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How to Spot, Avoid and Report Tech Support ScamsTech support scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with yourcomputer, like a virus. They want you to pay for tech support services youdon’t need, to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. They often ask you to pay bywiring money, putting money on a gift card, prepaid card or cash reload card,or using a money transfer app because they know those types of payments can behard to reverse.## Spotting and Avoiding Tech Support ScamsTech support scammers use many different tactics to trick people. Spottingthese tactics will help you avoid falling for the scam.### Phone CallsTech support scammers may call and pretend to be a computer technician from awell-known company. They say they’ve found a problem with your computer. Theyoften ask you to give them remote access to your computer and then pretend torun a diagnostic test. Then they try to make you pay to fix a problem thatdoesn’t exist. Listen to an FTC undercover call with a tech support scammer.If you get a phone call you didn’t expect from someone who says there’s aproblem with your computer, hang up.### Pop-up WarningsTech support scammers may try to lure you with a pop-up window that appears onyour computer screen. It might look like an error message from your operatingsystem or antivirus software, and it might use logos from trusted companies orwebsites. The message in the window warns of a security issue on your computerand tells you to call a phone number to get help.If you get this kind of pop-up window on your computer, don’t call the number.Real security warnings and messages will never ask you to call a phone number.###### Online Ads and Listings in Search Results PagesTech support scammers try to get their websites to show up in online searchresults for tech support. Or they might run their own ads online. The scammersare hoping you’ll call the phone number to get help.If you’re looking for tech support, go to a company you know and trust.> 2 Things to Know to Avoid a Tech Support Scam>> 1. Legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email or text> message to tell you there’s a problem with your computer.>> 2. Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to> call a phone number.## What to Do If You Think There’s a Problem With Your ComputerIf you think there may be a problem with your computer, update your computer’ssecurity software and run a scan.If you need help fixing a problem, go to someone you know and trust. Manysoftware companies offer support online or by phone. Stores that sell computerequipment also offer technical support in person.## What to Do If You Were ScammedIf you paid a tech support scammer with a credit or debit card, you may beable to stop the transaction. Contact your credit card company or bank rightaway. Tell them what happened and ask if they can reverse the charges.If you paid a tech support scammer with a gift card, contact the company thatissued the card right away. Tell them you paid a scammer with the gift cardand ask if they can refund your money.If you gave a scammer remote access to your computer, update your computer’ssecurity software. Then run a scan and delete anything it identifies as aproblem.If you gave your user name and password to a tech support scammer, change yourpassword right away. If you use the same password for other accounts or sites,change it there, too. Create a new password that is strong.> Avoid Tech Support Refund Scams>> If someone calls to offer you a refund for tech support services you paid> for, it’s likely a fake refund scam. How does the scam work? The caller will> ask if you were happy with the services you got. If you say, “No,” they’ll> offer you a refund. In another variation, the caller says the company is> giving out refunds because it’s going out of business. No matter their> story, they’re not giving refunds. They’re trying to steal more of your> money. Don’t give them your bank account, credit card or other payment> information.## Reporting Tech Support ScamsIf a tech support scammer contacts you, report it to the Federal TradeCommission. When you report a scam, the FTC can use the information to buildcases against scammers. Are you skeptical that reporting scams will make adifference? Watch this video to learn how your story could help the FTC stopscammers.Tech support scams are common. In 2019, the FTC received more than 100,000reports about these scams from people like you. Add your voice. Report techsupport scams to the FTC.Now that you know how to recognize a tech support scam, share what you learnedwith someone you know. You might help them avoid a tech support scam.