Key Takeaways:

  1. Tech support scams are sophisticated frauds leveraging fake technical support claims to swindle money or steal personal information.
  2. Common scam tactics include unexpected phone calls, alarming pop-up ads, or phishing emails, often leading to remote access requests to your computer.
  3. Protect yourself by questioning unsolicited tech support offers, using robust anti-virus software, securing your online sessions, and seeking help directly from verified sources.


n our increasingly connected world, the reliance on technology has never been greater. However, this dependence also opens doors to new forms of deception, like tech support scams. These are not just nuisances; they are serious threats, meticulously designed to exploit trust and extract personal information or financial gain. Understanding these scams, recognizing their signs, and knowing how to protect yourself is crucial.

The Anatomy of Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams are diverse in their approach but unified in their goal: to deceive and defraud. They often begin with an unexpected phone call from a 'technician' claiming to have detected a non-existent problem with your computer. Alternatively, alarming pop-up ads might appear, directing you to fake support numbers, or you might receive phishing emails with fraudulent invoices for antivirus subscriptions. Once contact is established, scammers frequently seek remote access to your computer. This access is a direct pathway to sensitive data and can lead to coaxing victims into paying for nonexistent services.

The Lure and the Trap

The success of these scams hinges on their ability to create a sense of urgency and fear. A common tactic is to claim that your computer is infected with a virus, or at risk of a security breach. This fear-mongering pushes many into hastily granting remote access or providing credit card information. The remote access not only risks personal data but can also install malware that further compromises your computer's security.

How to Spot and Avoid Scams

Awareness is your first line of defense. Be wary of unsolicited calls or messages regarding tech support. Remember, legitimate companies do not contact customers this way for tech support. Additionally, avoid clicking on pop-up ads that claim to offer tech support or display warnings about viruses or security issues. When it comes to email, be cautious of messages that demand immediate action or payment, especially if they come from an unknown source.

Empowerment Through Prevention

Equip your computer with robust anti-virus and anti-malware software. These tools can detect and prevent many common threats. Regular software updates are also crucial; they often include patches for security vulnerabilities. If you're uncertain about a tech support claim, independently contact the customer service of the relevant software or hardware provider.

Remote Access: A Gateway for Scammers

If a tech support person requests remote access to your computer, proceed with extreme caution. Never allow remote access to someone who contacts you unsolicited. If you must share access, ensure it's with a verified technician from a known and trusted company.

Financial Transactions: Proceed with Caution

Be skeptical of any request for credit card information during a tech support call, especially if the call was unsolicited. Always verify the legitimacy of the service provider before making any payment.

Community Vigilance

Tech support scams often target the less tech-savvy and the overly trusting, including older adults. By staying informed and sharing this knowledge, we not only protect ourselves but also help shield our community from these digital predators. That's why taking classes to understand, learn, and be empowered to spot scams and avoid them is important.

The digital world, for all its benefits, also harbors risks like tech support scams. As active agers and members of the GetSetUp community, we must cultivate a mindset of vigilance and informed caution. By understanding the nature of these scams, recognizing their tactics, and taking proactive steps to protect ourselves, we can continue to safely navigate and enjoy the digital landscape. Remember, empowerment in the digital age comes not just from using technology but from understanding and guarding against its potential misuses.

Jan 31, 2024
Security & Fraud