Fake support numbers are fooling frustrated customers.
Trying to reach Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon or another big company for help with your account, the BBB says you're going to want to watch out for this crafty con.
Scammers are posting fake customer support numbers online to fool callers into purchasing unrelated computer software.
So here's how the scam works:
You're having trouble with your account, so you search online for the customer support phone number.
A quick search turns up what appears to be a legitimate toll-free number.
You dial it, a "representative" answers, then declares your account has been hacked.
Then they say they can provide proof, but first, they need remote access to your computer.
Granting a scammer access though can open you up to the risk of identity theft.
Scam artists can install malware that records passwords or hunts for personal information, such as bank account numbers.
"They're doing what a lot of us do, just Google the phone number for the customer support team, but what's happening is scam artists are actually posing as these companies and they're providing these fake numbers," said Felicia Thompson with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau.
According to BBB's scam tracker reports, this scam appears to be a pretext for selling computer security software.
The expensive software – victims report paying between $200 and $900 - will do nothing to fix your account, which was never hacked in the first place.
Here are some tips on how to protect yourself from this support scam:
- Don't ever give a stranger remote access: Granting someone remote access to your computer permits them to install malware and access your files. Don't do it!
- Be careful when searching for support phone numbers: Rather than doing an online search for a support number, use the contact information on the business's website (double check the URL) or your bill.
Many support scams use similar techniques, see bbb.Org/techsupportscam for more advice.
To learn more about scams, go to BBB scam tips at bbb.org/scamtips. If you've been targeted by this scam, help others avoid the same problem by reporting your experience on the BBB scam tracker.
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