Tech support phone scams are destroying our industry's reputation

PCR's anonymous reseller on how phone scams are making customers distrust resellers and vendors
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PCR's anonymous Counter Insurgent talks about how tech support phone scams are destroying the industry’s reputation.

Last month one of my customers came in crying that they have just been scammed for £300 by someone posing as “Microsoft Windows tech support”, and needed their laptop checked for malware.

Luckily he had called the police and the bank had given his money back. However, this experience has left him very nervous and distrusting of our industry.

I reassured him that he didn’t need to worry and if this was to happen again, to ignore it and call the police. I reiterated that he could always come to us for help and assistance.

This scam has been around since 2008 and prays on vulnerable and novice users. This is just not on. Though Microsoft has made attempts to address this issue, the message is still not getting across to the wider public – and victims are still being scammed for hundreds of pounds.

Back in November, the Federal Trade Commission in the US cracked down on two massive scammers who had conned $120 million from their victims.

But this again does not deter their determination; scammers are now becoming more creative, with some now calling to provide full refunds for the “poor service” they have provided. Again, they grab their victims’ card details to extort more money.

More needs to be done, as this is not just a Microsoft problem, but this scam has adapted other vendors’ names too. Both vendors and government need to come together and address this issue publicly, as customers and citizens we need to be protected.

Furthermore, it doesn’t help when it has been reported on the Malwarebytes blog that some of these scammers are official partners for big brand names. This is an utter outrage and undermines the whole industry, especially for genuine tech support companies.

I believe it’s now time for regulation or for an independent body that monitors IT/tech support companies. Otherwise, these scams will go on, catching our customers out.

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Image source: Shutterstock

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