

And with, COVID-19, it helps stop the spread.

How Do I Find Real Remote Tech Support?

The safest bet is to contact your local, trusted computer repair store.

If you don’t know of one:

  • Ask a friend or family member
  • Call your local township or borough for a local referral
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau or your local Chamber of Commerce
  • Ask a trusted, local small business who their IT guys are

If you’re in the Lehigh Valley or surrounding area, we’re DRC Technologies and we’re here to help.

Be safe. Be well.

-S