Overseas Based Tech Support is Ripe with scammers
While researching this issue, it became very apparent that actual support companies based overseas also are the ones reportedly running the tech support scams. Not all overseas support companies do this, but many do. Because of this, I would caution that relying on overseas-based support services for technology support is very risky and may lead to identity theft or unauthorized access to your PC and possibly your financials. The good news is that overall, as more people become aware of scammers, fewer people are getting scammed. With the onset of US-based companies sending their tech support overseas, the scamming quickly increased. Tech support scams are still a multi-billion dollar problem that is not going anywhere soon. The scammers are well organized and even share information about people they scam with each other and call lists of new contacts.
Popups, emails, and random phone calls
Many tech support scams originate using a popup on a website to tell the unsuspecting user that their PC is infected and they need to call support. Often the popup window resists being closed and may require terminating the browser’s processes in the task manager or rebooting the PC. Once a person calls, they are likely told they have reached Microsoft support, and the scammer needs to access the PC to remove the infection. To be clear, there is no infection, but the user will be charged to remove the nonexistent infection from the PC. Some scammers, once connected, may also encrypt the victim’s PC and ransom the password to reverse the encryption and gain access to their data. Other scammers send emails notifying of a license or software issue with a number for the victim to call to resolve the issue. Scammers may already have your contact information and may contact you directly, claiming that they have been alerted about a problem with your PC. Scammers tend to focus on victims 65 or older. Many scammers are aware that credit card and debit card transactions are trackable and monitored by financial institutions. Scammers often want victims to purchase gift cards, send money using Venmo, or provide access directly to the victim’s bank account to perform a wire transfer.
Become aware of the issue
The best defense against these scams is educating yourself on how scammers operate and what methods they are using on their victims. Microsft released are port mid last year you can view here that brakes down how and who were scammed. If that report is a little dry for you, I would suggest heading over to youtube, where you can keep up on scammers and their techniques, as well as see some YouTubers turn the tables on the scammers. I will include links at the bottom of this paragraph for some educational and entertaining content on scammers. Additionally, the FTC or Federal Trade Commission has an article on how to avoid a scam that can help prevent you from becoming a victim; they also include a link to report a possible scam attempt.
Some of these videos may contain profane language am may not be safe for work.
Mitigate your risk
If you do have to interact with overseas support, be vigilant! Please don’t give them passwords or access to your financial information. If you are not sure if the company is legitimate, perform an internet search of the phone number to see what search results you get. If you are still unsure, don’t give them access to your PC, insist that they walk you through the issue over the phone, and don’t download anything they ask you to. Call a local tech support company instead to look at the issue. Losing money or your identity can be quite a pain, and you may never get your money back, and it can take months or even years to resolve your identity and credit issues. Be wary if you recently contacted a company such as Microsoft or Dell for support and then suddenly receive a call from someone claiming to be tech support explaining your issue is not fixed, or there was an issue with your payment.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article; please share this article with your family and friends on social media to help spread awareness and inform others about the dangers of working with overseas support.
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