If you’ve ever had a virus on your computer, you know what a nightmare it can be — a slow computer that crashes unexpectedly, your contact lists getting messages that you didn’t send, your online accounts vulnerable to hacking.
Perhaps just as frustrating as a virus infecting your computer? Paying someone to get rid of a virus that isn’t there.
Here’s how it happens: Scammers call and claim to be associated with a well-known tech company like Microsoft. They warn you that your computer is infected, and that you must act right away. They might even post fake tech support ads in online search results to trick you into calling them.
Once they’ve convinced you that there’s a “virus,” they ask for remote access to your computer to get rid of it — for a fee.
The good news? The FTC has cracked down on these scams, and continues to investigate and prosecute them. But that’s not all: if you lost money to one of these tech support scammers, some credit card companies are making it easier for you to get your money back.
If you paid for bogus tech support services with a credit card, call your bank or credit card provider now and follow their instructions to dispute the charge. The credit card provider will open its own investigation to determine if the caller lied to get you to pay for the “repair” services, and will contact you within two billing cycles with the results of the investigation.