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Fake Tech Support Calls Can Leave You in the Lurch

Consumers have been reporting phone calls from people identifying themselves as computer technicians. The BBB is urging people not to be fooled by these calls as they are not legitimate.

The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) is noting an uptick in reports of the “Tech Support” scam. Consumers have contacted the BBB in recent days reporting phone calls from people identifying themselves as computer technicians and telling potential victims they’re calling because they’ve noted issues with their home – or business – computers. The BBB is urging people not to be fooled by these calls as they are not legitimate and are designed to either solicit credit card numbers or gain remote access to computers, which could lead to personal or financial information being compromised.

“As in most cases, there’s a level of plausibility to this scam,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “Scammers tell consumers they’re calling because of an operating flaw or because they’ve noticed their computers are running slow. And many older computers do run slow. However, consumers need to know these cold calls are bogus. When you have a computer problem, you call the expert. It’s not the other way around.”

In many instances of this scam, people report the callers have foreign accents. They also sometimes identify themselves as being with Microsoft.

According to Microsoft, once these scammers are given access to a computer they can install malicious software, steal personal information, take control of the computer remotely or direct customers to fraudulent websites where they are asked to enter their credit card information.

The BBB offers these tips to avoid the Tech Support scam:

  • Don’t trust cold calls. Remember, computer firms don’t call you about a problem – you call them. Also, never give out your personal information over the phone to someone you don’t know. If a caller claims there’s a problem with your computer, simply hang up.
  • Find a computer repair firm you can trust. If you are having computer problems or technical issues, visit bbb.org to find a BBB Accredited Business you can depend on.
  • Protect your computer – All computers should always have the most recent updates installed for spam filters, anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a secure firewall.

The mission of the Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact the BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Carbon Bigfuut March 01, 2013 at 12:04 AM
There are emails going around, purported from Yahoo, that request your email account and password. Once you give them that information, they use your account to spam everybody in your contacts list and who knows who else.
Dan Hendrickson March 04, 2013 at 03:47 PM
That's correct, Carbon. There are a lot of phishing emails making the rounds. We hear about email accounts getting compromised every day. Thank you for writing!
yomammy March 05, 2013 at 01:11 PM
NO legitimnate company will ever ask for your peronal info/password in a email. PS-- be very wary of and cold calls you get too. They can use the phone to do the same thing. If you do get a call, find out the company they (supposedly) are get their phone number, and hang up. Call the number you know to be correct, (off the back of your card, on your bank slip, etc) to verify their call. I can tell you right now, NEVER give out any passwords- EVER.

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