How to Tell You’re Dealing with an IT Support Scammer

How to Tell You’re Dealing with an IT Support Scammer

While millions of individuals are being scammed daily, businesses are also becoming the target of scammers. These criminals may pose as IT support when they’re actually scammers. But how can you tell if they’re scammers?

We’ve put together some signs that let you know you’re dealing with a scammer. Some signs are obvious, while others are not. It can be challenging to discern whether you’re dealing with legit IT support or a scammer.

Read on to learn some of the signs you’re working with a scammer!

The Scammers Claim They’re Calling from a Reputable Company But Their Details Don’t Add Up

One of the most common IT scams involves a cybercriminal calling to say they’re from a reputable company. The scammers may say they’re from Apple, Microsoft, or another well-known tech company. However, these companies never cold-call their customers. Microsoft even has a message on their site that says they don’t make these types of calls.

So, if you receive a call from a person saying they’re with a certain tech company, be sure to ask them the following:

  • What is their name?
  • Where in the world are they calling from?
  • What is their telephone number?

If the information they provide doesn’t seem credible, or your instincts are saying this is a scam call, then hand up and don’t answer if they happen to call back. You can then call up the real tech company and ask if they just called you or not. Then you’ll know for sure if the call was truly from them or a scammer.

The Person Doesn’t Want You to Call Them Back on an Official Company Number

An IT scammer can also be found out by putting a little more pressure on them. All you have to do is say that you’re not comfortable taking a cold call and that you’ll call them back on their office customer support line instead.

For instance, if the scammer claims to be from Apple, tell them you’ll call their customer support line right away. If the person puts up any resistance, then they’re a scammer. Hang up immediately in that case. You can use this tactic with other types of telephone scammers, too.

A legitimate company will always allow you to call them back for your own security. A scammer, however, will find too many reasons why you shouldn’t call the company directly. While they may sound convincing, never listen to them. Hang up right away. And if you are concerned, call the real IT company’s support line immediately and let them know about the scam.

You’re Being Hurried to Make Quick Decisions

Another common method used by IT scammers is to force you to make quick decisions. Not only do they play on a person’s naivety, but they try to force you to make a decision without thinking. Plus, they understand the longer they keep you on the phone, the more suspicious you’ll become.

This is the very reason IT support scammers try to force you to make a quick decision. These individuals use scripts that don’t allow for many questions. Instead, the scammer may urge you to take actions such as opening your Event Viewer on a PC to see all the errors in the log. What most people don’t understand, however, is that all PCs keep a list of errors in the Event Viewer, which are constantly growing. This is part of the scammer’s strategy.

They Want You to Install Software on Your Computer

IT support scammers usually have you install software on your computer. Unfortunately, the software may be spyware or has been created to offer false positives for viruses on the device. If a scammer persuades you to install software, they win. They will persuade you that the computer has thousands of viruses on it and that the device is severely compromised. And they’re right if you install the software they ask you to install.

This is why it’s essential not to install software that a cold-caller requests you to install. Some of the most common types of software a scammer may want you to install includes TeamViewer, Remote Desktop Connection, and more.

Remember that legitimate tech companies do not cold-call their customers with requests to install the software. If you call tech support, it is possible the company will ask you to install software directly from their official website. They usually don’t offer a download link during a remote sharing session.

They Become Angry or Frustrated When You Ask Questions

Another way to spot an IT support scammer is to ask questions and waste their time. You read that correctly. Why? Because a legitimate IT support technician is trained to be patient with customers and work with them until the problem is solved. However, a scammer is only interested in finishing the scam. If you ask them questions, they are losing time and not able to move on to the next victim quickly.

So, if you believe you’re dealing with a scammer, keep asking them questions. Waste as much time as possible. You might start to ask about who they are, where they live, how they have your details, why they’re asking you to do things (like install software on your device), and more.

If you’re talking with a scammer, they usually try to deflect your questions and become frustrated when they don’t make progress with the scam. Sometimes they become so frustrated the scammer will drop the act and hang up. In that case, you’re the winner rather than becoming the victim.

They Use Technical Jargon with You

Another sign that you’re dealing with an IT tech scammer is they use lots of jargon when talking with you. Their goal is to keep you from understanding what they’re talking about. The scammer is betting that you don’t know much about your computer and will be OK with them “fixing” it.

On the other hand, a reputable IT support tech will ensure you understand the problem with your computer and how to fix it. They use terms that are easy to understand.

So, if someone claims to be an IT tech support person and they use tons of jargon, this is probably a scammer. Hang up immediately.

Summing It Up

Be sure to include these tips in employee education materials on how to deal with scammers. IT support scammers are relying on the fact that most people don’t have much tech knowledge. If that’s the case, it’s much easier to scam them, including employees at your company.