Ever gotten a call claiming your computer has been compromised? Scammers will call and pretend to be from tech support, claiming your machine has been hacked or infected with viruses. They’ll walk you through a so-called “fix,” either charging hundreds of dollars for a service you didn’t need, or taking over your computer using remote software to control it.
The FTC has been cracking down on these “tech support” calls by establishing Operation Tech Trap, a program with 16 actions against deceptive operations such as these. The FTC and its partners have temporary halted the operations of several defendants accused of deceptive tech support operations. Sadly, scammers are always looking for their next opportunity, and this new program has provided a new way to coerce people out of their hard earned paychecks.
The FTC is reporting that a woman who recently lost money to one of the defendants received a call from someone claiming to be part of the suit. He said the company wanted to give her a refund of the money she had lost in the scam. Nothing like a good samaritan, right? Wrong! This was a bold faced lie – that company the scammer claimed to work for has closed its doors for good. He asked for access to her computer so he could fill out paperwork and buy a prepaid card (you know how we feel about those!). Thankfully, the woman felt in her gut that something didn’t sound right, and she hung up and called the FTC.
The fact is, scammers want your money, and it’s highly unlikely that any of them will have a change of heart to give you a refund. As nice as the sentiment is, opportunists have found yet another way to take advantage of those who may be feeling vulnerable. If you have lost money in one of these tech support scams, beware of ANY calls claiming they want to refund you, especially if they offer to do it in a shady way. Never give out personal information, financial information, or computer access to these scammers. As with every scam call, hang up if you feel something is wrong and report it directly to the FTC.