Have you received an email offering you a free virus scan? Have you received a phone call warning you that your computer has been infected with a virus or malware? According to the Federal Trade Commission, tech scams have been around for years, but lately scammers have become even more brazen by calling people pretending to be from Microsoft.
According to Microsoft, scammers may claim to be from the Windows Help desk, Windows Service Center, Microsoft Tech Support, Windows Technical Department Support Group or the Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft, 2014). Once these scammers have you on the phone they ask you to sign up for their warranty or computer maintenance program (Homeland Security, 2014). They also might ask you to download and install malware capable of stealing your personal information as well as remotely access the personal information off of your computer. They might even ask you to make changes to your computer settings so that you will no longer be protected.
If you do receive a call from a tech scam artist, the FTC advises you to hang up right away and report the incident to the FTC by going to https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ Be sure to make a note of the number on your caller ID and although scammers spoof real numbers it is always a good idea to make a note of it and type it in Google to see if anyone has complained about it before.
If you did happen to download or install their software visit the following site to download a free version Malwarebytes Anti-Malware which will help you detect and get rid of threats to your computer https://www.malwarebytes.org/
Keep in mind that identity theft can happen anytime you are not practicing safety online. If you feel that you have been the victim of identity theft and you live in Santa Ana or elsewhere, visit the FTC's Identity Theft site to get more information on the many different types of identity theft by visiting http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft
When it comes to identity theft protection, knowledge is your best weapon. Be sure to forward this article to your friends and family to raise awareness and help stop tech scams and identity theft. Be sure to subscribe for the latest update on how you can protect yourself from identity theft.
Homeland Security (2014). Tech support scams OnGaurdOnline.gov Retrieved from http://www.onguardonline.gov/articles/0346-tech-support-scams
Microsoft (2014). Avoid tech support phone scams Microsoft Safety & security center. Retreived from http://www.microsoft.com/security/online-privacy/avoid-phone-scams.aspx