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Is this for real? How to verify a tech support call

Having reliable and trustworthy tech support is an important part of running a business and keeping your computer safe. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals have taken this service and twisted it in to something far more dangerous. Instead of a tech support call ridding your device of malware, scammers tend to download a ton of the stuff.

Even the most tech-savvy among us can fall for these scams, and it’s worth reading up on the tips and tricks you can use to verify a tech support call.

Were you expecting a call?

The biggest indicator that the person on the other end of the phone is a scammer, is if the call was unsolicited. Genuine IT support engineers will introduce themselves and tell you the name of the company they work for immediately. They’ll also be happy for you to call them back at a time that suits you.

Scammers may give you a name but will often be less forthcoming with their company. They might opt for big names like Microsoft or Apple, to reassure you that they’re legitimate. However, these companies never initiate contact with customers for tech support. So, if you weren’t expecting a call, beware.

Ask how they got your information

The last thing that a scammer wants to do is answer questions – they essentially want to get you through the process as quickly as possible, download a ton of scary stuff or even better, get you to enter your card details. A real IT support engineer will be happy to answer any questions you have.

You should always start with asking how they got your information. The only reason that a tech support company should have your information is if you gave them that information in the first place. A scammer is likely to be vague or claim that your information came from another company (Dell, Lenovo or HP for example). Companies like these never pass on your information without express consent from you; its far more likely that they’ve picked your information up by purchasing it after one of the companies have been hacked.

Do you have a tech support contract?

The only reason that a genuine IT support engineer should be contacting you, unprompted, about your machine is if you have a tech support contract with them. Unfortunately, the scammers know this, and might say that you received a tech support contract when you bought your machine.

If this is the first you’ve heard about a tech support contract, the call probably isn’t genuine. It’s very unlikely that the first time you hear about a contract is through something going wrong. If in doubt, tell them you’ll ring them back after you’ve verified this claim – ideally by calling up the company that sold you your device, and asking them. If it’s true, they should also be able to give you the telephone number of your tech support!

Ask what’s wrong with your computer

A genuine IT support engineer will take the time to walk you through the problem with your device and explain it, before they ask you to head to their website or download anything. The only way an IT support team would know something was wrong with your computer is if they had monitoring software on your machine (something you’d definitely know about!) or if you yourself had told them of a problem.

If you ask the scammer how they know that something is wrong with your computer, they might tell you that they’ve been sent a report by your device. Sometimes anti-virus services like Windows Defender send reports back to Microsoft, so that they can prevent a problem happening in the future. However, there is no way for them to tie that back your device, let alone your phone number.

I’ve checked all these things! Does this mean they’re genuine?

Maybe, but maybe not. Scammers are always evolving their methods, and changing their script depending on what works and what doesn’t. The tips and tricks we’ve shared are good starting points when verifying a tech support call, but even the most unscrupulous individual can be convincing at times. They can fake a call from a phone number that you recognise, even give you information about your computer.

A real IT support engineer won’t ever try to rush you through a phone call, they’ll go at your pace so that you understand each step of what’s happening. You should never allow someone remote access to your computer before verifying that the person on the other end of the phone is genuine and trustworthy.

The best way you can verify a tech support call is by asking for their company name, ending the call, finding that telephone number yourself and getting in touch with the company directly (using a different phone, just in case these scammers stay on the line). If something seems fishy to you, take your device to be checked by an IT support engineer in person.  

Transcendit’s support contracts are ideal for businesses. Find out more on our website


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