/ Technology

Scam watch: have you been conned by fake tech support?

Hand shadow over computer keyboard

Imagine the horror when you buy antivirus software to protect your computer and personal details, only to give access to them when you accidentally call a copycat tech support site? Fortunately, one member smelt a rat before any real damage could be done…

Member Roxana Triefus told us how she was almost swindled by a fraudulent tech support team after buying an antivirus subscription from a well-known provider.

‘I bought a Norton antivirus subscription in a shop, and I went to what I thought was Norton’s activation site. There, I filled in my contact details and entered the product key, but an error message appeared. A pop-up advised me to call a number. I phoned it and granted remote access to my PC, and was then advised that it was infected with a virus, which could be removed for a £199 fee. This seemed suspicious, so I refused to pay and hung up.’

Our say on tech support scams

This is a tech support scam, where fraudsters try to gain remote access to a computer to steal financial details.

Symantec (which makes Norton software) has no record of its support team ever speaking with the member, and says it’s likely she spoke to an ‘unaffiliated and unofficial third party’. She may have unintentionally gone to a copycat website that apes the official Norton site. This has a phone service manned by impostors.

The member has since had the software safely installed and her PC checked by a firm with Which? Trusted Traders status.

Never allow remote access to a machine or hand over financial details on the basis of an unverified call. Ensure you contact companies on legitimate sites. Norton’s is support.norton.com.

When made aware of our member’s case, Symantec kindly extended her antivirus subscription for a further six months, free of charge.

Do you have further questions? Which? now has it’s own dedicated tech support service run by our in-house experts. Find out more here.

Have you been caught out by a fake tech support team or product? What happened?


This comment was removed at the request of the user

Microsoft has just announced a new OS layer to boost the security of future IoT products. It is Linux based… 😀

This comment was removed at the request of the user

I was phoned by someone claiming to be from Microsoft support and saying that there was a fault on my machine that he could help me to sort out. He asked me to go to the PC. I had heard of these scams and being vaguely computer literate I effected to be even more doddery than I actually am, pretending to mishear or misunderstand and making mistakes that he had to correct. He instructed me to type in a command. ‘What does it say?’ I told him. ‘Ah yes, please type in …’ and so it went on. My aim was to waste as much of his time as I could, but I became bored when he asked ‘what does it say now?’ for about the fourth time I slowly and hesitatingly replied, as if I was having difficulty reading, ‘It seems to say something like “tell that ****hole to **** off, he’s trying to scam you’. End of phone call.

This comment was removed at the request of the user

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Yes like many I get a lot of these calls, though the frequency has reduced and the scams have become cleverer. I try to keep them talking as long as possible, just to waste their time. The most recent was a ‘message’ from my “ISP provider” telling me that my modem and computer are infected and the modem needs replacing, noting my internet access will be shut down in 24 hours if I don’t reply. This could be very frightening for some. Since they didn’t identify themselves as my ISP provider I knew it was a scam. Another scam to beware of is a ‘household survey’ which starts simple then asks a lot of intrusive questions. At the end it then asks questions that might let it identify your passwords. As soon as I became suspicious- when they asked where I bank – I started giving fake answers.

This comment was removed at the request of the user