July 12, 2023
Here’s how the story unfolded.
The business owner’s name is Olivia and one night she was browsing online when a pop-up window suddenly appeared on her screen. The message claimed that her computer was infected with a dangerous virus and urged her to call a toll-free number for immediate assistance. Her computer had been freezing up sometimes and was running slow, so it made sense to her. In a panic, she dialed the number without a second thought, hoping to resolve the issue swiftly.
On the other end of the line, a smooth-talking individual introduced themselves as a tech support representative from a reputable computer company. They assured Olivia that they could diagnose and fix her computer remotely. Guided by the scammer's instructions, Olivia granted access to her computer, unaware that she was opening the door to a fraudulent scheme.
While pretending to troubleshoot the issue, the scammer skillfully created an illusion of urgency and panic. They pointed out harmless files, claiming they were dangerous viruses, and fabricated alarming scenarios to persuade Olivia to purchase their expensive software and services. Fearing the worst for her business, Olivia reluctantly provided her credit card information, believing she was protecting her computer and valuable data.
Days turned into weeks, and Olivia began to suspect that something was amiss. She noticed no improvement in her computer's performance, despite the large fees she had paid. Growing increasingly suspicious, she decided to seek a second opinion and called us at Tigris Cybersecurity.
To her horror, our technician confirmed her worst fears: she had fallen victim to a tech support scam. The "repairs" made by the scammer had been superficial, mere smoke and mirrors designed to extract money from unsuspecting victims. Olivia's trust had been misplaced, and she felt a mix of anger, embarrassment, and a determination to expose the scam.
Empowered by her experience, Olivia decided it was important to raise awareness about tech support scams to her business community. She shared her story with local businesses, organized educational sessions, and collaborated with law enforcement agencies.
Olivia’s story serves as a reminder that genuine tech support never initiates contact through unsolicited pop-ups.
Unsolicited Contact: If you receive a random phone call, email, or pop-up message claiming to be from a tech support company without any prior request for assistance, it is a potential red flag. Legitimate tech support providers typically do not proactively contact individuals unless they have initiated the request themselves.
High-Pressure Tactics: Scammers often use high-pressure tactics to create a sense of urgency and panic. They may claim that your computer is infected with a virus or facing a critical issue that needs immediate attention. Be cautious of individuals who rush you into taking immediate action or demand payment on the spot.
Requesting Remote Access: Tech support scammers commonly request remote access to your computer. They use this access to manipulate your system, install malicious software, or extract sensitive information. Never grant remote access to someone you don't trust or haven't verified as a legitimate technician.
Payment Requests: Be cautious if the tech support representative insists on immediate payment for services or software, especially if they require payment through unconventional methods such as wire transfers or gift cards. Legitimate companies typically have established payment processes and provide clear billing information.
Unsolicited Installation of Software: If the representative insists on installing software on your computer that you didn't request or don't recognize, it could be a sign of a scam. Scammers may use this as a tactic to gain control over your system or install malware.
Impersonation of Well-Known Companies: Scammers often impersonate reputable tech support companies to gain your trust. They may use logos, email addresses, or website designs that resemble those of legitimate companies. Double-check the contact details and independently verify the legitimacy of the company before providing any personal or financial information.
Remember, it's always safer to initiate contact with tech support yourself using verified contact information from reputable sources. If you encounter any of these red flags, it's best to terminate the communication and seek assistance from trusted sources or local tech support professionals.
Reach out to us at Tigris Cybersecurity if you think you've been a victim of a Tech Support Scam.