Tech Support Scams: Protect Yourself!

Welcome to our article about Tech Support Scams.

If you have fallen victim to a Tech Support scam, please share your story with us by commenting below, and if you need help recovering your funds, don’t hesitate to contact us!

Tech Support Scams

Recently a Connecticut, USA, person who reported being scammed for $10K sent us the following complaint:

I was using the PC when it froze. Alex Comey then contacted us, stating that there were two charges to our checking account. One was for $15,000.00 and another for $12,000.00. He urged us to rush to the bank and withdraw all our money in cash.


We obtained a banker’s check, but he directed us back to withdraw cash. We could only withdraw $10,000.00 and had to get another banker’s check for the remaining balance. We were then instructed to deposit the cash into a Bitcoin machine to protect it.

This unfortunate situation bears similarities to a familiar scam known as the “tech support scam.” In this type of scam, fraudsters pose as tech support representatives and use various tactics to gain access to victims’ personal information or money.

It’s essential to be cautious when receiving unexpected calls from individuals claiming to be from a reputable organization, especially if they ask for personal information or request immediate financial transactions.

Legitimate companies typically do not ask customers to withdraw large sums of cash and deposit them into Bitcoin machines.

Understanding Tech Support Scams

In tech support scams, criminals impersonate technical support representatives from legitimate companies.

These scammers target unsuspecting individuals, leveraging their lack of technical knowledge or exploiting their fear of losing essential data.

The primary objective of these scams is to steal sensitive information, including banking details, or to extract money from the victims directly.

Get in touch with our affiliated Cryptocurrency Forensic Specialists at CNC Intelligence for free by filling out the form below.

    Common Tactics Used by Scammers

    Scammers employ a variety of tactics to achieve their dishonorable goals, such as:

    1. Cold Calls: Scammers often call victims pretending to be from tech support, claiming an issue with the victim’s computer or internet connection needs immediate attention.
    2. Pop-up Warnings: Scammers use fear-inducing pop-up messages on websites, alerting users that their computer is infected with a virus and they should call a number for immediate assistance.
    3. Phishing Emails: Scammers send emails posing as well-known tech companies, often warning of account issues or security breaches and asking recipients to click on a link or download an attachment to resolve the issue.
    4. Scareware: This involves tricking users into believing their computer is at risk and convincing them to purchase useless software.

    Why these scams are effective

    Tech support scams are effective mainly because of the fear and uncertainty they generate.

    The average computer user might not have the technical expertise to evaluate the legitimacy of a threat, making them susceptible to such scams.

    Moreover, scammers employ professional demeanor and convincing tactics to make these scams appear genuine.

    The urgency around the alleged issue often rushes victims into making decisions without thorough verification.

    Finally, the prevalent use of remote desktop software allows scammers to demonstrate ‘problems’ on the victim’s computer, further enhancing their deceptive narrative.

    Detailed Analysis of the Case

    In this Connecticut case, the victim used their computer when it unexpectedly froze. At this point, a scammer posing as Alex Comey contacted the victim.

    The scammer claimed two substantial charges to the victim’s checking account, amounting to $27,00l.

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    The urgency was created by urging the victim to rush to their bank and withdraw all their money in cash. The victim initially withdrew the money as a banker’s check, but the scammer redirected them to retrieve some cash instead.

    They managed to withdraw $10,000 in cash and a banker’s check for the remaining balance.

    The scammer then instructed the victim to deposit the cash into a Bitcoin machine to “protect” their funds.

    Identification of Red Flags

    Several red flags appeared throughout this incident.

    Firstly, the alleged tech support representative contacted the victim without any prior request for assistance.

    Secondly, the claims of hefty charges to the checking account and the urgent advice to withdraw all money in cash were unusual and suspect. Reputable tech support or customer service teams do not handle financial transactions this way.

    Thirdly, insisting on cash transactions and using a Bitcoin machine is a common tactic of scammers to evade traceability. A legitimate company never asks customers to deposit money into a Bitcoin machine.

    Comparison with Typical Tech Support Scams

    This case closely aligns with typical tech support scams.

    The scammer capitalized on the victim’s computer issues to initiate contact, similar to many tech support scams where cold calls or pop-up warnings are used.

    The high-pressure tactics and urgency used by the scammer are also hallmarks of these scams.

    Finally, the scammer’s insistence on the victim performing unusual financial transactions, including depositing money into a Bitcoin machine, is another characteristic of many tech support scams.

    These scams aim to secure the victim’s money in a way that is hard to trace and nearly impossible to recover.

    The Role of Cryptocurrencies in Tech Support Scams

    Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are appealing to scammers for several reasons:

    1. Anonymity: Cryptocurrencies offer a degree of anonymity that traditional banking methods do not. While all Bitcoin transactions are recorded on a public ledger known as the blockchain, the identities of the people involved in these transactions are not.
    2. Irreversibility: Once a Bitcoin transaction is confirmed, it cannot be reversed. This feature makes it impossible for victims to recover their money once they’ve sent it. Recovering cryptocurrency often requires hiring cybersecurity firms that can trace the funds, such as CNC Intelligence, and then work with law enforcement and lawyers to recover them.
    3. Global Nature: Cryptocurrencies can be sent and received anywhere around the globe. This feature makes it easier for scammers to operate across borders without the risk of being tracked or funds being seized.
    4. Lack of Regulation: Cryptocurrencies are not controlled by any government or central authority, making them less regulated than traditional currencies. This lack of regulation can make pursuing legal action against scammers more difficult.

