The next time you get a message offering to fix a supposed problem with your computer, you might keep this in mind: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Because there’s a good chance that call is a tech support scam.
Today, the FTC announced a case against Click4Support, charging the company with fleecing people out of up to thousands of dollars per consumer. Here’s how it worked, according to the FTC: the company used search engine results and pop-up ads, which seemed to come from well-known tech companies, but did not. Those ads drove people to telemarketing centers. If you called, the Click4Support reps would get remote access to your computer to – ahem – identify and resolve issues. Then the reps would make you believe your computer had a virus, spyware, malware, or was otherwise compromised. But the FTC says those claims were false.
Then, according to the FTC, the company sold their tech support “service” to consumers. That meant anything from a one-time “fix” to a long-term services plan, and cost from $69 to thousands of dollars. The FTC estimates these fees added up to more than $17.9 million for Click4Support. And what did consumers get? Big charges for unnecessary so-called repairs – which, in fact, sometimes damaged computers, according to the FTC.
If you see a pop-up, an ad, or get a call for tech support services, here are some ways to keep your money to yourself:
- Don’t give access to your computer to anyone who contacts you.
- Never give your credit card or financial information – or your passwords – to anyone who calls asking for them.
- Hang up on anyone who pressures you to pay for a computer security product or service. If you have concerns about your computer’s security, call a reputable computer security company using a number you know is really theirs. If you need to check a company out, search its name online with words like “review,” “complaint,” or “scam.”