Beware of Computer Tech Scams

We've noticed a spike in scammers pretending to be support technicians trying to help you repair a fake computer virus. They will tell you your device has a serious issue and try to get you to pay for services you don't need, to fix a problem you don't have.

As technology continues to play an increasingly significant role in our lives, it's critical to be aware of these scams and how to protect yourself. We gathered helpful information on how to spot a scam, what to do if you have a legitimate computer issue, and how to recover if you've fallen victim to a scam.

How to spot and avoid a scam.

Computer technician scams often start with a cold call, pop-up message, or email on your computer telling you to give them a call. Scammers will claim to be from a well-known tech company, stating they've detected an issue on your device.

Do NOT call this number! Reputable companies will NEVER ask you to call them via a pop-up window, and they will never contact you out of the blue to inform you about a computer issue.

Here are some red flags to watch out for that are common in computer tech scams as well as many other online scams:

  • Unsolicited calls or messages. Do not answer the calls, respond to the messages, or click any links in a message you receive.
  • Pressure to act immediately. Stop and think if something seems legitimate before continuing.
  • Request for remote access to your computer. Do not grant them remote access into your computer.
  • Request for usernames, passwords, or other personal information. Real technical support services should never ask you for this type of information.
  • Pressure to enroll in a computer maintenance or warranty program. These are not real services and will not be of any assistance if you have issues with your system.
  • Demands for payment in gift cards or wire transfers. Do not send fraudsters any money.
  • Unfamiliar search result listings. If you are looking for tech support, use a reputable company that you trust. Ask your family and friends for recommendations, and read online reviews before contacting any provider.
  • Pressure to lie to representatives at your bank or credit union. You should never be dishonest with your financial institution about why you are withdrawing or transferring money. Doing so makes it more difficult for your financial institution to protect your account.

How to fix a real computer issue.

If you genuinely encounter computer problems, don't panic. Here's what you can do:

  • Reach out to a trusted tech support service or professional. Many software companies offer support via the phone or online. Stores that sell computer equipment also offer in-person support.
  • Use official contact information from the website where you purchased your computer from or the manufacturer who made it.

Being proactive and seeking help from reputable sources is the best approach you can have.

How to recover after being scammed.

If you have fallen victim to a computer technician scam, take these steps as quickly as possible:

  • If you paid a scammer with a debit, credit, or gift card, contact your financial institution, credit card company, or the company that issued the gift card to let them know about the scam.
  • If you gave a scammer remote access, update your security software, and run a full antivirus scan to remove any malware. You should immediately change your username and password, too.
  • Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at

Recovering from a scam can be challenging, but quick and decisive action can help mitigate the damage.

If you think you've fallen victim to a computer technician scam, let your financial institution know immediately so they can help protect your accounts or minimize the damage.

Stay safe!