Don’t fall for tech support scams


By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer

Tech support scammers are trying to get you to pay them to fix a problem that does not exist.
Tech support scammers are trying to get you to pay them to fix a problem that does not exist.

REGION – There are many innocent victims of tech support scams, especially during the hectic holiday season when people are often stressed and distracted. Older people in particular are often exploited by these criminals. For this age group, the loss can be devastating. 

How it happens

These scams often involve a very savvy individual or group of individuals who prey on unsuspecting victims who are simply using their computer. A common tech support scam is when you see a pop-up window on your screen warning you that you have a virus that needs to be remedied immediately. You might also get a call from a toll-free number where the individual on the phone might try to gain access to your computer remotely. He or she might also try to sell you some type of a repair service subscription or offer a fake promotion. They simply want your credit card information as well as personal information. They are trying to get you to pay them to fix a problem that does not exist. Don’t fall for this fraud!

According to the FBI Internet Crime Report, written by Mallory Sofastaii in April 2022, “losses from tech support scams more than doubled in one year. Americans reported losing more than $347 million dollars in 2021.”


Avoid becoming a victim

It is important to remember that if you see a security warning on your computer screen that asks you to click on a link or call a given phone number, don’t do it.  A link like that will likely install malware, which allows these crooks to see exactly what is on your computer. You should simply update your computer security software and tell someone you trust, immediately. 

If there is no family member or friend nearby, you can always go to your nearest Apple store for their expert assistance if you use Apple products. Scott Radcliffe, a member of Apple Support referenced some of their tips. “If you believe that your Apple ID has been compromised, or if you might have entered your password or other personal information on a scam website, change your Apple ID password immediately,” he emphasized. “Never share personal information like credit card numbers, unless you can verify the recipient is who they claim to be.”

“Protect your Apple ID by using a two-factor authentication. Always keep your contact information secure and up to date and never share your Apple ID password or verification codes with anyone,” said Radcliffe. “Apple never asks for this information to provide support.” 

Legitimate companies will not contact you via text message, e-mail or telephone. If you ever get a call from a recognizable company like Apple, Microsoft, or Google, it is likely a scam with someone simply pretending to be a representative. These phone numbers are not typically traceable and are changed and disconnected often. However, be mindful and ask for a contact number that you can include when you report it to the Federal Trade Commission at

You should regularly change your passwords, and use strong ones, for your accounts to keep them secure. Don’t use the same password for all of your accounts, either. You can maintain a special notebook for all accounts and passwords or use a password manager app as they can become quite confusing to remember. 


If you get scammed

Even if you follow these tips, it is still possible to get scammed. It happens to many of us, even when we are forewarned and trying to be careful. The scammers are well versed in their goal and sometimes their tactics use fear, even threatening to delete files or otherwise damage your device. It is important to note that if this does happen to you, there are things you can do to help rectify the situation. 

“I knew I clicked on something that wasn’t right and immediately panicked,” said Carol Stamm of Northborough. “A ‘pop up’ came up quickly via our security and asked if I wanted to continue. I clicked ‘no.’ Thank goodness, a problem was averted. Since then, I have become very vigilant with this type of scam. It is so easy to get caught up without paying attention.” 

 If you have been scammed, which can happen very quickly, and you paid with your credit card, simply contact your credit card company immediately and request that they stop the transaction. If a gift card was used, you can contact the company that issued this card and explain that you just got scammed and ask them for a refund. The Federal Trade Commission plays a big part in trying to eliminate scams like this that happen all too often.



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