Consumer Alert: Tech support scammers make a promise they can’t keep and walk away with your money

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – With people working from home more now than ever due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Better Business Bureau has a warning about a tech support scam.

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Scammers want the consumer to believe there’s a serious issue with their computer. They’ll promise to fix any problems on the device for a fee. The catch is, the issue does not exist.

Once the scammer reels the consumer in with a deal, they can walk away with money and personal information.

“One is to take over your computer then they can download whatever they want on there and take any of your information,” said Roseann Freitas the Better Business Bureau Marketplace Manager of Hawaii. “Then the other thing is, they’ll ask for money and that payment can be in many forms and probably one of the big red flags is if they want it in a gift card.”

These scams come in forms of phishing emails and robocalls.

“There’s another red flag, because they don’t actually call you. So especially with someone you don’t know, you should just say thank you hang up. If you really think it’s that company, go ahead, find their number elsewhere.”

The tech support scam can also come in pop-up warnings.

“So if you get that pop-up on the screen saying, ‘hey you need help, call this number’ don’t call that number. That’s not usually how that works. A lot of times when you do have pop-ups, they’ll ask you to send them a report, but they’re not going to call you.”

The BBB says legitimate tech support companies will not reach out to consumers first.

Consumers should always do their research before allowing any third party company access to any personal devices.

“I would always recommend first to look locally. Find a local company that you know that’s in business here in Hawaii. Check who they are going to be, check the BBB website. Just look and do a background on any company that you’re using for tech support.”

For more information on how to spot and avoid tech support scams, click here.

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