Software refund switcheroo – new twist on the tech support scam

scam-alert-pic-150x150Has anyone else gotten one of those fake tech support calls? I’ve had at least a couple of those. Someone with a strong accent calls and pretends to work for “Windows” or Microsoft Tech Support or whatever, and tries to get you to give them remote access to your computer so they can fix a problem.

I knew enough about computers to smell a rat and hung up on them, but I know some computer users have fallen for it.

If you let them do it, they’ll point out some harmless files, try to scare you into thinking they are dangerous, then try to get you to give banking details to sell you a fix. Instead they use your bank information to rip you off. Usually they cause some kind of damage to your computer in the process.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is reporting a new twist on that scam. Callers with what have been described as strong Indian accents will ask if you are happy with recently purchased software and if not, they will offer a refund. Or they will offer to give a refund because the company is supposedly going out of business.

If you play along, they’ll ask you to give them remote access to your computer so they can help you complete a form you need to get your refund.

IC3 reports that victims were told the fastest way to get a refund was to use the card they purchased the software with. Then the caller helped them open an account with a wire transfer company. Instead of sending a refund, however, the scammer withdrew funds and wired them to India. IC3 doesn’t say what the scammers did to the victims’ computers when they had remote access, but chances are it wasn’t good.

Bottom line, don’t ever let someone you don’t know have remote access to your computer. If you need help with your computer and you’re not tech savvy, find a friend or relative who is or pay a professional. Someone who just calls out of the blue is looking to help themselves, not you, and Microsoft doesn’t make house calls.