Sometimes you receive phone calls from a tech support claiming that you’ve got computer problems. In such cases, you must be aware and on guard in order to not become a victim of a tech support scam.
Actually, this con job is known by many names: the Fake Tech Support Call Scam, the Event Viewer Scam, the Ammyy Scam, and the TeamViewer Scam (the last two names denote the name of the legitimate remote connection tool used by the scammers to connect to and take control over your computer).
A tech support scam is a global scam which has cheated many people and bilked millions of dollars out of victims worldwide.
The broad outlines of the con have been around for several years and it doesn’t appear to be losing any steam.
Clues Spot a Tech Support Scam
You can easily spot a scam and protect yourself by noting some common-sense clues.
1. The Firs Clue of a Tech Support Scam Is that “They Call You”
It is note worthy that major company’s tech support organization like Dell, Microsoft are not going to go looking for trouble. They wont waste their resources to call you, because they know that if you have tech-support problems you will call them. But the scammers will tell a lie that their call is a “Public Service”
2. Caller IDs
Spoofing the caller-ID system to display any name or number that the scammer wants is a trivial matter. You should beware and don’t trust that just because your phone says “Microsoft” or “Dell” that these companies are on the other end of the line.
3. “Name and Accent Mismatch” Is Another Clue for Tech Support Scam
The scammer will claim that his name is something decidedly western like “Philip” but you see that he has an extremely thick foreign accent.
And when you tell him that he doesn’t sound like a “Philip” then he will usually counter with something like “my name is so hard to pronounce that I use Philip instead to make things easier for people.”
Many of these scams are run from giant call centers in places like India and Pakistan, or parts of China or south-central Africa.
4. Your PC Sends Bad Stuffs Apparently
The scammer who calls you will claim that your computer is sending spam, infected with a new virus undetectable by current scanners, or sending out errors and the like. But you must beware that even if all of these problems were true, the tech support wouldn’t know your phone number. Also, they don’t know that it was your computer that did these things; actually, this is because of the fact that there’s no public directory of Internet Protocol addresses that would aid them in tracking you down.
5. The “Event Log Viewer” Trick
The scammers want you to think that they are knowledgeable and that there is a problem by showing you that your system has errors. They do this by asking you to open the Windows Event Log Viewer so that they can attempt to prove their case.
Some kind of minor error or warning will almost always appear in the event log viewer. The presence of these routine glitches doesn’t mean that your system is having any real problems or is infected by anything.
6. Tool Installation
This is the last clue and actually the most dangerous part of the scam. This is the part where the tech support scam gets dangerous because the scammers want to take control of your computer, but not for the purpose of fixing it as they claim. The scammers want to infect your computer with malware, rootkits, keyloggers, etc. Therefore, they need a way in for doing so.
There are several free remote connection software packages that are completely legitimate tools designed for remote tech support. Some of the more popular ones used by the scammers include Ammyy, TeamViewer, LogMeIn Rescue, and GoToMyPC. The scammers will ask you to install one of these tools and provide them with an ID number or some other credential generated by the remote connection tool, They will then use this information to gain access to your computer. At this point, your computer has been compromised.
What to Do If You Have been Breached
If people be more cautious about such scams and try to improve their information about such kinds of scam, scammers won’t take advantages of these situations. Tech support scam works because sometimes people fall for it. If you suspect you have been hacked, take appropriate steps to protect your information.
One of the best and quickest way for you in order to get these people off the phone get rid of the scammers is to tell them that you don’t have a computer at all.
As with any scam, there will be new variants as the scam is refined. Therefore you need to be on the lookout for new tactics, but the basic clues above will probably remain unchanged.