Every so often I get requests for help from people with a computer problem that may or may not be malware-related.
When I have to refuse help, which is more often than I’d like, I try to refer the people concerned to a more appropriate person or forum, and to suggest they do what they can to ensure that the advice is from a reputable and competent source. I’m more cautious about recommending specific resources, even well-known commercial organizations, unless I’m in a position to confirm their competence and bona fides.
Sadly, this reluctance has been reinforced by accusations against Office Depot, which is alleged to have tricked customers into paying for unnecessary repairs to their systems.
I’m not sure it’s that simple, though. As I discuss at some length in an article for ITSecurity UK: Support Scams and Diagnostic Services
My latest article for ESET’s WeLiveSecurity blog expands on an article that originally appeared in a lengthy article on support scams for ITSecurity UK, and subsequently in an article for the ESET Threat Radar Report for December 2015.
Support scams: What do I do now? covers some of the options for people who’ve allowed a support scammer to access their PC and, on discovering that they’ve been duped, have asked about the implications of that mistake and what they need to do next.
Link added to support scam resources page.
For the Register, Kat Hall revisits the allegations that the security of TalkTalk customers was compromised by data leaked to support scammers. In the BBC’s Moneybox programme it was claimed that ‘criminals appear to have accessed the details of TalkTalk engineer home visits and have gone on to use this information to trick customers’.
It’s not altogether clear that there is a direct link, but Hall points out that:
‘At the end of January, TalkTalk said it was considering cutting ties with its Indian call centre provider after three employees at the site were arrested for allegedly scamming customers.’
Added to the support scam resource page.
Tech Support Scams: a Beginner’s Guide – a blog for IT Security UK. I thought maybe it was time we reconsidered what we tell end users what they need to know about support scams, as the scammers change their approach from cold-calling to pop-up fake alerts.
Added to the resources page here.
The following links have been added to the tech support scam resources page:
“Since May 2014, Microsoft has received over 175,000 customer complaints regarding fraudulent tech support scams. This year alone, an estimated 3.3 million people in the United States will pay more than $1.5 billion to scammers.”
I’ve just added some links to the Support Scam Resources page: