FTC warns against new twist of tech-support scam

The Federal Trade Commission is warning the public on a new twist to the tech-support scam that tries to gain access to your computer by alleging to fix a computer virus.

scam imageIn this new version, the FTC claims consumers are receiving calls from someone claiming to be from the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. The person on the phone says your email account has been hacked and is sending fraudulent messages.

But it doesn’t stop there. They then say they’ll have to take legal action against you, unless you let them fix the problem right away.

If you get suspicious and start asking questions, the scammers begin to pressure you more. In a surprise twist, the scammer will give the number of real Federal Trade Commission staff – who get surprised from the call.

The scammers have also been known to send people to the actual website for the Global Privacy Enforcement Network. The company, which is real, is an organization that helps governments work together on cross-border privacy cooperation.

Remember these tips if you receive any form of tech-support warning or call:

  • Online searches can be deceiving. Make sure you carefully look at who you’re contacting. Businesses can advertise certain phrases that will cause their company to pop up first on search engines, which can sometimes be confusing. If you want technical support, find the company’s website and look at their contact information. You can also look on your receipt for any listed phone numbers.
  • Be aware of the red flags. Some tech support companies use similar tactics. These include enrolling you in a maintenance or warranty program, asking for credit information to bill you for their services, tricking you into installing malware that could steal sensitive data and directing you to websites in order to obtain your credit card number and other personal information.
  • Be cautious when giving control of your computer to a third party. Allowing a business to take remote control of your computer can open you up to fraud or various malware. Be sure to ask questions and don’t feel pressured into allowing a third party access to your PC.
  • Protect your personal personal information. Think twice before providing your credit card or financial information, especially if you are cold called by a company claiming to be affiliated with an antivirus company.