Every month or two, we get a call from someone who describes what turns out to be some kind of tech support scam. And once we get a look at the machine involved, there's usually some kind of nefarious software installed and there's quite a lot of work to be done to clean-up the mess. These scams almost always start with an unsolicisted phone call or email. We don't make those kinds of calls. To the best of our knowledge neither do the other local service shops. If someone from any tech support organization contacts you that you don't know or work with regularly, don't respond. Call us or other service organization you trust.
Tech support scams, which get people to pay for fake computer help or steal their personal information, are convincing. You might already know the signs of a tech support scam, but do your friends and family? Here’s what they need to know now:
- Companies like Microsoft don’t call and ask for access to your computer. If you get a call like that, it’s a scam.
- Real companies also won’t ask for your account passwords. Only scammers do.
- Tech support scammers try to convince you they’re legitimate. They’ll pretend to know about a problem on your computer. They’ll ask you to open normal files that look alarming to make you think you need help.
- If you do need computer help, go directly to a person, business, or website you know you can trust. General online searches are risky because they might pull up another scam.
Credit card skimming at gas stations is happening all over the country including here. With lots of travellers on the road, here are some tips to avoid this common technology hazard.
With the summer travel season in high gear, the FTC is warning drivers about skimming scams at the pump.
Skimmers are illegal card readers attached to payment terminals. These card readers grab data off a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe without your knowledge. Criminals sell the stolen data or use it to buy things online. You won’t know your information has been stolen until you get your statement or an overdraft notice.
Here are a few tips to help you avoid a skimmer when you gas up:
- Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show signs of tampering. Many stations now put security seals over the cabinet panel. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read "void."
- Look at the card reader itself. Does it look different than other readers at the station? For example, the card reader on the left has a skimmer attached; the reader on the right doesn’t.|
- Try to wiggle the card reader before you put in your card. If it moves, report it to the attendant. Then use a different pump.
- If you use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. That way, the PIN is safe and the money isn’t deducted immediately from your account.
- If you’re really concerned about skimmers, pay inside rather than at the pump.
- Monitor your credit card and bank accounts regularly to spot unauthorized charges.
If your credit card has been compromised, report it to your bank or card issuer. Federal law limits your liability if your credit, ATM, or debit card is lost or stolen, but your liability may depend on how quickly you report the loss or theft. For more information, read Lost or Stolen Credit, ATM, and Debit Cards.