Tech support scam
Tech support scammers usually call people up and convince them that they have a problem with their phone or computer. They also claim that they can fix this problem for a fee. This fee often comes as a money transfer, gift card, or cash.
Tech support scams simplified
Tech support scammers can contact you via phone, pop-ups, emails, and online ads. They’ll usually ask for remote access to your computer and pretend to run a diagnostics test. Once it’s done, they’ll inform you that there are serious issues with your device. That’s when they’ll ask you to pay them to remove it.
Tips to prevent tech support scam
If you get a phone call from anyone claiming there’s a problem with your device, you can immediately hang up. There’s no way they can know that without seeing your device first.
Don’t trust pop-ups
void pop-ups online that claim there’s a problem with your computer. Sites cannot determine issues with your device without proper inspection.
Do your research
Make sure the tech support you’re contacting via online ads is legit. When was the business established? Where? By whom? Who is their statutory agent? And so on.
Keep it simple
If a “support agent” uses language that is overflooded with technical terms - it’s a red flag. Real tech support knows how to explain difficult concepts.
Tech support scam stats
According to the FBI Internet Crime Reports, here's how devastating tech support scams were from 2016 to 2022:
Average losses and victim count
year over year
Tech support scam cases have reached record numbers with 32.5K yearly victims (around 89 victims per day) in 2022.
Victims have reported the highest average financial loss to tech support scams in 2022 ($24.8K per victim).
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the number of tech support scam cases grew by 13%, and the average financial loss grew by 140% (from $4K to $9.5K) per victim compared to 2019 as well.
Despite the increasing awareness of online crimes, daily financial losses to tech support scams have grown around one hundred three times from 2015 ($21.4K per day) to 2022 ($2.2M per day).