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Growing Trend of Fake IT Support Scam Appearing in Knoxville, TN
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Scammers are stealing hundreds of dollars from people every day, often without the individual realizing that it’s happening to them!
Tech Nav is a traveling tech support company serving people in the greater Knoxville area and in their business, they see this happening all the time. In their work, they have seen a sharp increase in IT scams being conducted over the phone.
What Is The Scam?
The most popular attack is carried out when a scammer calls an individual and claims to be with a legitimate company, such as Microsoft or even Google. Then, the scammer will usually tell the individual that their computer, tablet or smartphone is full of viruses and that their personal information is at risk.
Although this trend has been ongoing for years, scammers are getting more convincing and better than ever at ripping people off.
Tech Nav deals with individuals every day who have had their personal devices hacked, oftentimes unknowingly and had hundreds of dollars stolen from them.
Victory Harbin, one of Tech Nav’s owners, explained, “I spoke to one lady recently who even had a scammer convince her to pay him with Paypal in order for him to remove viruses (that weren’t even there)! As she logged into Paypal, the scammer stole her password and stole most of her money for the month! Hundreds of dollars gone in moments.”
Victory explained that by the time this customer contacted Tech Nav, she had essentially been traumatized.
“Our customers who experience this type of scam feel very invaded. A company they thought they could trust takes advantage of access to their device, steals their information and even charges them money for it,” Victory added.
How To Avoid It?
Even though scammers are craftier than ever, there are still some very basic practices that people should always remember to protect themselves.
Charlie Harbin, Tech Nav’s other owner says, “The first thing I would tell people is that Microsoft is never going to call you about a virus. If someone calls claiming to be from them, I would honestly recommend to just hang up immediately.” He also added to be careful calling numbers from pop-ups.
“If your computer honestly has a virus, you should be dealing with your computer’s anti-virus company, not Microsoft, Google or any of these other company scammers often claim to be.”
“We are seeing this trend grow in the Knoxville area,” Charlie explained “scammers prey on people’s lack of knowledge about these things.”
What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed?
After someone has fallen victim to this scam, Tech Nav recommends several actions.
Their first recommendation is to run a full virus scan on their device to clean any sort of program off of their computer that may still be giving the scammer continued access to their device.
Secondly, people should contact their bank as these charges were fraudulent. “We have helped people get thousands of dollars back just over the last six months from attacks just like the one we’re describing here,” Victory said. The third step would be to change any bank cards or bank accounts that the scammers were given access to. Charlie added, “Just because they aren’t in your computer anymore, doesn’t mean they won’t still use your information if they have it. So change anything that could be compromised.”
Finally, Tech Nav urges people to speak out.
“People won’t stop falling for this terrible scam unless we start talking about it. Awareness is everything!” Victory explained.