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March 21, 2018
We have become aware of a Technical Support Scam that is currently underway in the Cincinnati area. This alert is to help you recognize the scam and provide tips on what to do if you think you have been a victim.
How the Scam is Carried Out
This scam can be carried out in a number of ways:
- Pop-Up Window on Your PC – A window pops up with a fake system error to call Microsoft or Best Buy’s Geek Squad for technical support. You may also be advised to click a link for details. Both the link and the number you call will be to fraudulent contacts, even though they may appear to be legitimate.
- Call to Your Home or Mobile Phone – A representative claiming to be from Microsoft or Best Buy’s Geek Squad calls you claiming that they have uncovered an issue with your computer.
Purpose of the Scam
As with all scams, the purpose is to steal your personal information or your money. Fraudsters will ask you to pay a one-time or ongoing fee to fix the problem. They will ask for your debit card, credit card or checking account information.
If You Receive a Call or a Pop-Up Error on Your Computer
- Do not call the number on the error window or click the link for details. Shut your computer down. Restart it and run a scan of your computer using a trusted security software (Norton Antivirus, WebRoot Secure Anywhere, BitDefender Antivirus, etc.). If you’re unsure of what to do, take your computer to a reputable PC repair service for professional scanning and evaluation. It’s a small price to pay to safeguard your personal and account information.
- If you receive an unsolicited phone call, do not provide any credit card, debit card or account information. Hang up, shut down your computer and follow the instructions noted above.
Please Note: Microsoft and Best Buy (Geek Squad) have publicly stated that they do not make unsolicited phone calls to fix personal computers and request payment to do so.
If You Have Already Engaged with a Scammer and Paid for Support
- Do a full scan of your computer using one of the trusted antivirus programs noted above to remove the threat.
- Change all of your online passwords immediately.
- Call your credit union/bank if you have provided credit card, debit card or checking account information.
- Apply all browser security updates as soon as they are available.
Watch These Videos to Protect Yourself
To learn more, visit Microsoft’s Technical Support Scam page. Because this is a prevalent scam, Microsoft has dedicated a page to this matter. In the meantime, watch the two videos below produced by Microsoft to help you recognize and stay safe from these scams.
Staying Safe from Web Browsing (Pop-Up Error) Scams
Staying Safe from Call Scams