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Online Tech Scams: How to Avoid Them

Cartoon of online tech scam. Man is on phone with a hacker.

Online Tech Scams: How to Avoid Them

Tech support scams are gaining momentum online. They typically use social engineering and fear tactics in order to deceive their victims. The motivation behind these types of scams is to gain money and install malware such as keyloggers or backdoor Trojans in order to gain access to information.

There are three main ways these scams are executed: pop-ups, unsolicited emails and remote access requests.

Pop-Up Messages

If a pop-up appears warning that there’s been a threat detected on your computer while you’re browsing the internet, it’s most likely a scam. Typically, these warnings aim to induce panic so you’ll be prompted to act quickly, and without thinking. They may ask to you click a link or call a number – either way they are trying to get your data or your money. Simply close the webpage and run a virus scan.

Unsolicited Calls and Emails

If you answer the phone and “Windows Security” is on the other end telling you about a threat detected on your computer, hang up – it’s a scam! Scammers often use unsolicited phone calls and emails to trick people into believing there’s a threat. The goal of these scams is to get you to pay to “fix” the problem. True threats to your computer will never be discovered or reported this way. In fact, if you require tech support for your computer, communication has to be initiated by you.

Remote Access Requests

Unsolicited calls or emails may lead to is a request for remote access. If you grant someone the ability to access your computer remotely, you’re giving over full control of everything on your device, including passwords and other sensitive data. While legitimate tech support people may use remote access to help fix your computer problems, they will not contact you with unsolicited emails or calls. It’s critical that you only use a trusted and verified tech support provider if you’re granting access to your device.

What Can You Do?

The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to recognize the signs of a scam, but what if it’s too late? There are several steps you can take.

  1. Run a virus scan, and uninstall any programs the scammers may have had you install. Be thorough and check for any recently added programs. You should consult a trusted tech support person to help fully clean your device.
  2. If you gave the fraudsters money, report it to your bank or credit card company to try to recoup the funds.
  3. If your personal information was exposed, file a claim with your identity threat insurance, put a freeze on your credit, and place a fraud alert on your credit reports. These steps will help prevent further damage from being done.

Tech support scams trick over three million people each year. By recognizing the signs, you can protect yourself from these scams.

At Atlantic, we know how to protect your team and your business from threats like these. We offer a stack of security services such as employee awareness training, email security, identity and access management and threat intelligence, to name a few.

Give one of our representatives a call at 855-741-6400 and let’s work together to come up with a solution to keep your team and business protected.

 

 

James LaPenna
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