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Support Scam

We’ve talked about support technicians who call you claiming to be from Microsoft (they are not; hang up). But what about tech companies you call for support? Sadly, another possible scam.

For example, you search for “HP support” or “Google help” and find a support phone number. You call, explain your issue, and the person on the other end offers to help by accessing your computer remotely and then charging your credit card for the help.

Did you really call HP or Google? Maybe not. Did you call a reputable third-party support company? Hard to know. Did they fix the problem? I hope so.

But, in the meantime, you have let a stranger into your computer (what did they take out? what did they put in?) and you have relinquished your credit card number. Are you better or worse off than before you called?

Here are some tips for getting help but not getting scammed:

  • Rather than use a search engine to find support, use your search engine to find the company’s official website. (Don’t include the word “support” or “help” in your search). Once at the official website, click your way to the support options. Be patient.
  • If someone offers to access your computer remotely, politely decline. Instead, tell them that you are pretty savvy with the computer (whether you feel that way or not!) and ask them to talk you through the steps. You can always hang up — and be completely detached — if you are not getting the help you need.
  • You might not have to give your credit card because you might not (should not?) have to pay for help from the company that created the product or service.
  • If there is a charge, ask the cost up front. You might even keep an extra low-limit credit card on hand for these instances. If you feel you need to cancel the card, you will not be canceling the card you use every day.
  • If phone support doesn’t work, try taking your machine to a store you trust or hiring someone to help you on-site.

Please don’t get scammed!

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