Tech Support Spam Awareness

Tech Support Scams

Tech Support Spam Awareness

Our digital world offers many opportunities for learning and connection, but it also has its share of risks. Among these are tech support scams, which try to get people to pay for unnecessary services or give away personal information.

This article aims to provide you with the knowledge to identify, protect against, and respond to these scams. By understanding how these scams work and what steps you can take to safeguard yourself, you can improve your online security.

Identifying Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams often use the fear of computer issues to trick people. A key sign of these scams is unsolicited communication. If you receive an unexpected call, email, or pop-up warning insisting that your computer has been compromised and demanding immediate action, be cautious.

Legitimate companies do not alert you to issues out of the blue or request remote access to your device to “fix” a problem. The scammers’ goal is to charge you for unnecessary services or install malicious software that can further compromise your computer’s security and steal personal information.

Another way to recognize a scam is through the payment methods they propose. Tech support scammers often insist on payment through gift cards, cryptocurrency, or other irreversible means, knowing these transactions are difficult to trace or reverse.1

No credible organization will pressure you to make immediate payments through these methods for tech support services. Real error messages from your operating system or security software will never include a phone number or instruct you to make a call.

If you encounter pop-ups that lock your screen with alarming messages or a caller claims to have information about your computer’s issues, be skeptical. These are indicators of a potential scam attempt.

Managing these threats involves updating your security software regularly, downloading programs only from official sources, and being cautious of unsolicited tech assistance offers.

Tech Support Scams

Protecting Yourself from Tech Support Scams

Protecting oneself from tech support scams requires effort and awareness. An important step is using strong security measures on one’s computer. This means keeping all software, especially security applications, up to date to prevent vulnerabilities scammers might exploit.

Regular scans with trusted antivirus software can provide an added layer of defense by detecting and removing any malicious software.2

Being skeptical of unsolicited technical support offers can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to a scam. Regardless of how genuine or urgent a claim might seem, always pause and verify.

If a supposed tech support agent contacts you, do not engage directly. Instead, verify the legitimacy of the claim by contacting the company through official channels. Learn about common scam tactics and share this knowledge with friends and family to create a more informed community.

Tech Support Scams

Responding to Tech Support Scams

If you find yourself the victim of a tech support scam, taking quick action can reduce the damage and prevent further harm. The first step involves addressing any financial transactions you’ve mistakenly authorized.

Contact your bank or credit card issuer and explain that you’ve been caught in a scam. These institutions often have protocols to dispute fraudulent charges and might be able to reverse the transaction or prevent scammers from making further withdrawals.

Securing your computer is equally important. If you granted the scammer remote access to your device, take the following steps:

  1. Update your security software and run a thorough scan.
  2. Delete any software the scammer installed.
  3. If you disclose your username and password, change them immediately on all accounts where you’ve used the same credentials.
  4. Create new, strong passwords to protect your accounts against unauthorized access.


Report the incident to relevant authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, through This step is important not only for your protection but also for helping combat tech support scams in general.

By documenting and sharing the specifics of your encounter, you provide valuable data that can help authorities track down culprits and reduce future scams.

While falling victim to a scam can be upsetting, taking informed and corrective actions quickly will help you regain control of your digital and financial security.

Tech Support Scams

Reporting Tech Support Scams

Reporting the incident to the proper authorities is an important step in protecting oneself and potentially preventing others from falling victim. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the main organization where such scams should be reported in the United States.

Individuals can report their experiences at, which enables the FTC to collect data, identify patterns, and develop strategies against these cyber offenses.4 Reporting helps raise public awareness and acts as a preventive measure against future scams.

Individuals may also consider alerting their local law enforcement agencies, especially if significant financial losses are involved or if there’s evidence suggesting the scammer’s location might be within local jurisdiction.

Credit card companies and banks should be notified if there’s been any financial issues; most have departments dedicated to handling fraud cases and can offer timely assistance.

Collect and save any related communication from the scammer, such as email threads, phone numbers dialed, or website URLs visited during the scam encounter.

Detailed and prompt reporting helps facilitate a possible investigation and increases the likelihood of the perpetrators being caught and prosecuted.


Staying informed is an effective defense against tech support scams that exploit fear and trust. Armed with knowledge about how to identify potential scams, protect ourselves, and respond if targeted, we can better avoid these digital threats.

Awareness is important in preserving our online safety and navigating the internet with greater confidence. Let’s keep our digital environments safe by sharing this helpful information with those around us.

  1. Agari. Anatomy of a Tech Support Scam. Agari; 2021.
  2. Norton. How to Protect Yourself From Tech Support Scams. Norton; 2021.
  3. Federal Trade Commission. Report Fraud to the FTC. Federal Trade Commission; 2021.
  4. Federal Trade Commission. Tech Support Scams. Federal Trade Commission; 2021.
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