Telemarketing – Telephone Scams: Computer Tech Support

When you send money to people you don’t know or give personal or financial information to unknown callers, you increase your chances of becoming a victim of telemarketing fraud. In this article, I will share common comments made my marketers that you should consider “RED FLAGS” and give examples of how you can conduct your own research to uncover the phone number and if it is indeed a scam.

Common warning sign comments of telemarketing fraud:

  • “You must act ‘now’ or the offer won’t be good.”
  • “You’ve won a ‘free’ gift, vacation, or prize.” But you have to pay for “postage and handling” or other charges.
  • “You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier.” You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.
  • “You don’t need to check out the company with anyone.” The callers say you do not need to speak to anyone including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.
  • “You don’t need any written information about their company or their references.”
  • “You can’t afford to miss this ‘high-profit, no-risk’ offer.”

If you hear “lines” like these from a telephone salesperson, just say “no thank you” and hang up the telephone.

Tips to Avoiding Becoming a Telemarketing Fraud Victim:

It’s very difficult to get your money back if you’ve been cheated over the telephone. Before you buy anything by telephone, remember:

  • Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company. Legitimate businesses understand that you want more information about their company and are happy to comply.
  • Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them. But, unfortunately, beware—not everything written down is true.
  • Always check out unfamiliar companies with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state attorney general, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups. Unfortunately, not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations.
  • Obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. Some con artists give out false names, telephone numbers, addresses, and business license numbers. Verify the accuracy of these items.
  • Before you give money to a charity or make an investment, find out what percentage of the money is paid in commissions and what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment.
  • Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. “What guarantee do I really have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?”
  • Don’t pay in advance for services. Pay services only after they are delivered.
  • Be wary of companies that want to send a messenger to your home to pick up money, claiming it is part of their service to you. In reality, they are taking your money without leaving any trace of who they are or where they can be reached.
  • Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won’t pressure you to make a snap decision.
  • Don’t pay for a “free prize.” If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.
  • Before you receive your next sales pitch, decide what your limits are—the kinds of financial information you will and won’t give out on the telephone.
  • Be sure to talk over big investments offered by telephone salespeople with a trusted friend, family member, or financial advisor. It’s never rude to wait and think about an offer.
  • Never respond to an offer you don’t understand thoroughly.
  • Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.
  • Be aware that your personal information is often brokered to telemarketers through third parties.
  • If you have been victimized once, be wary of persons who call offering to help you recover your losses for a fee paid in advance.
  • If you have information about a fraud, report it to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.

One of the first things I do is to Google the phone number that called me. If you place the phone number inside quotation marks you will pull up notifications or complaints that have been logged by callers who actually answered calls from that number. Here’s an example of a number that has been calling my cell phone, nearly every single day for the last couple of weeks.

The phone number is 284-752-1312 (this number originates in the British Virgin Islands)

I Googled ”284-752-1312” (inside quotations) shown here:

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The search yields 46 results.

I scroll down the page of results and look for a number of complaints listed in the post excerpt. If I don’t see complaints, I start at the top and check the pages to see how much I can learn about the number that called:

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The common complaint I found associated with 284-752-1312 is a common Microsoft or Tech Support scam:

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Here’s the thing –

Software crashes. It’s going to happen!

Sometimes when it does, you have the option of sending an error report to the developer. You’ll never hear back, because the purpose of the report is to alert the developer so they can fix the bugs and improve their product ON THEIR END.

You will not hear from them 99.99 percent of the time.

That hasn’t stopped scammers from pretending they are Microsoft techs responding to your crash reports. Scammers know people are on high alert when it comes to internet scams and by posing as a trusted name, they are gaining access to computers of unsuspecting victims.

This particular scam usually works in one of two ways. Both begin with the “tech support” scammers asking victims to look at their computers’ events log.

The shyster will convince the victims that something that is actually, quite harmless on their log is evidence of a virus. The scammer then directs victims to a website to download software that claims to remove the virus.

Scam Version One: convinces the victim to provide their credit card info to pay for the software. The card is then used by the scammer to make personal purchases.

Scam Version Two: gives away useless software for free. Once the software is installed, the scammers can hijack the victim’s computer and its contents oftentimes, gaining access to bank accounts, personal information, etc.

What You MUST Know About Microsoft:

Microsoft DOES “NOT send unsolicited email messages or make unsolicited phone calls to request personal or financial information or fix your computer… If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support, hang up. We do not make these kinds of calls.”

According to the director of Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing division: “Treat callers as you would treat strangers in the street… Do not disclose personal or sensitive information to anyone you do not know.

To report cases of fraud, use the online tips form or contact your nearest FBI office or overseas office.

Have you received calls from someone posing as tech support trying to gain access to your computer? If so, please leave a comment about the call and the number they called from. This will help people find this post when they search for the number and help them avoid being scammed.

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