Better Business Bureau (BBB) Serving Central Florida is hearing from local consumers who have received phone calls from individuals claiming to be from “Live Tech Support." Consumers who receive computers, tablets and other tech devices as holiday gifts may be fooled by scammers who call this time of year with alarming security claims.
Often the caller often claims to represent Microsoft® or a “Windows Service” Center. Consumers report that the caller claims “errors” or “warnings” have been discovered on their computer or device.The scammer claims that, if not corrected, the computer will crash or be severely damaged. BBB warns consumers that this is a scam.
BBB President Judy Pepper received one of these calls at 6:00 AM recently. “The scammer had no information about me or my computer. It was a cold call meant to scare the consumer, " said Pepper.The scammer offers to demonstrate the computer problems and fix those problem solver the phone by instructing consumers to follow their commands on the computer. “But in reality, the scammer may install malicious software when they gain remote access to the computer, leaving the computer vulnerable. Or they may request credit card information to bill for computer repair services," Pepper warns.
According to Microsoft’s Safety and Security Center website, “Microsoft does not make unsolicited phone calls to help you fix your computer.”
BBB suggests the following tips for consumers to stay safe online:
- Protect your computer and your personal information from malware with a firewall and an anti-virus program; update those programs regularly.
- Update your operating system and web browser software regularly.
- Protect your passwords. Keep them in a secure place. Create passwords that have at least eight characters and use numbers, symbols and letters. Do not use the same password for each online account that you have.
- Back up important files.
- Be wary of unsolicited calls claiming a security problem or virus with your computer, even if they claim to represent a well-known company such as Microsoft.
- Know who you’re dealing with. Never give personal or financial information to unsolicited callers.
- If you received this call and allowed remote access to your computer, your computer information may be compromised. Immediately run anti-malware and anti-virus programs. Contact a reputable computer repair technician to further examine your computer for issues.
- If you received this call and provided credit card or bank account information, contact your financial institution immediately.
For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, contact Holly Salmons at 407-621-3300 or email@example.com.