One of the many pitfalls of being on the internet is that legitimate people, companies and imposters have your information. These people can gleam your information from: Email addresses (sharing or not used and not deleted), Opting into free information for a products or places, Requesting help from real tech support from Microsoft, Avast, AVG or Apple. No company is immune to the wily ingrates who want to scam some cash from your wallet!
So how does this happen and why would someone go through the trouble?
The why is all about: opportunity, cash, extortion (in some cases), some ingrates want to prove a point and some just do it because it's fun to "screw with a user who doesn't know any better".
The how goes something like this:
Some users receive emails from purported Microsoft, Avast, AVG or Apple Tech support. In these emails the general gist says that your computer is infected and may or may not show files, libraries and root sectors that are infected or corrupted and that your computer will crash if they don’t look at the problem. Another method employed is interrupting your legitimate tech support internet call or submission and snagging all the information you have put on the tech support record.
There have been several reports in Calgary and Area that these fake Microsoft, Avast, AVG and Apple Tech support personnel are calling and, in effect, scarring or haranguing people into giving them money to fix their tech support issues without going into a Geek Squad or an Apple Store.
Some more Interesting tactics that have been employed
- Trick you into installing scam-ware that could capture sensitive data, such as online banking user names and passwords. They might also then charge you to remove this software.
- Convince you to visit legitimate websites like(www.avggtech.com) to download software that will allow them to take control of your computer remotely and adjust settings to leave your computer vulnerable.
- Request credit card information so they can bill you for spurious services.
- Direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information there.
Note: The website in the above paragraph and list is fake and just an example
Neither Microsoft nor their partners make cold-calls to charge you for computer security or software fixes.
What to do if you or someone you know has had this happen
How to protect yourself and others from telephone tech support scams
If someone claiming to be from Microsoft, Avast, AVG or Apple tech support calls you:
- Do not purchase any software or services.
- Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the "service." If there is, hang up.
- Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
- Take the caller's information down and immediately report it to the Calgary Police Service or RCMP
- Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.
What to do if you already gave information to a tech support person from Microsoft, Avast, AVG or Apple?
If you think that you might have downloaded scam-ware from a phone tech support scam website or allowed a fraudster to access your computer, take these steps:
- Change your computer's password, change the password on your main email account, and change the password for any financial accounts, especially your bank and credit card.
- Scan your computer with the Microsoft Safety Scanner to find out if you have viruses or other malicious software installed on your computer.
- Install Microsoft Security Essentials. (Microsoft Security Essentials is a free program.
- If someone calls you to install this product and then charge you for it, this is also a scam.)
Note: Microsoft, Avast, AVG and Apple are examples- Norton, McAfee have also been caught up in this mess
Will Microsoft ever call me?
There are some cases where Microsoft will work with your Internet service provider and call you to fix a legitimate scam-ware computer infection —Example being when a recent cleanup effort begun to clean up botnet takedown actions. These calls will be made by someone with whom you can verify you already are a customer. You will never receive a legitimate call from Microsoft or our partners to charge you for computer fixes.
Contact the CPS or RCMP
- Crimes must be reported by calling the non-emergency line at 403-266-1234 or by visiting a district office.
- RCMP http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/scams-fraudes/rep-sig-eng.htm
- Contact or go into local office and fill out any appropriate paperwork
Contact All your banks and Credit Card issuing companies