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Recent computer tech scams targeting elderly residents have been reported in Massachusetts. Scammers pose as computer tech support representatives in order to gain access to a computer or request large sums of money as compensation for the services. Usually the callers pretend to be from Microsoft, but not always.

The idea of a broken or infected computer may cause you to panic, but you should never let it cause you to seek immediate repair options without first considering whether or not they are coming from legitimate tech representatives.

Know the red flags

This is how the recent tech support scams have worked:

  1. A sudden virus or technical problem appears on your computer or you receive an unsolicited call from tech support saying they’ve been notified of a virus on your computer.
  2. A number for “Customer Service” may appear on the computer screen with instructions to call to receive technical support. The scammer may also call you directly, posing as a tech support representative.
  3. The scammer may then give instructions over the phone about how to fix the computer.
  4. He or she will then inform you of a fee for the service.
  5. The scammer may request credit card or bank account information, or ask for remote access to the computer. DO NOT give this information.

According to Microsoft, a real tech representative will never:

  • Send unsolicited email messages
  • Make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information
  • Make unsolicited phone calls to offer to fix your computer
  • Attach software updates to security communications or emails

Spot the Scam

If someone calls you claiming to be from your computer’s tech support, remember the following tips:

  • It’s highly unlikely the call is legit. Most businesses do not call their customers to report problems. Consumers contact the business when there is an issue;
  • Never provide your credit card or other financial information to someone who calls you claiming to be from tech support;
  • Do not purchase software or services from him or her–antivirus software is available most places computers are sold and sometimes online through verified websites;
  • Do not give anyone remote access to your computer unless you have verified that he or she is a legitimate representative of a computer support team;
  • Always take the caller’s information down in case you need to report it to authorities.

If you receive unsolicited phone calls or emails from individuals claiming to be from a Tech support, report it to our Office, the police  You may also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

 

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation is committed to protecting consumers through consumer advocacy and education.

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