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How Tech Support Scams Operate

In recent years, computer support scams have become a growing threat. Unfortunately, many community members have fallen victim to these scams in current months, resulting in an increase in the number of local victims. The typical way these scams operate is a pop-up message on a mobile device, tablet, or computer, which tricks unsuspecting victims into losing thousands of dollars.

The scam operates by displaying a pop-up message on your device, claiming that a virus has infected your computer or that your access has been blocked by reputable companies such as Microsoft or Apple. The message urges you to click on a link or call a phone number immediately to regain access to your device or account. However, it is essential to be extremely cautious, as legitimate companies rarely contact customers in this way.

Once you click on the link or call the number you may unknowingly download software that grants the scammers access to your device and personal information. Recently, scammers have been using pop-up displays to encourage customers to call “support” telephone numbers, which are not legitimate support lines but rather an attempt to scam you out of your money.

Intimidation Tactics Used by Scammers

In some cases, scammers use intimidation tactics to keep you withdrawing money from your account and sending it to their team via gift cards, bitcoin, or Western Union. They may also claim that your family, local police, banks, or even the FBI are already aware of the situation, and they may even require you to stay on the phone while you are withdrawing money to “verify” that you have not “tipped off” anyone. In addition, the scammers will state that your bank cannot be trusted or is part of the fraud or scam and therefore, you should not notify your bank. This is categorically false, hang up the phone and dial your bank’s local office immediately.

If the scammer asks you to call the “support” telephone number for fraudulent activity on your account, they may transfer you to another scammer under the guise of being your bank. They will urge you to remove large sums of money and send it to them, promising that you will receive most of it back within a day or two. This, however, is a lie, and you will end up losing all the money you send to the scammers.

It is crucial to be cautious and stay alert to avoid falling victim to these computer support scams. If you believe you have been scammed, report it to the relevant authorities or your bank immediately and take steps to protect your personal information.

Tips to Protect Yourself from Tech Support Scams

Consumers can protect themselves from technology or support scams, here is a list of tips to avoid these scams.

  • If in doubt – call your bank. ALWAYS. Your bank is there to help in all situations, even when the caller on your device tells you that your bank is already aware of the situation, call your bank directly and immediately.
  • Be wary of unsolicited calls or pop-ups. If you receive a call or pop-up claiming to be from a tech-support representative or your bank, be cautious. Legitimate companies rarely contact customers in this way.
  • Don’t give remote access to your computer. Never give remote access to your computer to someone you don’t know and trust. Scammers often use remote access to install malware or steal personal information.
  • Don’t provide personal information. Tech support representatives will never ask for your personal information, such as your social security number or banking information. If someone claiming to be a tech support representative asks for this information, it’s likely a scam.
  • Use reputable tech support services. If you need tech support, use reputable services such as those provided by the manufacturer of your device or a well-known support company. These companies will not call you for an issue with your device.
  • Hang up or close pop-ups. If you suspect a scam, hang up the phone, close the pop-up, or shut down your device. Don’t engage with the scammer, as this may encourage further attempts to scam.

Taking Action If You Fall Victim to a Scam

By following these tips, you can help protect yourself from computer support scams, if you do fall victim to a scam, report it to the appropriate authorities immediately and take steps to protect your personal information.

Whether you’re in Waupun, Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, or anywhere in the Fox Valley region, it’s essential to stay informed and vigilant against potential fraud. Our Fraud Center is a comprehensive resource designed to help you do just that. It provides information on how to report a lost or stolen FVSBank Debit Card, tips on how to prevent fraud, how to get your free annual credit report, and much more. Learn how to carefully manage personal information, protect your bank account from unauthorized activity, and educate yourself about common scams. Remember, your knowledge and awareness are the first line of defense against fraud. Visit our Fraud Center today and let’s work together to keep our communities safe.