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Email and Other Tech Support Scams

Beware of fake invoices and other tech support scams

Tech support scams have been growing in popularity over the past few months.  Beware of unsolicited phone calls, emails, or pop-up messages. Please note that major tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Google, etc… will not call you. These scams involve more than attempting to steal a couple hundred dollars from you.

Scammers attempt to catch their potential victims off guard. They will trick or “social engineer” them into allowing them to remotely access their computer, log into their bank account, fake that they “accidentally” gave their prey an over refund amount, and guilt them into buying gift cards and reading the numbers to them (or they’ll be fired). Some will encrypt or steal their victim’s files, passwords, etc…, or leave behind remote access trojans (rats). Others will add a Windows password and lock them out of their PCs, and if they are really mean, delete their files, emails, and contacts in their address book.

Is it a legitimate or fake email?

Most of these scams are coming via email. Many will look like a legitimate invoice, with the impersonated company’s actual logo and graphics. Companies commonly impersonated include Norton, McAfee, Adobe, PayPal and Best Buy’s Geek Squad. To spot a scam look for spelling and grammatical errors. Also look closely at the sender’s email address. Many are from a “” account. Just because it says the product name, such as “Norton@LifeLockServices”, in the sender’s section of the email does not mean that it is coming from that company. It is a scam. If you think you have been wrongfully charged, contact your bank or credit card company directly, or sign into your account, but do not use the link that they provided.

Always use a credit card online

A simple reminder, if you make any payments online, always use a credit card. It has more recourse than a debit card, meaning the credit card company can refund your money and charge back the scammers. Too many charge backs and complaints will hopefully cause the credit companies to either cancel or raise the fees they charge the fraudsters, thereby reducing the scammer’s profits.

Do not click on attachments or links

Do not open any attachments or click on any links or pop-up messages as they may be malicious software (malware) such as a virus, or it is just more made-up data to support their bogus claims. Also, do not call the phone number. They will lie about who they are.  Finally, do not respond or click on the “Unsubscribe” link as that alerts the scammer that you viewed the email. It also could be malicious link.

I am a victim. What do I do?

If you are a victim of a tech support scam, contact Esser Consulting, LLC as soon as possible for remediation and recovery help and advice. Your computer might be infected. You might become a victim of identity theft. Review your online accounts and change your passwords, and contact your financial institutions.

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Curt Esser

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