When someone needs help and gets an assist from someone else, we applaud the effort and have our faith restored in humanity a bit. It is only natural to want to give props to someone who is doing what they can to help others. And if we are the person in need of help, it is often true that we feel indebted to the person who is offering help. Imagine now, that you get a message from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), telling you about a technical problem that is having a direct impact on you. It might be your first response to feel thankful and then to allow them to provide the assistance you need. Don’t be so fast to do this, though, as there are some scams going on right now that involve fake messages from ISPs notifying people about technical support issues that need to be dealt with urgently.
AT&T and other ISP companies are getting their names dragged through the mud, as scammers pretend to be representatives of these companies in their plans to separate hard working people from their money. These scammers will often send a message to someone that says something like:
“Our systems have detected malicious spyware on your computer… Your personal photos, credit card information and passwords may be at risk. Contact our certified technicians for immediate assistance. If left unresolved you may be subject to PERMANENT ACCOUNT SUSPENSION as well as possible fines for network damage.”
These kinds of messages are literally scaring lots of people into getting scammed. These types of messages are clear examples of malvertising, which involves the detection of your ISP. The scammers do this based on the IP address your computer is using, and they even send a legit looking message to you – complete with a company logo – to finish the con job. The majority of the ISPs that have been used in these types of bogus messages have been American or Canadian companies, though it is possible that there are some scams going on involving the names of overseas ISP companies.
When people respond to these messages, they often do so via a phone number that is provided. From there, the ‘technician’ gets remote control to the computer in question and seems to find ‘infected files.’ People who are not all that tech savvy might get pulled into the drama of this scam, but it is all for show. They may even get a pop up on their screen that suggests it will run a system scan. These, too, are nothing but a ruse. What ends up happening, is that the ‘technician’ will ultimately wind up extorting naïve people into paying hundreds of dollars for computer problems that don’t even exist in the first place.
These scams have been going on for some time now, and they have led to several of the fraudulent websites being taken down. However, scammers are a persistent bunch, and new servers have popped up to replace some that were identified and taken offline.
Tech support scams have been around for a long time. The thing is, though, that the people behind these scams are getting a little cleverer every day. People need to be aware that these types of scams are going on, and they need to be smart about how they handle any emails, messages, phone calls or pop-ups that they see on their computer screens. You wouldn’t trust a random ‘mechanic’ who showed up at your door to say that he detected problems with your car and now wants to help you get them fixed, so don’t trust unsolicited messages from ISPs, tech support companies or any other company that claims they have detected problems with your computer.