Cracking Down On Tech Support Scams - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Cracking Down On Tech Support Scams

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Their facebook page is colorful, inspirational and popular, too, with more than 170,000 followers.

And apparently vulnerable to hackers, who replaced wholesome posts on the Sisters in Christ Facebook fan page with adult content.

Worried about the site's reputation, Teresa Allissa Citro searched online for "Facebook phone tech support" and found several numbers.

She called the first one that popped up. The person who answered said for 129 dollars, they'd rescue their page from the hackers, and keep them out.

"They also were supposedly putting on some kind of a device so that we couldn't be hacked again," Citro said.

Turns out, Citro wasn't talking to a representative of Facebook.

In fact, the social networking giant doesn't even offer "phone tech support."

"This was undoubtedly a scam," Facebook officials told KMPH.

And the feds say they've received thousands of complaints about similar tech support scams.

"The goal is to get consumers to pay hundreds of dollars for unnecessary computer repair services," said Colleen Robbin, with the Federal Trade Commission.

The Federal Trade Commission recently launched a major tech support scam crack down, filing complaints against several companies based mostly in India.

"It was very interesting how persuasive the defendants were in trying to trick consumers."

The FTC Says scammers rely on two different schemes.

They either cold-call you, claiming to be major companies like Microsoft, Norton, Mcafee or Dell, or they lure you into calling fake online tech support listings, like the one teresa fell for.

In both instances, the scammers try to convince you to give them remote access to your computer.

KMPH called some of the numbers listed as Facebook tech support.

In one example, an operator said that he could only help by getting into KMPH's computer.

Tech Support Operator: "I can just help you out only if you allow me to get into your computer ma'am. Ma'am ,you can trust me, okay, we just work for Facebook."

Once in, they try to sell you repair services, or scare you by telling you it's riddled with viruses and malware.

"But there's nothing wrong with your computer and they're not going to fix it for you," said Kevin Haley who works with Symantec, a Bay Area-based computer security software company.

That's exactly what citro learned. The support line she called didn't help her at all.

Citro disputed the $129 fee and reported the phone listing to the search engine she used, ask.com.

Ask.com told KMPH: "paid search advertising is a huge marketplace... So it is impossible to check every single ad."

"I never expected that I wasn't speaking to Facebook because they answered the phone call with 'this is Facebook technical support," Citro said.

Experts say don't use online search results to find a company's tech support number. Go to the company's website and look for that contact information.

Never give control of your computer to a third party that you are unsure about.

And if someone calls you claiming you have a computer problem, hang up.

 

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