BBB warns Northeast Florida residents of tech scam going around

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning residents living in Northeast Florida of a tech support scam that cost a local victim $4,600.

The BBB hasn't released information about the local victim's case, but advised residents of warning signs and advice regarding the tech scam going around:

1) Unsolicited phone calls that claim they work for tech support:

  • Many scammers are saying they are with well-known companies like Microsoft, Apple and Best Buy's the Geek Squad, the BBB states. Scammers could also alter their caller ID's to reflect their claims.
  • The scammer will tell you that their computer is sending error messages or may have a virus.
  • The scammer may also say you are owed a refund from tech support.
  • Advice: Hang up the phone.

2) Pop-up messages on the computer:

  • Victims say they get a pop-up message that reads - and sometimes includes an audio message - that viruses are attacking the computer. A helpline number is also included. Do not call this number. the BBB advises.
  • Advice: Turn off your device right away and wait for some time before turning it on again. If the message persists, contact a trusted professional for help.

3) Locked out of your device:

  • Victims report that they can't gain access to their computer, laptop or tablet.
  • Victims also report that their screens display a "blue screen of death."
  • A phone number is usually displayed, but do not call the number because it leads to the scam artist and it could also lead to a ransomware scam, the BBB states.
  • Advice: Turn off your device right away and wait for some time before turning it on again. If the message persists, contact a trusted professional for help.

The BBB warns that all three tactics are designed to lead to a phone conversation between the scammer and the potential victim where the scammer tries to convince the victim to provide remote access to their internet-connected device.

Once the scammer is connected to the device, the scammer can access files and data, which could contain personal information and lead to identity theft; take control of the device and lock it, then demand money for access; install viruses or malware and demand money to remove it, the BBB warns.

Tech support scams are the eighth most risky scam of the year where victims have lost an average of $299, according to the BBB.

Click here to report scams or click here to find a tech company you can trust.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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