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  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , tech support scam,   

    Your Microsoft license is not expiring 

    Your Microsoft license is not expiring

    Last week, we discussed how Microsoft’s Windows 7 operating system was no longer going to be supported with security updates. While not upgrading would leave your computer vulnerable to attacks ultimately, it’s not the end of the world. Unless you didn’t back up your files. Not surprisingly, scammers are using such an innocuous opportunity to try to trick you into paying them for services that don’t exist, giving up control of your computer, or giving them personal or financial information. They’re also doing this by disguising themselves as Microsoft employees to try to gain your trust.

    This scam is a variation of the tech support scam but they’re using the concern about Windows 7 no longer being supported to scare you into believing whatever they have to say. Scammers will call people at random posing as Microsoft employees telling them that their Microsoft license is about to expire. They’ll offer several solutions on how to fix this non-existent problem. They’ll either ask you to pay them to ‘renew’ the license or they’ll ask you for remote access of your computer. The remote access will give them entry into your computer that will allow them to either go through your personal files or possibly install ransomware or malware.

    Once you purchase a computer that comes with Windows or have purchased a copy of Windows from either Microsoft or an authorized vendor, you’ve already paid for the license. There is no annual license renewal or any additional fees like that. That’s not even taking into account that Microsoft never calls any of its users. If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Facebook or any other large company to tell you that something is wrong with your device, hang up. They are never who they say they are and do not have your best interest in mind.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 13, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , tech support scam   

    Scams that use the Amazon name 

    Scams that use the Amazon name

    Over the weekend, a number of reports came out independent from each other that detailed separate scams that are using Amazon’s name and logo to fool victims into handing over personal or financial information.

    In the first scam, scammers are sending out emails with the official Amazon logo attached to them. The email thanks you for purchasing an Amazon e-gift card. The email then says that if you didn’t purchase the e-gift card to click a link to cancel the purchase or receive a refund. This is a phishing attack that will lead you to a website that is not Amazon where the scammers will try to get you to input personal or financial information in order to get your ‘refund’. In one instance, a victim was asked to buy Amazon gift cards from a local retailer to fix the problem. If you ever receive an email like this you should never click on any links. Instead, go straight to the retailer’s website to check your account.

    The second scam was reported as happening in the Pacific Northwest. In it, the scammers are sending consumers letters stating that their Amazon purchase didn’t go through. What’s troubling about this scam is that the scammers have gained access to information that allows them to know what you purchased from Amazon and how much you paid for it. The letter instructs you to go to a website in order to but again, asks you to input personal and financial information. It’s unknown how scammers have gotten the purchase information so if you receive one of these letters, it’s recommended that you change the password to your Amazon account.

    In the last scam, if you’re thinking about signing up for Amazon Prime or you have a technical issue with Prime, be careful of what links you click on after a web search. In some cases, if you do a web search for ‘Amazon Prime’ or ‘Amazon Prime customer support’ you may be presented with ads that take you to third-party sites that are definitely nor Amazon. In other cases, these ads will list a phony customer service number for Amazon Prime. Security researchers have stated that these ads will take you to sites that will try to get you to pay for services that would be free if performed by amazon. This is also known as the tech support scam. Again, if you have customer service needs that Amazon needs to address, go to Amazon.com in order to find the correct information.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , tech support scam   

    Ok Google (or Alexa), download some malware 

    Ok Google (or Alexa), download some malware

    The Better Business Bureau is warning about a scam that inevitably increases this time of year. If you received a new device like a Google Home or Amazon Echo for the holidays, you may want to be careful about how you activate the device. A number of scams are designed around these devices that can either cost you money or hijack your device. If you’re having trouble with the initial setup of the device, be careful how you proceed when it comes to contacting customer service. Some tech support avenues could lead you to have a device of disappointment.

    When activating your new device, you want to try to avoid phony customer service numbers. Many times, the first number you see on a web search for customer service may not be the official one. Instead, you could be talking with some unauthorized third-party service that may try to charge you for activating your device. Most devices should be activated for free once the purchase price for the device has been paid. Or, these scammers could be trying to get you to install malware on your new device that could lead to an invasion of your privacy.

    It doesn’t take much for a scammer to set themselves up on a web search page by purchasing a sponsored link. This could easily list them above the legitimate company on search results. The BBB recommends keeping a lookout for things like if the web address is misspelled or the website itself uses poor grammar. These are likely indicators that the information they’re providing you is false. You should also avoid apps that claim to be activation apps for your new device as these have also been used in the past to try to obtain personal information.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , tech support scam   

    Getting scammed after being scammed 

    Getting scammed after being scammed

    If you’ve ever been scammed you may have reported the scam to your local police, the Better Business Bureau, or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). While you should report scams to the FTC, if you have, you may want to be on the lookout for a scam that comes from reporting the scam. According to reports, people who report scams to the FTC are sometimes targeted by a new set of scammers. These scammers claim to be a company that can help you get your money back from the original scammers. While a service like this sounds great, sadly, it’s just another scam.

