Tech Support Scams: How to Spot and Avoid Them

Learn how to navigate the world of tech support scams, protecting yourself and your valuable data from cybercriminals.

A cybercriminal on his phone about to scam you

Don’t Fall Prey to Scammers

Tech support scams have seen a sharp rise in recent times. Cybercriminals pose as tech support representatives from reputable companies such as Microsoft and Apple, manipulating victims into granting them access to their computers, exposing sensitive data, or extorting money outright.

Microsoft’s 2021 Global Tech Scam Survey

To gauge the global magnitude of tech support scams, Microsoft partnered with YouGov to conduct a survey in 16 countries examining the prevalence and impact of these scams on consumers.

Anatomy of tech support scams

Scam exposure had costs beyond the initial loss of money (+/- vs. 2018)

A chart that shows the anatomy of tech support scams.

Base: Total Note: Boxes may not sum to 100% due to rounding.
Q1a. Please indicate whether you have experienced any of the following in the last year or so (January 2020 to present).
Q2. For each of the interactions you experienced, please indicate which actions you took. If you experienced more than one interaction of each type, think of the most recent one you can recall.
Q8. As a result of this most recent interaction, have you lost any money? If so, how much?
Q12. To date, how much money, if any, has it cost you to fix or investigate further as to whether your computer had been compromised after this interaction
Q12A. To date, how much time has it taken to fix or investigate further as to whether your computer had been compromised after this most recent interaction?

Tech Support Scam Survey Highlights

  • 60% of consumers encountered a tech support scam in the past year.
  • 16% of consumers were tricked into engaging with the scam, often leading to substantial financial loss.
  • Millennials (ages 24-37) and Gen Zers (ages 18-23) are most frequently targeted by tech support scams.
  • Among those deceived by a scam, the most common consequences were computer problems (30%), compromised passwords (23%), and fraudulent use of credit/debit/store cards (18%).

Key Elements

  1. Scare Tactics: Scammers manipulate victims by making them believe their computer has a serious problem.
  2. Action: Posing as representatives of renowned tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, or Google, scammers convince victims to download software or grant remote control of their systems.
  3. Objective: They coerce victims to pay for a non-existent problem or extract sensitive personal information.

Tech support scams are becoming all too common, and it’s essential to arm yourself with the knowledge to recognize and avoid them.

IT Specialist pointing at you to illustrate the steps you can take for IT security, and to avoid scams

Tips to Safeguard Against Tech Support Scams

Here are some preventative measures to keep yourself safe from these scams:

  1. Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls or emails. Genuine tech support representatives do not contact you out of the blue. If you receive an unexpected call or email, be wary of giving out any personal information.
  2. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from tech support, ask for their name and the name of the company they represent. Verify their credentials by doing a quick online search. Legitimate companies will not mind you doing this.
  3. Be suspicious of any request for remote access to your computer. Scammers may ask you to install remote access software, which would allow them to control your computer and access your personal information.
  4. Don’t give out any financial information or passwords over the phone. No legitimate tech support representative will ever ask for this information.
  5. Keep your computer and security software up to date. This will help protect you from malware and other types of cyber-attacks.
  6. Educate yourself about the common signs of tech support scams. This will help you recognize when someone is trying to scam you and avoid falling for their tactics.

IT Partners Is Here to Help

If you’re encountering technology challenges, considering an IT overhaul, or simply wanting to better secure your systems, we’re eager to offer our expertise.

We take pride in helping businesses maximize their technology investments and ensure their data is safe. If you’re not yet working with us, we invite you to discover the difference our comprehensive IT support can make for your organization. Remember, your success is our priority, and we’re always available to make it happen.

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