Beware Tech Support Scams

The phone rang the other day. It was “Philip” from Microsoft calling because there was “a problem with my computer.” I told him “No there isn’t.” He said, “What?” I said “There’s no problem with my computer.” He hung up.

This is an increasingly common scam where phishers try and convince you that they’re going to fix some problem with your computer. They ask for remote access, then do some stuff that makes it look like they’re fixing something, but they also copy files, trying to get information about your identity to then access your bank accounts.

This is, of course, mostly targeted at Windows users, but similar scams, on infected websites, are also targeting Mac users. On the Malwarebytes blog, Jérôme Segura has an excellent article on this threat to Mac users. He shows examples of alerts that web pages may display, even on an iPhone.

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Some of these give you a toll-free number to call, where someone will probably ask for your iCloud login credentials or other information to access some of your accounts.

Obviously, you need to steer clear of these things. But the Malwarebytes article is good to read, because it points out that you may not be able to dismiss the alerts, and may need to force quit apps that display them.

As the article concludes:

“The fight against tech support scammers continues more than ever. They are getting more and more aggressive and using techniques that slowly but surely resemble those used by malware authors.

This is a serious development that should make all of us aware of how dangerous it is to deal with unsolicited calls or calls initiated after seeing such scare pages.”