Disclaimer: Marquee IT is an independent third party, IT service provider for software related problems. Unless stated, we are not affiliated with any company, organization, manufacturer, ISP or email provider. Our services have helped thousands of people with their computer problems. These services may also be available by the brand owner.
Spotting and avoiding a computer tech scam
Spotting Computer Tech Scams
Almost any person in our country, no matter their age or background has a computer in the home, and at some point those computers will need some type of service. Many computer owners however, are not as computer literate as they need to be to resolve these complex issues as they come up.
Who can fix it?
There are plenty of brick and mortar stores that you can take your computer into that can do the job. However, this can be somewhat of a hassle to pack everything up and even more of a problem to have to drop it off for a few days or longer if they're backed up. They can also be a bit pricey to cover all of their overhead and they will almost always try to up-sale you on a new computer all together.
The good news is that in today's technologically advanced world, it is now possible to provide these repair services remotely to you without you ever having to take your computer anywhere. Within a few minutes and a little guidance from the voice on the other end of the line these companies can have full access to your computer and start the repairs without you ever leaving your home. The problem is computer tech support scams are a huge problem in today's high tech America and unlike the brick and mortar store you can walk into and talk to the person that you are giving access to your computer, you've never met this person and you know nothing about them.
How do you know who you can trust?
Well, it may be much, much easier and less scary than you think. Obviously nothing is fool proof and those out to scam you are always looking for new creative ways to get your money, but going over a few simple questions can help you determine whether or not you're about to fall victim to a scam or if you're talking to a company that truly does want to help you and earn your business.
Did you receive an alert or a "popup" on your computer?
This is one of the more common ways that an innocent computer user can fall victim to a remote tech support scam, but also one of the easiest to spot and avoid. You'll be innocently browsing your computer when you click on a link and all of a sudden something pops up on your screen and everything seems to be frozen. Often times accompanied by siren type alert and a voice saying something to the effect of "Your computer has been infected. Please call ...." often times indicating you will be calling Microsoft or another reputable company to fix the problem for you. DON'T EVER CALL THESE NUMBERS!! Microsoft is never going to lock you out of your computer and force you to call them. This is a guaranteed scam. You can safely close down your internet browser and just reopen it. Where most customers will get into trouble is when they download a file the popup says they need, or they call the phone number listed. That will be the beginning of many headaches and problems for you. DON'T CALL and DON'T DOWNLOAD anything from these popups.
If you receive a phone call who is it they say they are calling from?
Nobody is going to call you and tell you they are trying to scam you. If it was that easy we could all avoid it. What they will do however is tell you they are with a company that you are familiar with to gain your trust. The most popular ones used are Microsoft and Apple. If you ever get a call from someone telling you they are calling you from Microsoft and you have a problem with your computer you can hang up right away. MICROSOFT DOES NOT CALL CUSTOMERS out of the blue to tell them there is something wrong with their computer. This goes for Apple as well. It does not happen. If you get a call from someone claiming to be Microsoft or Apple wanting to fix your computer remotely you can safely hang up on them and ignore it.
Who contacted who?
This is just as important as the first two question you need to ask yourself. A very quick way to tell if you are talking to a legitimate company or one just looking to take advantage of you is to simply answer the question of did you contact them first or did they contact you? Like most reputable businesses, legitimate remote tech support companies will not call you out of the blue or make a popup appear on your computer and tell you that you need their service. If you weren't having a problem with your computer before, but you get a random phone call or popup claiming you now have a problem, you can hang up on them or close out your internet and safely ignore the phone and popups. As long as you don't speak with them, download anything or give them access to your computer you will be fine. Again, most of these companies will try to tell you they are with Microsoft or maybe Apple to try to gain your trust. Ignore them and hang up the phone!
If after asking yourself these two questions you are still unsure about who you are talking to don't be afraid to do some basic research on the company. Check their better business bureau standing, verify their physical address and phone number etc. Check with the state they claim to be registered in and make sure they are licensed to do business there etc. Having your computer repaired remotely isn't something you need to be afraid of. Often times it can save you time and money if you find the right company to work with. We believe here at Marquee IT we can be that company for you. Please give us the opportunity to earn your business and you won't be disappointed!