How to Avoid IT Tech Support Scams
Cybersecurity is at the forefront of everyone’s minds, especially company leaders. Scammers are getting more creative, and tech support scams effectively gain remote computer access and install malware to commit identity theft and fraud. It’s a common misconception that tech support hoaxes only affect older adults. In 2021, 23,903 people across the nation lost more than $345 million due to these deceptive practices.
Knowing how to prevent computer fraud is essential to protect your organization from the devastating effects of cyber breaches. Though no security method is 100% safe, there are many ways to avoid tech support scams in your organization.
What Is an IT Tech Support Scam?
As the name suggests, a support tech scam is a type of fraud where the scammer claims you have an IT issue and offers seemingly legitimate support to fix it. They encourage you to contact them in various ways, including emails, phone calls, and pop-up messages. These scammers use multiple techniques to gain your trust, including social engineering and claiming to be from legitimate organizations.
To fix your so-called problem, scammers often request remote access to your computer, online banking details, or credit card payments. If they deceive someone on your team, the results could be catastrophic for your organization. With access to only one computer, they can install malware across your entire network, steal your customers’ identities, or engage in credit card fraud. Your organization needs to know how to reduce and eliminate these dangers.
Types of Tech Support Scams
There are various approaches to support tech scams, and fraudsters will try several avenues to gain access to your organization’s computers. They may target specific employees with different tactics, so knowing what to look for is critical. Some common hoaxes to be aware of include the following.
- Computer protection scams: The scammer will call and pretend to be from a well-known security software company. They’ll inform you there is an imminent threat to your computer or network and request remote access to your computer to run false diagnostics. Once they have identified the “problem,” they’ll ask for payment. They can then install malware to harvest sensitive information.
- Antivirus scams: You might see pop-up virus alerts on your computer if you mistyped a URL or clicked on a link from a spam message. Scammers engineer these fake virus warnings to resemble legitimate cybersecurity alerts and scare users into clicking on a download link to remove the virus from their computers.
- Online listings and search results: Scammers try to get their websites to appear in search results when you’re looking for tech support in hopes that you’ll contact them and grant them access to your computer.
- Phishing emails or text messages: Similar to phone scams, you may receive an email or SMS alert notifying you of a malicious virus on your computer or asking you to update your tech support information. These messages often include links that look like they take you to a legitimate company’s website.
How to Recognize Tech Support Scams
Knowing how to find tech support scams among the many legitimate requests you receive is vital to keeping your sensitive information safe. You need to recognize scammers when they make contact and prevent them from accessing your devices. They’re compelling and play on your fears to make you act quickly. Some of the most common tech support scams resemble the following.
- Unprompted phone calls: Calls from someone who claims to be a technician from a familiar company and requests remote access to your computer.
- Unknown pop-ups: Pop-up messages warning you of a security issue and asking you to click a link or call a number for assistance.
- Unsolicited emails or text messages: Emails saying there is a problem with your account, you missed an online meeting, or have a security issue, and asking you to click on a link.
Remember, legitimate tech support will never contact you by phone, email, or text to inform you of a security problem. Security pop-up warnings from them will not ask you to call a number or click on any links.
How to Protect Your Organization Against Tech Support Scams
You can take several steps to protect your organization from tech support scams, from technical best practices to staying alert. Your team is only as strong as your weakest link, so one of the most critical security aspects is ensuring everyone you work with can recognize the signs of a potential scam. Have the following information available to your team:
- Unsolicited calls, emails, and text messages are unlikely to be from legitimate providers.
- If a pop-up message appears with a phone number, don’t call it.
- Any provider who asks for payment in cryptocurrency, gift cards, and other untraceable methods is probably a scammer.
- If someone calls you offering subscriptions to security services, hang up.
- Never give remote access to a stranger who contacts you out of the blue.
- Refrain from clicking on links. Type the address into your browser instead.
- Immediately report any scams to the authorities.
Your organization can take the following steps to beef up your security, making it challenging for scammers to penetrate your defenses.
1. Update Your Computers
Regularly update your browser and operating system and train your staff to do the same.
2. Install Trusted Antivirus Software
Small and medium organizations are prime targets for scammers. Use every security measure to keep your systems and data safe, including robust antivirus software from a trusted provider. Tell your team who the provider is so they’ll spot a scam if they receive unsolicited contact from someone else.
3. Educate Your Team
Everyone on your staff must know how to recognize scams and stay abreast of the latest activity. Ask them to report any suspicious contact to your IT team so they can update your security systems if necessary. Provide all your employees with regular security awareness training.
4. Enhance Your Email Security
Emails can be a vulnerability for your organization. Invest in a robust email security system to protect against phishing attempts and other scams.
5. Implement an IT Risk Management Plan
Even with all your security protocols, there is always a risk. A proper plan can prepare you for the worst, so you can quickly respond to incidents and reduce risk and costs with proactive IT.
6. Partner With a Managed IT Services Provider
Technology is complex, and having a partner who understands your needs can make all the difference in your cybersecurity profile. Look for a company with extensive data and cybersecurity knowledge to build a strong security foundation, establishing minimum security measures such as antispam and antivirus and building from there.
Trust Framework IT to Protect Your Organization
Tech support scams and other cybersecurity concerns can be expensive and damaging to every aspect of your organization’s operations. Take the hassle and stress out of your IT with Framework IT managed services. We know how vital security is for your business and peace of mind, and we pride ourselves on successful IT support and strategy for agile companies.
Partnering with Framework IT gives you access to a suite of security services, including antivirus, anti-malware, email security, and security awareness training. Our expert engineers are by your side with remote and on-site security support, solving IT issues fast to help you maintain productivity and security throughout your organization. Feel free to reach out to us, and one of our engineers will be in touch to discuss solutions to your IT challenges today!