As scammers continue to exploit technology to find new victims, many companies are left trying to stay ahead of the latest tricks of the trade. This includes Silicon Valley giants like Google, which recently announced it is cracking down on misleading tech support advertisements. This comes after a report by the Wall Street Journal found fraudulent ads were masquerading as real companies attempting to steal people’s money.
The report says when users searched “Apple tech support” on Google, the sponsored ad would provide a legitimate link to Apple’s website, but it also provided a number that directed them to a phony call center. This call center would then try to convince the caller to grant them access to the computer. Once access was granted, they would claim the computer was full of viruses and would fix it – for a fee, which could be as high as $500.
Google has responded to this report by stating it has limited similar ads while preparing a verification program so that only “legitimate users” can use its program.
Tech support scams were the subject of a recent Better Business Bureau study, which says this scam has exploded in recent years. Microsoft – one of the many major companies whose name is used by thieves to throw off their scent – reports receiving 12,000 complaints worldwide every month. The report also says millennials between the ages of 18 and 34 are most vulnerable.
You can read BBB’s full study on tech support scams HERE. It includes the many different methods scammers use, and how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.