The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently issued an alert warning users to be on the lookout for a new tech-support call scam. Andrew Johnson from the FTC’s Division of Consumer and Business Education identifies a variation on the age-old tech-support scam where someone attempts to access a victim’s computer or sensitive information by offering to fix a computer issue that simply doesn’t exist. The scammer informs you that your email account has been hacked and is sending fraudulent emails. They threaten to take legal action unless you allow them immediate remote access to your computer in order to fix the problem.
If you, the victim, begin asking questions, the scammers pressure you by giving out numbers to actual Federal Trade Commission staff or by directing you to the website for the Global Privacy Enforcement Network, a real organization that assists international efforts on cross-border privacy cooperation.
Johnson recommends these steps to avoid becoming a victim of a tech-support call scam:
- Do not give control of your computer to anyone who makes an unsolicited call offering to fix a computer issue.
- Do not give out sensitive or financial information to anyone who calls you.
- If anyone pressures you, hang up.
- If you have concerns about your computer or a specific piece of software, contact the respective company directly.
Anyone who falls victim to this scheme or other tech-support scams should report the incident directly to the Federal Trade Commission.