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Tech support scam makes resurgence in New England

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Tech Support Scam Making a Resurgence in New England

SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — Linda Marcott doesn’t own a computer, so she knew something was up when she received a call about her Microsoft account.

“The biggest thing that upset me is that he said they were going to draft my bank $299 if I didn’t give them the account number so that I could cancel my account, which doesn’t even exist,” she recalled.

Marcott did not hand over any information or money, but others are falling for various versions of this technical support scam.

According to the Better Business Bureau’s Paula Fleming, there has been an increase in the number of complaints about technical support scams reported in New England over the past 30 days.

Scammers are targeting PC and Mac users and according to Fleming, it’s happening over the phone and through emails and computer pop-ups.

“Laptops, Chrome devices, they’re actually shutting down and a pop-up appears that says to contact a phone number,” Fleming explained. 

If you call the number, the scammer will try to convince you something is wrong with your computer and he or she will offer to fix it for a fee.

“Not only do they want your money from you but they’re also, in some cases, asking for access to your device, and you never want to allow that to happen,” Fleming said.

Once they have access to your device, scammers can get your personal information, such as usernames and passwords.

“It can cause a lot of havoc,” Fleming added.

Steps for victims of tech support scams:

  • Contact bank/credit card company
  • Remove malware that may have been installed
  • Change passwords

If you get a pop-up to call a number to fix a virus on your computer – ignore it, and if a caller says your computer has a problem, hang up.

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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