Protect Yourself From Online Scams: Tech Support Edition

Posted on March 3, 2014

You’ve just won 1 million dollars from an overseas prince! Just send $5,000 to help process the payment and your inheritance will arrive shortly! 

Online ScamsWe’ve all heard of scams like this before. Give a little money to get a huge return.

Scam artists are constantly one step ahead and always look for a new way to con information and money out of unsuspecting people.

In honor of National Consumer Protection Week, I wanted to highlight a scam that has been attempted on me. While I did end up hanging up in this case, I know many people have fallen victim to brilliant schemes like these.

The Scam

A newer method of phishing information from people involves scammers calling people claiming to be technical support from a large company like Microsoft. They tell the potential victim that a virus has been detected on the computer and they would like to gain remote access in order to run a series of diagnostics to fix the situation.

They are armed with limited amounts of your personal information that they’ve drawn from public directories. They use this material to create a reasonable amount of trust with you on the other line.

According to, once they’ve convinced you, they may:

  • Ask you to give them remote access to your computer and then make changes to your settings that could leave your computer vulnerable
  • Try to enroll you in a worthless computer maintenance or warranty program
  • Ask for credit card information so they can bill you for phony services — or services you could get elsewhere for free
  • Trick you into installing malware that could steal sensitive data, like user names and passwords
  • Direct you to websites and ask you to enter your credit card number and other personal information

Protect Yourself

Dillegence is key in keeping you and your information safe from online scams. Always verify the third-party that you are giving your information to and if you feel that something is off, then it probably is.


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /