Tech Support Scams Explained

A technical support scam, or tech support scam, is where a scammer claims to offer a technical support service or technical assistance to a user.

Scammers claim to be from a known company such as Telstra, Optus, Apple, Microsoft etc.

Tech support scammers use social media, fake websites and a variety of other sources to instill confidence to persuade their victim of problems on their computer or mobile device, such as a malware infection, services not working like shey should or telling the victim that their internet connection is slow and can be upgraded when in fact there are no issues.

The Technical support scammer would most likely ask the victim to load a remote access application on the victims computer, laptop or other device. The tech support scammer uses the remote access application to gain access to the victims device to pretend to repair the "issue".

The scammer will then persuade the victim to pay for the "fake" service provided by the tech support scammer.

The victim makes payment for the fictitious service and the scammer moves on to their next victim.

What to do if you were scammed

If at some point you realise that you have been victim to a technical support scam follow these steps:

  • Unplug your computer from the internet or switch it off
  • Call your bank and inform them of the scam, they might be able to cancel the transaction
  • If you have given the scammer details about your bank, call your bank notifying them of your concern
  • Report the incident to ScammWatch
  • Report the incident to the Police
  • If you gave the scammer any passwords, IMMEDIATELY change the passwords
  • Set up two factor authentication on all online accounts
  • Call an IT Professional that can remove the remote access application, clean your computer of malware and validate that it is safe to use

In short:

Tech support scammers use pressure scare tactics to get what they want. They impersonate technical support staff and sometimes pose as support staff from legitimate companies. They trick you in to believing that there is a problem and then either steals information or fix the "problem".