There is scum and then there are tech support scammers.
If you have never had the unfortunate event of being held hostage by a tech support scammer , being lied to, manipulated, and taken for your hard earned money, then you are lucky! BUT, don’t stop reading.
The only way to know if a company is a scam is when you are done talking to them. This saftey net helps them get an edge on you because you believe they are legit and they have your computer and phone tied up so you can’t search reviews about them. They also are very clever about making websites and fake reviews to fool you.
Here’s how a typical tech support scam works. You have a problem with your device and go searching on Google for a solution. You are on what looks to be a manufacturers site or a legitimate tech support site and they reach out to you with a pop-up or a slide-in, asking you if you need help and/or telling you to call a number. You call and reach the scammer. They do not tell you who they are. They want you to believe they are a reputable company. Or they will give you a familiar name like “Geek Squad” – we all know that is Best Buy but who you are talking to is not. It is the scammer.
They ask you what your problem is and reassure you that they can certainly help you with that. Then they ask if you will let them access your computer to fix the problem. You of course agree. When they get on your computer they start showing you things that indicate you have multiple problems. This is a ruse. All computers have these things but they do not affect your computer. They will repeatedly alarm you by these things. You get scared. But no worry, they can help you. They can install some software that you need that will take care of all those things. You don’t know that any of this costs you until the very end. Even the time they spent “fixing” your problem. They do not mention that there are costs involved. They may even offer you different time lengths of the software use, each increment being more expensive. NOTE: One scam does tell you it will cost you. They tell you that if you let them have control of your computer overnight they can fix is for a fraction of what Best Buy would charge you and you would have it the next day whereas Best Buy will have it for days. – Another ploy that makes you say “yes.”
[Read about scammers in India – https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-51753362 ]
When you agree to buy the software they will try to get you to write a check and put it on your scanner so they can get the payment. They will send you a copy of the transaction and have you write that you recieved services and software and agreed to the charge and sign your name. They prefer this kind of transaction because it is more successful for THEM. A credit card charge can be disputed and they know that. If they offer you PayPal and you say you want to use it, when they go to use it, they say it’s not working. So you resort to your credit card.
When you figure out that you have been scammed and you write your negative review about them on the BBB site, they will try to extort your refund by having you get rid of the negative review in order to get your refund. That’s why there are more positive reviews than negative about them besides the fake ones. Think about it – it is proven more people post negatives than positives. You must have knowledge about their tactics before you get taken. They are computer savvy, you are not. They have you over the barrel with that and your desperation to get your problem fixed. They have been doing this stuff for a long time and have all the bases covered that they can.
Another scam will appear on your screen (see above) in an alarming way and tell you not to turn off your computer and to call such and such number immediately. You can turn your computer off. But you must use the on/off button to do it. When it comes back up and it asks you if you want to restore the programs you had up, DO NOT or you will get that back. Your computer is fine. There is nothing wrong with it. It is a fear tactic. If you call the number you will get the tactics mentioned above to scam you.
If you do get scammed. Call your bank immediately. Change your card number. Begin a dispute with your bank in regards to the charge as soon as they say you can. Report your experience with the BBB and with the FTC – Federal Trade Commission. You can also report the scam to the State Attorney of the state that the scammers operate out of. I recommend you make your scam review wherever you can find to post it.
You can tell the scammers that you are going to dispute the charge and do all of the above and they may refund your money. This happened with me – twice. I’m sad to say that I was duped in both of the ways I mentioned. This is why I write this.
I am not mentioning any names of companies here because you just shouldn’t trust ANY online tech support business. Take your computer to someone local that is reliable.