Scammers impersonate tech support staff and claim to know that something is wrong with your computer. They offer to help you fix the problem—for a fee—but instead steal your money, infect your computer with malicious software, or steal your personal information. The scammers do this through pop-ups on the web and through phone calls.
Pop-Ups on the Web
A number of people at U-M have reported seeing alarming pop-ups (some of which include audio) while using their web browser. The pop-up say the computer is infected in some way and may block use of the browser. The user is urged to call a phone number for tech support assistance. If the number is called, a person offers to "fix" the problem for a fee. For an example of one of these malicious pop-ups, see theTech Support Scam Example.
People at U-M have reported receiving phone calls from con artists claiming to be tech support from Microsoft, Dell, and other major software and computer companies. The callers may claim that they have detected viruses or other problems on the user’s computer and offer to "fix" the problems for a fee. They may try to convince the user to give them permission to run a program giving them remote access to the computer.
If You Got Caught
If you think you got caught by one of these scams, take action to protect your information and university computing resources.
- If you gave out U-M information, such as your UMICH password, or allowed access to your university-owned computer, change your UMICH (level-1) password using the UMICH Account Management page.
- Report a suspected compromised U-M account immediately to the ITS Service Center or, at Michigan Medicine, to the MCIT Help Desk (MCITServiceDesk@med.umich.edu).
- If you gave out personal information, such as your credit card number, file a complaint with the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center and put a fraud alert or hold on your credit report. For instructions, see Identity Theft.
- Consumer Information: Tech Support Scams (Federal Trade Commission)
- Technical support scam (Wikipedia)
- FTC cracks down on tech support scams (Federal Trade Commission, 11/19/14)
- New Twist to the Telephone Tech Support Scam (FBI, 11/13/14)
- Tech Support Scams – Help & Resource Page (Malwarebytes, 5/10/16)