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That’s getting huge amounts of dough, without ever having to really lift a finger or working hard to achieve what is desired. The get rich quick mentality is pursued, often times, at the expense of other people. These scammers do their best to hit and prey on anyone by utilizing various methods in order to get all your money and steal your information, which they can use to scam you even more.
These scammers are like pickpockets who use the sleight of hand to distract you from their real agenda. Their hands are so fast that you won’t even realize that you have already been robbed until much later, when it is time to take out our wallet to pay for something.
Modern scammers are exactly like that. Sometimes, you won’t realize you have been scammed until after you have given all your information. Fake technical support scammers expertly use curiosity, fear, and false-sense of urgency to lure their victims into giving and divulging everything.
Talk About It
Fake IT support scams can be a drain of time, energy, and resources for any victim who succumbs to the schemes. It is so easy for scammers to hide their tracks. They resort to stolen identification or fake identification. Coupled with using the internet where anyone can be anonymous, a falsified email address, and disposable phone numbers, scamming can really be quite convenient and untraceable.
On top of that, victims of scams often keep quiet about what has happened to them. After all, no one wants to relieve their moment of stupidity. If you have fallen for a tech support scam, please know there is no shame in that. In fact, you are not alone. You’re sharing the same boat with thousands of others who were all too trusting.
In fact, one of the best ways to fight scammers is to talk about the experience. Share what happened to your close friends and family. Making what has been done to you a public thing is fighting fire with fire. The more people know about these scammers’ tricks, the less chance they have of replicating their attack.
Prevention through Education is Crucial
Strongly related to information is the vital step called prevention. User education is the leading preventive measure which is another method to address these scams.
Because prevention is better than any ounce of cure! There’s no need for anyone to suffer from scams if all of know the steps in order to prevent it. Being aware of the possible scams through education is the first step to fighting them.
Preventing all these scammers from entering our sanctuary save on time, money, and effort. Always be mindful and alert because these scammers are doing their absolute best to get to you. If something smells “Phishey” then it might really be fishy. It could be a phishing message that’s intent on getting all your personal data. With identity theft so rampant these days, you cannot simply believe any message that you see. Scrutiny is of utmost importance.
Sometimes, there’s a message via the sms route attempting to pilfer you. What’s worse is when they actually have the audacity to call you to pretending to be a tech support technician, who claims that your device is sending off errors and reporting that there is a virus that needs to be checked out right away. These support staff call to say they want to help your sluggish device by selling you an application to make it more efficient.
Acting like they want to help you fix your tech issues makes you put your guard down. Before you know it, the concern propels you to actually relax and be caught unaware. And just like a whirlwind, the scammers depart, leaving you scratching your head muttering what the hell happened to me.
This fake IT support scam is known to have many other aliases—the team viewer scam, the Ammy scam, the fake Microsoft support, the tech support scam, etc.
Once again, remember that just about anyone can fall for this kind of trick. With scammers constantly working on beefing up their game, being on high alter is paramount. Educating yourselves on the pitfalls and perils of always being online is your responsibility. You have certainly seen warnings in the past, so if you don’t heed those warnings, it will come with grave consequences.
To avoid scams like these, it is essential to know these basic scam deflection guidelines. Realize that Microsoft or any other major company for that matter will not take the initiative to call you to help you fix a problem. These premium companies are not mind readers that know exactly what is going on in your life. Do yourself and everyone else a huge favor: report this tech support scam on the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
On top of those, be aware that caller identification is not always reliable, making it so much easier to scam people. Caller IDs can be easily manipulated with a software called Voice Over IP, making them look totally legit.
Utilizing faux caller ID information in order to be more legitimate looking is the trend. Research the phone number to see if there are existing reports. Being vigilant and proactive are vital to keeping the scammers at bay. Remember, the Ammy scam is merely a portal for the bad guys to hack your entire system. Giving them information can pave for the road of access to other sensitive material. What, then, must be done?
Call Your Bank
Do not waste a single precious minute. The moment you realize you’ve been scammed, call your bank and give them a heads up. What’s even better is if you can drive to the bank so you can speak directly to a member of staff who will surely know what to do. This is not an assumption but a fact. Banking with a larger and well-known financial institution does have it perks. A bank, after all, would have already experienced this type of abhorrent scam. They can give you insight about how to go on with securing your bank information and your identity.
Putting a security alert on all your accounts is one of the best possible solutions. Waiting to call your bank can lead to further damage. If you wait too long because you’re embarrassed or afraid, chances are the bank may no longer be able to help you with bogus charges. Moreover, you can ask them to issue you a new a bankcard for your peace of mind.
Noteworthy: if you’re going to call, always use the official number at the back of your existing card or on the latest paper statement issued to you. Never ever call the number which is on the email as it can be part of the phishing scam to get to you.
Inform the Credit Card Company.
After talking to your primary bank, inform all the credit card companies where you have an existing card with of what transpired. It may sound like a bit of a hassle, but doing this extra step is for added protection. Making them aware that the scam took place allows them to put in a fraud alert so that any suspicious purchases can get flagged. Informing your credit card companies about what happened will allow them to issue a fraud alert for your account so they can also anticipate and keep a watchful eye on any pending activities.
Quarantine your PC
After the incident, it is imperative that your laptop or desktop receives immediate isolation. Even if it seems like an overly paranoid reaction, do take out the Ethernet cable off the computer’s network port. Turn off the wireless connection for a period of time. Doing so ensures that your computer doesn’t receive further damage or attacks. It also means that the scammer will have a hard time reconnecting or tapping into your PC and network.
