Understanding the Threat of Tech Support Scams

Victim of tech support fraud

Understanding the Risks of Tech Support Scams

Tech support scams have increasingly become a common and sophisticated threat to personal security and financial stability. As technology becomes more integral to our daily lives, scammers exploit our dependence on tech support systems. These fraudsters convincingly mimic legitimate support services to gain access to personal information and financial assets. This introductory section sets the stage for understanding the seriousness of tech support scams and underscores the importance of awareness and vigilance in the digital age.


How Tech Support Scams Work

Tech support scams typically begin with: 

  • an unexpected phone call, 
  • An unsolicited email, 
  • or a stress-inducing pop-up message on your computer.

Frequently, the first step of the scam is claiming that your system has a critical problem such as a virus or a major malfunction. The scammers, posing as technicians from well-known companies, use sophisticated tactics to create a sense of urgency. Their goal is to trick you into giving them remote access to your computer or to manipulate you into paying for unnecessary products and services. Understanding these methods is the first step towards protecting yourself from becoming a victim.


Recognizing the Red Flags: Signs of a Tech Support Scam

Recognizing the signs of a tech support scam can help you avoid falling victim to these deceitful tactics. Key red flags include: 

  • unsolicited tech support calls, 
  • requests for remote access to your computer, 
  • anything urging you to take immediate action, 
  • and requests for payment via insecure and unrecoverable methods like gift cards or wire transfers. 

Learning to spot these indicators can empower you and others in your community to respond appropriately and protect your sensitive information.


The Risks of Remote Desktop Access Scams

Remote desktop software scams are particularly insidious because they trick victims into granting attackers direct access to their computers under the guise of providing help. Once access is granted, scammers can steal sensitive information, install ransomware, or use your computer for other malicious activities. Granting remote desktop access is not safe unless you have initiated the support call to a legitimate support company yourself, and are sure of the agent’s identity.


Recognizing and Avoiding Fake Antivirus Software

Fake antivirus software scams are designed to appear as legitimate security warnings. These often prompt users to install software that is actually malware. Be wary of any unexpected pop-up alerts or advertisements claiming your computer is at risk. Always use established and trusted antivirus software recommended by reputable sources. Latitude 32 Credit Union recommends conducting thorough research before downloading or purchasing any security software to ensure it is not part of a scam.


Immediate Actions to Take if You Suspect a Scam

If you encounter a potential tech support scam, taking swift and decisive action is crucial to minimizing any potential damage. Immediately cut off any communication, whether it’s hanging up the phone, closing the email, or shutting down the affected browser window. 

Do not:

  • click on any links, 
  • provide personal information, 
  • or make any payments. 


  • Contact Latitude 32 Credit Union immediately if you suspect any financial information may have been compromised. 
  • Run a security scan using reputable antivirus software can help ensure that no malware has been installed on your device.


Safeguarding Your Devices: Preventative Measures

To protect yourself from tech support scams, keep your computer and security software up-to-date. This includes regularly updating your operating system, applications, and antivirus programs to defend against new threats. Enable multi-factor authentication on your accounts when possible to add an extra layer of security. Be cautious about unsolicited contacts and always verify the legitimacy of tech support by contacting the company directly through official channels. Educating yourself about the latest scam tactics can also enhance your defenses against these fraudulent schemes.


What to Do If You’ve Fallen Victim to a Scam

If you realize you’ve fallen victim to a tech support scam, it’s important to act quickly to mitigate the effects. Immediately change all passwords, especially those related to email and financial accounts. Notify Latitude 32 Credit Union to watch for unusual activity and, if necessary, to help secure your accounts. Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), and your local police force to help authorities combat these fraudulent activities. Consider placing a fraud alert with the three major credit bureaus to help prevent new fraudulent accounts from being opened in your name.


Spread the Word

Raising awareness is a powerful tool in the fight against tech support scams. Share your knowledge and experiences with family, friends, and colleagues to help them recognize and avoid scams. Discussing the common signs of tech support fraud and the importance of skepticism when receiving unsolicited tech support offers can empower your family, colleagues, and community to stay safe.


Staying Safe and Informed

In our increasingly digital world, staying vigilant and informed about potential threats is crucial. Latitude 32 Credit Union is committed to helping you navigate the complexities of cybersecurity. We encourage our members to stay proactive by regularly updating their software, using strong, unique passwords, and enabling multi-factor authentication on sensitive accounts. By maintaining a robust security posture and staying informed through trusted sources, you can protect yourself from the financial and emotional impact of tech support fraud. Together, we can build a safer digital community for all our members.