Fake Tech Support Scams On The Rise Targeting Remote Workers

Tech support scam victim looking at credit card while sitting at her laptop

Written by: Jay H.

Scammers are increasing using pop-up messages with fake warnings of computer problems to scam remote employees, according to data gathered by Fortinet. Over one in four organizations detected these types of deceptive scare tactics, also known as “scareware”.

How Tech Support Scams Work

The scenarios typically play out like this: first, the user receives a fake pop-up claiming there is an issue with their computer. Then, the popup urges users to call (and pay) for tech support to help resolve the non-existent issue. Typically, the “tech support” team masquerades as a legitimate, trustworthy company, like Microsoft or Apple. This entire scenario is, of course, a scam designed to trick money out of unsuspecting victims.

Scammers may also ask victims to download software or go to a website or for sensitive information, such as government-issued identification numbers, according to Microsoft.

This tactic is nothing new. Scammers have relied on tech support scams for many years, and it has proven to be a lucrative business. Indeed, scammers have conned people out of billions of dollars over the last several years. However, experts have witnessed an unprecedented surge in tech support scams due to the abundance of employees working at home, away from the sophisticated protection of corporate cybersecurity.

Winders Fake Tech Support Scam Alert

Fake tech support scam. Image: BleepingComputer.com

How To Prevent Tech Support Scams

To prevent yourself from falling victim to a tech support scam, use the following tips:

  • Microsoft and similar companies will never send unsolicited emails or make phone calls to request personal or financial information.
  • Error messages from Microsoft or Apple will not include a phone number. If a phone number appears, do not call it.
  • If you need to contact technical support, do so through official channels, i.e. https://www.microsoft.com or https://www.apple.com.
  • Be aware Microsoft and Apple will never ask for payment in the form of gift cards or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
  • Follow proper computer security measures, including installing antivirus, using a firewall, and not clicking on suspicious links.
  • Work alongside a trusted IT partner like Design2Web IT to secure your company’s network from attackers.

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