    Residents of the Denver area have been reporting they’ve been getting calls from people posing as the Denver Police Department. The scammers will tell their victims that they’ve been the victim of identity theft then ask for their banking information. Once the information was given the scammers would just hang up. If police discover that you’ve been an actual victim of identity theft, they will send an officer to your home rather than call you. And as always, you should never give your financial information over the phone to any stranger, even if they claim to be the police.

    In Greenville, South Carolina, authorities there have warned elderly residents to be aware of various scams that have affected the area. At least two elderly residents were taken for a combined total of $80,000. One of the victims gave control of her computer remotely to a scammer who claimed to be helping process an unexpected refund. This led to the scammer advising the victim to buy a number of gift cards in order to receive the phony refund. Control of your computer should never be given over to strangers even with the promise of money as this could lead to ransomware or malware being placed on your computer or your personal information being stolen. And as always, no legitimate service, business, or agency will request payment by gift cards.

    Please always keep in mind just because these scams aren’t happening in your area doesn’t mean they’re not on their way.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , tech support scam,   

    Is there really something wrong with your Amazon Prime account? 

    Is there really something wrong with your Amazon Prime account?

    Today, we’re bringing you scams that are happening locally in communities around the country. As we always say, if it’s happening there it could also be happening in your community.

    First up is a report out of Westchester County, New York where police there are warning residents about calls claiming to be from Amazon. Residents have complained about receiving calls from someone claiming that their Amazon Prime accounts have been compromised and need to be renewed. Victims of the scam are then asked for their financial information to resolve the non-existent issue. In one case, a victim was asked to remotely give control of their computer to the scammers so they could ‘improve the security settings.’ So this scam appears to be a hybrid of phishing and the tech support scam.

    A student at Texas A&M recently found herself scammed out of $10,000 in a Social Security scam. She received a phone call with the caller claiming that her Social Security information was misused with some drug issues in El Paso. They threatened her with arrest or she could pay them $10,000. The student was then instructed to transfer money to the scammers by way of BitCoin and gift cards. No government agency will call you on the phone like this and they especially wouldn’t ask for payment in BitCoin and gift cards. If you suspect there may actually be an issue with your Social Security, call the Social Security Administration yourself at their official customer service number of 1 (800) 772-1213.

    Lastly, if you get an unsolicited phone call from someone promising you a great cable deal, it’s more than likely a scam. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of these fraudulent phone calls. The caller will promise you a discounted deal on your cable bill if you pay a certain number of months upfront. As with many scams, they ask you to make the payment by using pre-paid debit cards. Like gift cards, one the scammers are able to get the money off of the pre-paid debit card there’s no way of getting it back.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , tech support scam, virtual assistant,   

    Beware the activation fee scam for new devices 

    Beware the activation fee scam for new devices

    In the past, we’ve discussed a couple of scams that could affect new owners of such devices like the Amazon Echo or the Google Home. The first was using unofficial apps to help you get your device activated. The second was using your virtual assistant to look up phone numbers for you which could result in being connected to scammers posing as services you may not use that often. Now, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) is reporting a new scam that could affect new owners of these devices and this scam could cost users money.

    This new scam kind of resembles the unofficial app scam. The difference with this scam is with fake phone numbers posing as technical support for many of these devices. If someone were to do a web search looking for a technical support number for one of these devices the number that appears may not be that of the company who made the device. Instead, it may belong to scammers who are going to try to get you to pay an ‘activation fee’ while posing as companies like Amazon and Google. This scam not only applies to devices like this but to many other services as well such as anti-virus and printer support just to name a few.

    If you have technical trouble setting up any kind of device or service it is always recommended that you go to the manufacturer’s or distributor’s website to locate the proper customer service number. Scammers will use search engine optimization (SEO) tricks to try to get their phony number listed first on search engines even above those of the legitimate manufacturer’s. Also beware of any technical support that tries to get you to pay for their service using gift cards, prepaid debit cars, or money transfers. That is guaranteed to be part of a scam as once the money is paid, it will be next to impossible to recover from a scam artist.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 23, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Ariful Haque, Romana Leyva, , tech support scam   

    Multi-million dollar tech support scam busted 

    Multi-million dollar tech support scam busted

    The tech support scam usually takes one of two forms. The first is you’ll receive a call from someone claiming to be from a company like Apple or Microsoft telling you that your computer has been compromised. The other form is when you see a pop-up or some other warning on your computer telling you that your computer has been infected and you should call a number the pop-up provides to correct the issue. In both cases, the scammers are trying to get you to pay for services that you don’t actually need. This can cost victims anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

    This past week the Department of Justice announced that they had indicted two of these scammers. Romana Leyva, 35, and Ariful Haque, 33, were arrested for their roles in a tech support scam ring that raked in $10 million from 7,500 victims fro across the country. The pair are accused of allegedly setting up fraudulent corporate entities to receive money from the victims who thought they were receiving legitimate tech support services. In this instance, the fraud consisted of pop-ups telling computer users that their computers had been infected with a virus and if they closed the pop-up it could result in catastrophic data loss. The ring would also attempt to make victims of the initial scam pay for phony services again by claiming that the first fictitious company went out of business and for continued ‘service’ they would need to pay again.

