Author: Steven Aldrich, First Coast Computer Services

In this last month I have seen an upswing in fraudulent “tech support” scams. One client asked me “Why doesn’t Apple stop these guys from using their Logo and scamming me?” I was unable to give an answer that made the client feel any better.

I suggested that he call his Credit Card Company and get the charges reversed. Which he did. But, the bad guys had unfettered access to the sensitive information on his computer for over 2 hours. All of his passwords and financial data had to be changed. Then we made sure that no lingering malware was left behind by the scammer.

Companies can go after scammers, but seldom are they caught. Monetary recovery is not in the cards either. The scammers are getting smarter, faster, and sneakier in their approach. We need to become more diligent and watchful, or we will likely fall victim to a scam.

The fact is that each of us is that last line of defense against fraudulent activity.

Here are a few basic ways to protect yourself:

If a screen comes on your computer that tells you that something has gone wrong and you should call a phone number shown on the screen, NEVER call that number! NEVER!

Simply shut the computer off (even if it tells you not to) and call a reputable LOCAL technician.

If you get a call telling you that something is wrong with your computer, HANG UP. Don’t engage, and don’t worry. If you are unsure about what to do, call a reputable LOCAL technician.

Microsoft or Apple will NEVER post a message like that on your computer. They will NEVER call you on the phone to tell you that there is something wrong with your computer. If you see such a message, or if someone calls you, you can be 100% certain that it is NOT Microsoft or Apple on the other end of the phone. Neither is it a legitimate business.

The Last Line of Defense against scammers is us. We are the weak spot in the chain of defense.

No company, or anti-virus software can protect us from allowing a scammer access to our computer.

Steven Aldrich is a technology advisor with decades of experience as an IT Director and is the owner of First Coast Computer Services. Contact Steven if you need a trusted advisor to come to your business or home and help with your technology. See my ad on this page. Steve@fccspro.com or (904) 479-5661.