If by any chance you installed something they asked you to do, then extra vigilance is crucial. If you installed a remote admin tool as stated upon their directives, there is a high probability that they are already snooping around your personal computer and even your private files. Perish the thought! Even after the tech scam support phone call is over, they are certainly actively violating and stealing from you.
After pulling out the computer from your network, back up your important data. Figuratively wipe its disks, then reload your computer for a brand new start. If you are not so tech savvy, and you’re uncomfortable doing this on your own, consider taking your personal computer or laptop to a reliable and respectable computer repair technician.
File a Police Report
This step is often all too forgotten. Victims are afraid of being laughed at in the real world over something that happened in the cyberspace. However, reporting the crime to the police is not a silly notion at all. If you have been robbed in person, you’ll notify the police. Why not for this, too? The manner in which you were robbed and violated is immaterial. The point is it did happen. Even if the scammer utilized the internet to steal from you, the fact that it happened in cyberspace doesn’t make it a figment of your imagination or any less of a crime for that matter.
Do this immediately especially if money has actually been taken away from your accounts. It is highly likely that the bank and credit agency would want a copy of the police blotter in order to process any of the requests you make. That being said, this kind of crime is not 911 worthy. Calling the fraud department or the cyber crime related division of any police station is already more than enough.
Make a Fraud Victim Statement
Depending on the extent of the damage of the scammers, it might be prudent to file a fraudulent alert with the country’s three major credit bureaus. Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian can easily add a note or flag to your credit file to show that you have been a recent victim of a fraudulent scam. The purpose of this flag is for any lending facility or business checking your report will call at least one of the two phone numbers you gave when you lodged the fraud alert.
This note doesn’t guarantee that a lender will not grant the thief credit, but having this red flag will at least somehow make people wonder and hopefully ask the right questions. They will hopefully call so that you can inform them yourself that no credit inquiry has been authorized on your behalf and that the person trying to get their new service is nothing but a farce.
Security Freeze on Credit Reports
Strongly related to the aforementioned category is the security freeze on all your credit reports. Being a victim of identity theft means you really have to strongly defend your reputation. The scamming thieves may have taken away your information but don’t allow them to take away anything else. If you believe that this cyber thieves have stolen way too much information, and that they can easily obtain new credit cards or loans in your good name, then, it is important that you start keeping track of your credit. Contact the three credit bureaus to request copies of your credit report and standing.
After asking for the copies of the report, request the three credit bureaus to place the security freeze on your reports. This security freeze literally freezes the thieves from what they are trying to do. If these people with the evil intention of getting a loan or opening an account in your name, then the security freeze will stop them on their tracks. While on freeze mode, the agency of credit reporting will ask for a PIN or password before they provide your credit score report. Since the errant thief doesn’t know this, chances of them getting access to a good loan on your good standing and name diminishes. If this is a choice you’re considering, keep in mind that once you start, you will need to contact the three major credit bureaus to put in a freeze request for every single one them.
Update Malware Protection Software
The thing about opening scam related email or installing a remote administration tool, the cyber criminals who have sent them could have embedded links to malware within the message. This could seriously affect and damage your computer. What’s scary is a super smart function, which could be capturing your every move, then passing it forward again to the scammer. Keep your malware or antivirus working and keep them updated. It needs to be this way because technology is always evolving. Do a full scan of your computer with your latest anti-virus software. For your peace of mind, a second opinion software can also run another full scan just to err on the safe side.
Monitor All your Accounts
Depending on what information has been stolen from you, you may consider signing up for an identity theft protection service. For a reasonable fee, they actively perform credit monitoring on your behalf. Doing so, you can be alerted once the cyber scammers try to use your personal and financial information. No one can actually stop identity theft from happening, just as no one can actually stop any crime from happening. However, these monitoring services are there to help ease the pain. They can track the pieces of your financial life that have been violated and flag any fraudulent activity for a monthly or annual fee. Paying for peace of mind may not be such a bad thing.
Alert Family and Friends
A lot of people have been affected by this type of tech support scam. However, not many people are aware that they exist. The reason is people who have been victimized keep silent about it due to embarrassment. Tell them your story. Share informative articles to keep them on their toes. Being complacent is one of the things that put most people at risk. Educating people mitigates the risk of this kind of scam. After all, knowledge is power.
Work on Risk Reduction
It is important to reduce your risk, especially after falling victim to something like this. From now on, be mindful on giving your personal information. Unless it is a company or person you can trust, then withhold information until you do research or verify about the one asking. Keep in mind that purchasing items have to be done in a secure site. Aim for reduction in credit card offers, and more importantly, opt out of pre-approved offers so that credit agencies will no longer share your information with credit card companies.
Moreover, request to be removed from mailing lists, minimize junk mail, and stop telemarketers from calling you by signing up for the federal government’s Do Not Call Registry. This can be conveniently done via phone or online and it keeps your phone number off anyone’s list for five years. Most of all, practice safe computing by being proactive in the installation of VPNs, ad blockers, secure browsers, firewalls, and antivirus software on your PC. These can help you every time you browse online.
The fake IT support scam is a particularly destructive con that preys on the trusting and the less technically savvy. It has amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars from unassuming victims, and it will continue to do so for as long as people remain ill informed.
This scam is perpetuated because it is a lucrative venture that requires no effort for the criminal minds that are behind the scheming.
A despicable attack like this deserves to be exposed and nipped in the bud. It may seem like nothing for those who perpetuate the attack, but for the victims, the impact is devastating.
Practice vigilance online because the moment you let your guard down, that’s when terrible things can happen.