Tech support scam
(also technical support scam)
Tech support scam definition
A tech support scam is a fraud in which scammers pose as legitimate technical support representatives, typically from well-known technology companies. They contact individuals via phone, email, or pop-up ads. The scammers use scare tactics to convince people that their computer has a virus or other security issue and offer to fix the problem for a fee. In reality, the scammers may install malware on the victim’s computer, steal personal and financial information, or charge exorbitant fees for unnecessary services.
Examples of tech support scams
- Pop-up ads. Scammers may create pop-up ads that appear to be from legitimate companies, such as Microsoft or Apple, warning the user that their computer is infected with a virus or malware. The ad may provide a phone number for the user to call to get help. This is how criminals are luring the victim into a trap.
- Phishing emails. Scammers may send emails that appear to be from trustworthy companies, asking the user to click on a link or download a file to fix a supposed problem with their computer. The link or file may contain malware, which can infect the user’s computer.
- Fake support websites. Criminals may create fake websites that look like real tech support websites. Such websites may offer tech support services for a fee, but the scammers will either provide poor or unnecessary services or steal the user’s personal and financial information.
- Cold calling. Scammers may cold call individuals and claim to be from a well-known tech company, informing them that their computer has a virus or other security issue. They will try to convince the user to give them remote access to their computer, which they can use to install malware or steal personal information.
- Remote access scams. Criminals may contact victims and claim to be from a tech company, informing them that their computer has been hacked. They will then ask for remote access to the user’s computer and use it to install malware or steal personal information.