The new year is about new beginnings. And for scammers, it's also all about finding a whole new way to steal people's money.
We're only a few weeks in, and unfortunately, there are already reports on a new form of scam that can potentially victimize millions of Americans in the next few months. It's called the tech support scam.
What is the tech support scam?
A tech support scam starts with a call from someone who would introduce themselves as a computer technician from a well-known company. They will tell the victim that they have detected an issue with their computer, so they would like to run a diagnostic test.
If the victim agrees, here's what they would likely do:
- Install malware so they can have access to the victim's computer.
- Enroll you in a maintenance program.
- Direct you to phishing websites and ask you to enter your personal information including your credit card details.
- Try to sell you useless software services.
How do you avoid this scam?
If you suddenly got a call from a tech support that you're not expecting, it's likely a scam. Therefore, you should hang up right away. It doesn't matter if their phone number looks legitimate because scammers can now use fake caller IDs.
In addition to that, always remember that a trusted tech company will never ask for your personal information over the phone, especially details that are as sensitive as your credit card number.
A lot of people have avoided this scam, as well, by using call blockers like the CPR V5000 and CPR V10000 that are compatible with most US homes.
What should you do if you already got scammed?
If you accidentally shared some of your personal information with a scammer, the first thing to do is call your bank and ask them if they can do something with the charges.
The next step is to download a security software that you trust and immediately scan your computer. Delete suspicious apps or software. If you're not sure on how to do it, call a professional.
If you gave your username and password, change your password right away. Make sure that it's not related to your old password, and make it a strong one.
And lastly, report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission or the FTC.