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The Messenger

Technical Support Scams

Technical Support Scams are a multi-million-dollar industry and show no signs of going away. Each day innocent people are tricked into spending hundreds / thousands of dollars on non-existent computer problems by these scammers. 

​The scams are often initiated by a Phone call, or via websites where popup or flashing adverts, or in some cases a recorded voice, claims your computer is infected and encourages you to click here or call a number to get urgent assistance.

Scams are Big Business

These Scams operate globally and are difficult to trace.

According to statistics from the ACCC SCAMWATCH - in 2017, in Australia alone, there were some 8,650 reports of Remote Access Scams with more than $2m AUD lost to these scammers; and the real number will be far greater as many of these crimes go unreported.

Anatomy of a Tech Support Scam

Technical Support scams are often initiated by cold-calling with the scammer claiming to be from a legitimate business, such as Telstra or Microsoft, and indicating that there is a major problem with your computer or internet connection. The goal of the scammer is for you to give them remote access to your computer.

Once they are on your computer the scammer uses smoke and mirror techniques to convince you that you have a major problem that requires immediate attention. They will then offer to fix the non-existent problem for a fee, which may include giving you 12 months of "FREE" support.

The reality is, once they have access to your computer you don't know what they're doing in the background. They can deploy malware, install a backdoor into your system enabling them to monitor and steal confidential information, or lock down your computer completely.

Stay Safe: Watch Out For Scammers

It is important to note that no legitimate business will call you out-of-the-blue to offer support. If you didn't initiate the call it is almost certainly a Scam.

If the phone number popped up unexpectedly on your computer whilst you're browsing the web, then it will most definitely be a scam. If it is a one-off incident it could just be a dodgy site, however if you're seeing this type of thing regularly, chances are you have picked up a Malware infection. If so, and if you're in the Hornsby shire – Call Excalibur IT Solutions on 9456 7932 (or contact us) and we will give your system a clean. If you're outside the area, contact your local Computer Technician for support.

You've Been Scammed...Now What?

  • Contact your bank / financial institution and or credit card company, notify them of the incident, and request that they reverse the charges; and monitor your accounts for future unauthorized transactions.
  • If you left your computer unattended or gave the scammer any personal information such as date of birth, Medicare, Social Security Number, full address, name and maiden name, you should contact the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network ACORN and report possible identity theft, and also report the Scam to Scamwatch
  • From another secure computer / tablet, change your passwords including your: Windows, email, online-banking, and any other online accounts that may contain sensitive personal data such as social media (Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) accounts.
  • If you're running a business, the compromised computer may contain confidential customer / supplier data so read the Notifiable Data Breaches Scheme for important information on notifying your customers / suppliers
  • Contact Excalibur IT Solutions, or your local Technician. Who can give your computer a thorough clean to eliminate any viruses, spyware or malware and ensure the scammers have not opened a backdoor into your computer; and can make further recommendations to protect your online security moving forward. 

Nobody wants to admit to being scammed, but reporting these instances quickly helps law-enforcement to track down, and potentially prosecute, the individuals.

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