How To Avoid Fake Technical Support Scams!

Unfortunately with technology and the expanse of the internet ever advancing, we are subject to an ever-increasing number of technical support scams. It is so important to be aware of who you are speaking to on the phone, as well as online. After all, faceless contact should require a great deal of trust, especially if you are handing over personal information.

This fact is made all the more prominent with online companies such as Google and Facebook announcing how many suspicious advertiser accounts they recently took down: 4,000! These sites then linked through to over 2,400 technical support websites.

We must all make a concerted effort to crack down on such scams and malicious advertising; scams which leave companies, as well as customers, open to identify theft, amongst a great number of other unwelcome things, which don’t even bear thinking about.

New efforts to reduce technical support scams

We fully give our support to the new website TrustInAds.org, which has been formed by a number of the world’s greatest technical companies, such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Microsoft and AOL. The aim is to encourage people to use the site and report any bad ads that they come across, hopefully with the end result being that we can help cut the scammers’ legs right out from under them.

We want people to be aware of how to avoid these scams in the first place though, so what should you be looking out for?

1. Online support asking you to download a file

We’ve heard many stories of unfortunate cases where people have called a technical support number, advertised on a trusted site such as Google, AOL or Facebook, believing they are contacting a reputable company.

Unfortunately, the number is often a scam, albeit sometimes a very sophisticated scam and users end up giving up personal information, access to their computer or downloading a “support” file. As soon as any of the above occurs, it opens the user up to all kinds of risk: theft of financial information, logins and passwords and, of course, any other personal data and information stored on your computer.

2. Just because they rank highly or have a “Sponsored Listing” does not make them legitimate

The rise in fake technical support companies is not just frustrating and risky for the customer; it also causes a lot of bother for the advertising platforms, as well as all the legitimate advertisers and support companies.

Unfortunately we are all striving to reach the dizzy heights of top ten in search and as such it is so competitive that many companies utilise the purchasing of keyword ads and sponsored listings. The only problem is, scammers do this too and can end up appearing under search terms that users trust. We need to make sure users are aware of this fact and ever the more wary before clicking on something simply because it “looks right”.

Avoid being scammed:

We’ve come up with a few key tips which we believe are paramount to helping you avoid such malicious technical support scams. Please make sure you have a good read and keep these tips in mind whenever you’re looking for support online and most certainly before giving out any personal information, accepting remote help on your computer or downloading any “help” files:

- Inaccuracies: A definite sign something isn’t right is when you spot poor spelling or grammar in the advertisement’s content. It is best to steer clear of any site or link where the copy is inaccurate. Whether it’s fake or not, at the very least it is unprofessional and sloppy so you should go elsewhere anyway.

- Being asked for passwords or memorable data: Professional and reputable companies will never ask for an entire password, keycode or memorable data. As soon as you are asked for this, hang up or close the window!

- Pop ups from “recognised” companies: Unless you are actually on the official website of the manufacturer, you should avoid trusting any pop ups, even if they appear to look and sound like the real thing.

- Install anti-virus software and make sure you run it regularly, especially after suspecting any foul play.

- Go directly to the manufacturer: The first step for you should always be to contact the company where your computer or other hardware is from. Should you not want to pay for their support service or not be happy with what they’ve offered you, the next step should be to contact another known company. For instance a company your colleagues or friends have used in the past and recommend.

Should you wish to employ remote support, only do so after researching the company online first and never EVER download anything or give someone access to your computer without taking appropriate steps first, i.e. encryption, anti-virus, company research, thoroughly questioning the company’s reasons for offering specific “solutions”.

If in doubt, call us at Quintech, we would be more than happy to advise and note Quintech have been providing support solutions for over 23 years, have a look at the support pages for the different solutions we offer.