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Watch out for tech support scams

November 8, 2019 • Education

“This is Microsoft customer support, we have detected a virus in your computer and need you to grant us remote access to your computer so we can stop it.” This is the first line of a fresh wave of tech support scams targeting U.S. consumers. We have even heard from a few of our members that they’ve received a call like this.

Hearing you might have a virus can be scary and the person calling claims they have a solution to your problem.

You are nervous and want an immediate solution.

What you probably don’t realize is that this isn’t just a tech support scam, it is also a very complex financial scam designed to gain access to your financial accounts, and to convince you to send payment to the scammer. If you ever receive a call from someone claiming to be Microsoft or a tech support company, hang up immediately.

Here’s why.

Microsoft NEVER cold calls anyone.

According to Microsoft’s website, they will never cold call you about anything, period. Legitimate tech support companies will update their software via software downloads and other legitimate measures. A cold call from any technology company is a red flag.

Granting remote access to your computer is incredibly unsafe

Remote access allows someone (normally a scammer) to have full access to your computer as if it is their own. They can access passwords you have saved in your internet browser, read any and all files on your computer, and use the computer for themselves. A scammer who has access to your PC is going to try and figure out where you store your money and how they can gain access to it.

The scammer is going to try to extract money from you

Beyond the potential financial loss that comes with exposure to your personal data, eventually, the scammer will try to extract additional funds from you. Let’s say you granted remote access to your PC, the scammer then claims they cleared the virus for you and you need to pay for the service. This will often be in the form of gift cards or a wire transfer, both of which are almost impossible for you to dispute or get your money back. You send money out and there isn’t a way to get it back. Beware of anyone who asks you to pay for something when you aren’t getting anything in return.

Call us before you do anything!

Before you make a financial move that seems off, give us a call at 509.328.2900. Patience is vital in situations like these. Pausing, taking a breath and listening to your gut can help you sidestep a potential financial loss. We are here to help you protect your hard-earned money.

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