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Successfully navigating the digital world involves more than learning about the latest AI advancements. It requires a solid firewall of knowledge against cyber thieves and their various tech support scams. While most predators will try to gain backdoor entry into your e-devices using phishing techniques, some will take a more direct approach. Recognizing their sneaky tactics can help you shut them down before they have a chance to infect your computer, tablet, or cell phone.

What Is a Tech Support Scam?

Tech support scams are deployed in at least two ways: Some appear as phony computer virus alerts; others take the form of fake antivirus software renewal notices. The former aims to gain access to your e-device by forcing you to call a phone number or communicate via a chatbot. This version is often hard to ignore since the pop-up alerts make it nearly impossible to close the messaging window and use the device as intended.

The latter arrives via email or text, notifying you of a payment issue. Scammers falsely claim that your antivirus software is about to expire due to a failed payment attempt. Once communication begins, victims have reported that they were pressured into immediately providing a new payment method or risk the device being overtaken by hackers.

In both cases, scammers pose as representatives of major tech firms like Apple, Microsoft, and Norton.

How to Protect Yourself Against Tech Support Scams

Fake virus pop-up notifications result from the user unknowingly clicking on a hyperlink that downloads malware and runs in the device’s background. If the scammers can get you to respond to the notice, they are one step closer to convincing you that the only way to resolve the issue is by giving them access to your device. If you do, they will be able to steal confidential information stored on your device.

Instead, you can protect yourself when you:

  • Resist the urge to dial the phone number or communicate with the chatbot that appears in the message.
  • Close the infected device immediately. Take it to a brick-and-mortar computer repair company to have the malware removed.

Notifications of failed payment processing attempts aren’t limited to text and email messages. Crooks use live and prerecorded robocalls to deceive unsuspecting consumers. They often use fear tactics during the exchange to get you to act quickly. For example, they might state that they are aware of cyber thieves trying to hack into your device at this very moment.

Shield your sensitive data from scammers when you:

  • End the communication if the person asks for payment without giving you a chance to verify their claims.
  • Remember that major tech companies do not contact users out of the blue. Don’t be fooled by caller IDs, which fraudsters can manipulate to reflect the name of trusted businesses.
  • Remain cautious of free software offers. These are later followed by requests to access your device to resolve a fake issue.

Ward off digital threats and keep your information secure by staying alert to the latest scams. Visit FVSBank’s fraud page to discover more ways to protect your finances and personal information.