Tech Support Scams: Another Cyber Risk For Family Employers Emerges
Commentary and Checklist
Office Depot and OfficeMax stores in Seattle and Portland were caught using questionable malware scanning software that falsely told customers there was a virus on the brand-new PCs they purchased. The store then sold them unneeded virus protection software for as much as $180.
According to the news channel that investigated, the computers in question had never been connected to the Internet and were diagnosed as malware-free by another security firm.
Officials at Office Depot, which operates OfficeMax, announced that the stores would stop using the misdiagnosing software. In 2013, Support.com, the organization that sells the software, and its partner AOL paid $8.5 million to settle a lawsuit, alleging they "misrepresented the results of free malware scans and then charged fees to fix the non-existent infections." Dan Goodin "Office Depot caught claiming out-of-box PCs showed 'symptoms of malware,'" arstechnica.com (Nov. 21, 2016).
- Never download software or pay for support in response to external notification that you have a computer virus.
- Never give out passwords, credit card numbers or bank account numbers in response to a pop-up or telephone call claiming you have a virus.
- If you receive a call from someone who claims to be tech support, hang up and call the listed number for the company to ask about the call-remember, cybercriminals can falsify caller ID to make it look like they are calling from the real company when they are not.
- If you think the virus message could be legitimate or you notice signs of a virus, disconnect from the internet immediately and take your computer to a trusted computer technician for inspection.
- Visit your computer technician, change your passwords and call your financial institutions immediately if you think you fell victim to a tech support scam.
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