Hey computer users, it’s time for a pop quiz.
A) You get an urgent call or email from a tech support company, saying your computer has a problem. Should you give the company remote access to your computer to make repairs?
B) A warning announcing “suspicious activity” or “security threat detected” appears on your computer screen. Should you call the number shown on the screen to talk to a technician?
C) One of these tech support companies asks you to pay for its services, maybe by using a gift card (like from iTunes or Amazon) or wire transfer. Should you?
The answer to all of these questions is “No.”
Here’s why: Your computer is almost certainly fine. Legit tech support companies don’t operate that way. Tech support scammers sometimes make false claims that they are associated with legitimate computer companies to make you believe them. The person who calls, or who gives you a toll-free number to call, is a scammer who wants to steal your money. If you give someone control of your computer, they can install malicious software that can help them steal your personal information. And anyone who asks you to pay for anything – including tech support services – with a gift card is scamming you. No legitimate company will ever ask you to pay with a gift card. If someone wants you to pay with a gift card, please tell the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.
For more tips on avoiding a tech support scam, watch this video: