A Suspected-Third Party Technical Support Scam is an act where a third party, often unaffiliated with a software vendor, attempts to take advantage of an unsuspecting user's concerns about malware, virus infections and other online threats to make money. These scammers try to lure their victims using false advertisements to gain control of a user's computer. The user needs to make sure remote computer access is secure.
How do these schemes work?
These scammers usually make unsolicited calls to their targets, claiming they are technical support representatives from well-known software companies, like Microsoft or reputable antivirus companies like Trend Micro, Norton or McAfee.
They may also advertise technical support on the web, offering to fix computer problems or sell software licenses. To deceive users, these representatives will try to convince them that they can resolve issues or malware problems and often request remote access to their computer. Once granted with remote access, they can now install their own malware or perform other malicious activities to hijack the computer and demand payment for their so-called "services".
How do I respond to these scams?
While there are legitimate third-party technical support organizations that provide PC services like malware remediation and cleanup, it is crucial to research them first before allowing remote computer access.
A legitimate service always identifies themselves as third-party technical support provider and verify any claims of official representation or partnership with a vendor directly with the vendor themselves.
Here are some tips to protect yourself:
- Never share credit card or financial information to anyone unless you are 100% confident you are working with your software provider. Scammers may use phone directories to know your personal information.
- If you receive a random phone call or see pop-up notifications/advertisements (see picture below) and you are unsure if it is from a trusted source, like Trend Micro, hang up and validate with Trend Micro Technical Support.
- When searching online for technical support or a company’s contact information, ensure you are visiting the official website and not a third-party domain. Look for the company's domain, such as trendmicro.com or helpcenter.trendmicro.com, in the website URL.
- Avoid granting control of your computer to suspicious third-party support individuals or organizations, especially for remote computer access.
What should I do if I have been scammed?
- Uninstall or delete programs or applications installed by the suspicious third-party support.
- If you have backups or snapshot images, like Windows System Restore, try reverting to a previous restore point or backup taken before the questionable call or session.
- Change any passwords you provided immediately on all sites or areas you may have used them.
- If you provided your credit card information, contact your issuing bank to request a fraud investigation and/or reverse the charges.
- If you still have issues on your computer related to malware, seek further assistance from our secure remote access Technical Support.
How can I make sure it's safe to let a support person control my computer?
- Check if the remote access tool they use is well-known and trusted.
- Look it up online to see if it's safe and has good reviews.
- Only download from official sources to avoid harmful software.
- Only install remote access tools when working with trusted IT professionals or known software providers.
- Remove the remote access tool after the session or when you no longer need it to keep your computer safe.
Ways to prevent unauthorized access to your computer
- Strengthen Security Measures.
- Enable User Account Control (UAC) on your computer to prevent unauthorized changes.
- Click the Start button and type User Account Control in the search box.
- Click Change User Account Control settings.
- Choose the Always notify option to receive notifications when programs try to install software or make changes to your computer, keeping it safer.
I have Trend Micro Security installed
Follow this guide to protect yourself from scams with Trend Micro.