You could hope that those tech support scams would fade into history with the passage of 2013 but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. In fact, the scammers are circling around and trying to grab a second wad of cash from unwary consumers.
In the original tech support scams, consumers got a call from someone who claimed to be from Microsoft tech support. In an urgent, breathless tone, the caller warned that your computer had been compromised with a dangerous virus.
The scammer would ask for remote access and then charge you for “fixing” a problem that wasn’t there.
Now the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns the scammers are working the phones again, and this time they're claiming that if you paid for tech support services, they can get you a refund. We’ve heard about several variations of this scam:
- They might ask if you were happy with the service. If you say no (and you probably will), they claim they can get you a refund.
- Or they might say that the company is going out of business and providing refunds to people who already paid.
Once they’ve got you hooked, they claim that they need your bank or credit card account number to process the refund.
They might say that you need to create a Western Union account to receive the money. They may even offer to help you fill out the necessary forms — if you give them remote access to your computer. But instead of transferring money to your account, the scammer withdraws money from your account.
What to do
So, what can you do if you paid for bogus tech support services?
- File a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint.
- If you paid with a credit card, call your credit card company and ask them to reverse the charges.
- Hang up on callers who offer a refund in exchange for your bank or credit card account number or a Western Union account.