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Tech support scams are the most reported type of fraud against seniors, age 60 and older. According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, nearly 18,000 victims reported total losses of nearly $588 million due to tech support scams in 2022. Although it’s not a new scam, criminals have evolved with technology to easily convince people they have a problem with their computer that needs to be fixed.
Here are the three most common tech support scams:
- Phone Calls
Scammers are known to call and pose as computer technicians from well‑known companies. They claim to have found a problem with your computer and request remote access to run a diagnostic test. Once they run their bogus test, they will try to make you pay to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. If you receive an unexpected phone call from someone saying there’s a problem with your computer, just hang up. Legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email, or text message to tell you there’s a problem.
- Pop-up Warnings
If a security warning suddenly pops up on your computer screen, it could be a scam. The message may appear to come from the computer’s operating system or antivirus software, warning of a threat detected on your computer and a phone number to call for help. Don’t call the number on the pop‑up window. Security pop-up warnings from legitimate tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number or click a link.
- Online Ads
Think twice before clicking an online ad offering tech support. Scammers are running ads and may even show up in online search results for people seeking tech support services. If you are seeking tech support, go to a reputable company that’s known and trusted.
Here’s what to if you were scammed:
- If you paid by credit or debit card, contact the company or bank immediately. You may be able to stop the transaction.
- If you paid by gift card, contact the company that issued the card. They may be able to issue a refund.
- If the scammer accessed your computer, update your computer’s security software, then run a scan.
- If you provided the scammer with your username and password, change the password right away.
If you are a Merrimack customer and are concerned your personal or financial information was compromised, please call us directly at 603.225.2793.