With the tech support scam, you get an online popup or a call from a well-known tech company (like Microsoft or Apple) saying that a virus has been identified on your computer. The scammer convinces you that he can fix the problem for a fee. Victims who catch on and stop payment are now getting hit with an associated scam.
HOW IT WORKS:
- You cancel payment for the fake tech support you purchased only to receive an official-looking letter from a law firm.
- The letter says that by not paying for the tech support you signed up for, you are committing an act of “civil theft” and will be responsible for the cost of the service plus court fees.
- The letter threatens legal action if you do not pay a specified amount, providing a case number and phone number for you to contact within 24 hours
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- The letter may look legitimate and be alarming at first – but when you slow down and look at it more carefully, you'll likely see grammatical and typographical errors.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO:
- Read the letter carefully, looking for telltale signs of a scam.
- Look up the law firm online to see if there’s any trace of it.
- If you are unsure, call AARP’s Fraud Watch Helpline for guidance at 1-877-908-3360.
- Report the scam to www.ftc.gov/complaint.
If you have been the target of this scam, or the original tech support scam, please alert the SD Division of Consumer Protections by calling 1-800-300-1986 or visiting consumer.sd.gov. They can investigate these scams and warn other South Dakotans to stay vigilant.
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You can join the Fraud Watch Network and receive alerts about scams happening in South Dakota. Any one of any age can join for free by visiting aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or to receive Fraud Watch Network alerts by phone, call 1-866-542-8172.