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BBB Finds Tech Support Scam is a worldwide problem

SEATTLE —  A new study by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) finds more and more people are becoming victims of the computer technical support scam.

Many have come across this scam which targets your computer.

“This is where your computer locks up and a pop-up comes up and a voice that says you’ve got a virus. It gives you a phone number to call and that just gets things going,” said Veronica Craker; content and communications director with the Better Business Bureau.

The report called: “Pop-Ups and Impostors: A Better Business Bureau Study of the Growing Worldwide Problem of Computer Tech Support Scams” found that anyone who owns or uses a computer is a potential target.

“I think one of the reasons is we’re all on our computers all of the time and when the computer locks up a lot of people don’t know how to get out of it,” added Craker.

The study found that most people lose money using credit cards or debit cards, while checks are the second most-common form of payment.

The BBB study found that just over 85% of the scammers come from India, while less than 10 percent are operating inside the US.

The Better Business Bureau is offering tips to consumers so they don’t become victims of the computer tech support scam:

  • Research tech support companies before you decide to do business with them. Go to bbb.org to search for BBB Business Profiles.
  • Double-check all the details. If you’re directed to an official company website, make sure that it’s the real company’s site by double-checking the spelling of the company’s name in the website address. Anything that claims to be from “Microsoft,” for example, is a scam.
  • If a caller claims to work for a reputable company, ask for their name and company ID and then call that company’s official customer service line and ask to be directed to that employee. Do not use a phone number provided to you by the caller.
  • If your computer has been compromised, don’t panic. You may still be able to get your machine fixed. Scammers are relying on you to make hasty decisions. You’ll be better able to avoid their traps if you don’t rush.
  • Make sure you’re using a quality, up-to-date antivirus software and that you are running the latest version.
  • Change your passwords. First change the password to any account or machine the scammer has or could access. Then change the passwords on any account that you were logged in to on your machine, as well as any accounts for which you use the same or very similar login credentials.
  • Call your credit card company. If you made a payment by using your credit card, the company will help you to appeal any unauthorized charges and to get a new card.
  • Victims can report it to BBB Scam Tracker.

Craker said one of the things the study found was that seniors were more likely to report this type of scam while millennials were more like to lose money from the scam.