    If you receive one of these calls you should immediately hang up as no real company is going to call you to tell you that you have a virus. Also, if you encounter one of these pop-ups it’s more than likely part of a scam and you should never call the number listed. After seeing one of these pop-ups you should also run an anti-malware program like Malwarebytes instead. These scams also tend to target the elderly so if you have an older relative who may not be that computer savvy, please share this story with them.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Jim Browning, , tech support scam   

    Inside the Tech Support Scam! 

    Inside the Tech Support Scam!

    If you’re not familiar with tech support scam, it’s an insidious scheme designed to hijack your computer for one reason or another. Groups of scammers will robocall people claiming to be from Microsoft. They’ll tell their victims that they have a virus on their computer and will ask for remote access to the victim’s computer in order to fix the problem. What they’re really doing is either injecting malware into the victim’s computer or stealing personal information from the victim. However, one man has made it his mission to scam the scammers.

    A man who goes by the pseudonym of ‘Jim Browning’ is skilled enough that he’s able to take control of the scammers’ computer when they try to take control of his. In one particular instance that Browning has posted to YouTube, he was able to not only spy on the scam call center but he was also able to change the scammers’ outgoing robocall message to warn people that the call is a scam. Browning recently told CBS This Morning that the reason he’s doing this is to make more people aware of the scam.

    Normally, it’s encouraged by security experts that if you receive one of these phone calls the best thing to do is hang up. Also if you see a pop up on your computer claiming that you have a virus be suspicious and try running an anti-malware program like Malwarebytes instead. While Mr. Browning’s methods may be unorthodox sometimes it takes a new way of thinking to combat the con men.

     
  • Geebo 9:05 am on August 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , tech support scam   

    New wrinkle on old tech support scam appearing 

    New wrinkle on old tech support scam appearing

    If you’re not familiar with the tech support scam, here’s how it works. You’re on your computer, browsing the web when all of a sudden a pop-up appears. It says something to the effect of you have a virus and you need to call a Microsoft technician right away. It then provides you with a toll-free number. When you call the number, someone says they’ll remove the virus remotely for a nominal fee. It’s a complete scam as Microsoft never asks you to call them for anything.

    Now, there’s been a new aspect added to this scam. According to reports coming out of Virginia, the scammers are asking for a new form of payment, then asking for additional payment on top of it. First the scammers ask you to buy a Steam gift card. Steam is a PC gaming platform and games can be bought with the gift cards. They’ll ask you for the Steam card’s serial number as the form of payment. Then they’ll say the number on the Steam card is invalid and they’ll give you a refund, but you need to then buy an iTunes gift card and give them that serial number. If you’ve made it that far, they’ll gain remote access of your computer and search for any vital information they can capitalize on. They’ll then sell the serial numbers to the two gift cards you purchased on the black market. So at this point, not only are you out of whatever money you spent on the cards, but you could have also exposed your financial information.

    Gift cards have become the new currency among scammers as of late. They’re easy to get and are virtually untraceable once the serial numbers are taken and sold. If you see any of these pop-ups that say you have a virus, never call the number on the pop-up. You should be able to restart your computer and you’ll be fine. More than likely you don’t have a virus in the first place, but just to make sure run a scan with your antivirus software.

     
  • Geebo 10:37 am on February 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , tech support scam   

    Google ad for Amazon was actually link to scam site 

    Google ad for Amazon was actually link to scam site

    Many tech news sites are reporting that there was a false ad for Amazon this past week when you searched for the retail giant on Google. The ad, that would come first in the search results, did not take you to Amazon, but instead took to you to a site that tried to perpetrate a tech support scam.

    If you went to the site on a Windows computer the site would emulate the infamous blue screen of death and advise you to call a tech support number. If you were in an Apple computer you’d receive a warning that your machine had been infected by ransomware and again be given a number to call. As long as you didn’t call the number your machine would be relatively ok.

    This scam has been around for about as long as the internet has. Fictitious sites would inundate you with pop ups telling you that your computer had been infected with some kind of malware and if you call an ‘official’ tech support number your computer will be fixed. When you call the number usually a ‘technician’ would gain access to your computer remotely with your permission and would use that opportunity to root around your computer for any information worth stealing.

    The problem with this particular scam is that it was perpetrated through Google, possibly the most perceived legitimate site on the internet. Google says that the problem has fixed but still leaves users concerned since this fake ad made it through their screening purpose. In the future users may want to not click on ads on Google’s search page and instead click on the listings instead, at least for now.

     
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