    The Risks of Cryptocurrency Transactions

    Cryptocurrency transactions carry several risks, particularly for those unfamiliar with the technology:

    1. Volatility: Cryptocurrencies are known for their price volatility. The value of a cryptocurrency can fluctuate wildly in a very short time, leading to potential financial loss.
    2. Security Issues: While blockchain technology is secure, individual wallets and exchanges can be vulnerable to hacking.
    3. Lack of Consumer Protections: Unlike traditional banking, if your cryptocurrency is stolen, it is difficult to recover the lost funds. Similarly, if you send cryptocurrency to the wrong address, it can’t be retrieved without the help of a cybersecurity firm that can trace the money, such as CNC Intelligence.
    4. Fraud: As mentioned above, the anonymity and irreversibility of cryptocurrency transactions make them appealing to scammers. It can be challenging to differentiate legitimate transactions from fraudulent ones, especially for those new to cryptocurrencies.

    As a result, it’s essential to be cautious when conducting cryptocurrency transactions and aware of these risks. Always verify the legitimacy of any requests for cryptocurrency payments,s and never send money to someone you don’t trust.

    Tips for Identifying Tech Support Scams

    Here are some common signs of a tech support scam:

    1. Unsolicited Contact: If you receive a phone call or email from someone claiming to be from tech support without your initiating the contact, be skeptical. Most legitimate companies don’t make unsolicited contact with their customers.
    2. Fear Tactics: Scammers often use scare tactics, such as threats of viruses, malware, or identity theft, to pressure you into taking immediate action.
    3. Request for Personal Information: Be cautious if the caller requests personal or financial information. Legitimate tech support representatives rarely, if ever, need this information.
    4. Request for Remote Access: Scammers often ask for remote access to your computer to “fix” a problem. This is a major red flag and can give them access to your personal and financial information.

    Verifying the Caller’s Identity

    To verify a caller’s identity:

    1. Ask for Identification: A legitimate representative should be able to provide you with a badge number or other form of identification.
    2. Hang Up and Call Back: Hang up and contact the company directly through a verified phone number. Don’t use a number provided by the caller.
    3. Check Their Knowledge: A genuine representative should know account details specific to you.

    Advice on How to Respond if Contacted by a Potential Scammer

    If you believe a potential scammer has contacted you:

    1. Do Not Provide Personal Information: Never give out personal or financial information over the phone, especially if you did not initiate the call.
    2. Do Not Grant Remote Access: Never allow a stranger to take control of your computer.
    3. Report the Scam: Notify local law enforcement and file a complaint with your country’s cybercrime reporting center. You can report tech support scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC in the United States).

    Steps to Take If You’ve Been Scammed

    If you suspect you’ve been a victim of a tech support scam, take the following immediate actions:

    1. Stop Communication: Cease all communication with the scammer immediately.
    2. Contact Financial Institutions: If you’ve provided your financial information or made a payment, contact your bank or credit card company immediately. They may be able to stop the transaction or protect your accounts.
    3. Change Passwords: Change the passwords of your computer and all online accounts, especially those related to banking and other financial activities.
    4. Run a Security Scan: Use trusted antivirus software to scan your computer for malware. If you allowed the scammer remote access, they may have installed malicious software.

    Reporting Tech Support Scams

    Reporting the scam is crucial to help authorities crack down on such activities:

    1. Local Law Enforcement: Report the scam to your local law enforcement agency. They may be able to advise on further actions you should take.
    2. FTC: In the US, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
    3. FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3): If you’re in the US, report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
    4. Consumer Protection Agency: Depending on your location, there may be other consumer protection agencies that you should report the scam.

    Post-Scam Measures

    After you’ve taken immediate action and reported the scam, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself in the future:

    1. Education: Learn more about common online scams and how to protect yourself on blogs such as and governmental resources. Knowledge is the best defense.
    2. Software Updates: Keep your computer and antivirus software up-to-date. Regular updates often include patches for new security vulnerabilities.
    3. Backup: Regularly back up your files. If a scammer compromises your computer, this can help you recover lost data.
    4. Spread Awareness: Share your experience with others. Discussing these scams; can help raise awareness and prevent others from becoming victims.

    How Companies and Authorities are Responding

    Tech companies have made significant strides in combating tech support scams:

    1. Security Updates and Patches: Companies regularly release updates to their software, which include security patches to protect users from known threats.
    2. Reporting and Blocking Scam Websites/Emails: Companies like Google and Microsoft have mechanisms for users to report suspicious websites or emails, which they then investigate. If confirmed as scams, they block these sites or flag these emails, protecting other users.
    3. AI and Machine Learning: Advanced algorithms are being used to detect and prevent scam activities. These tools can identify patterns and flag suspicious behavior, helping to stop scams before they reach users.

    Legal Actions Against Scammers

    In addition to corporate efforts, there are also legal actions being taken to fight tech support scams:

    1. Prosecution: Law enforcement agencies worldwide have successfully identified and prosecuted individuals and groups behind these scams. These legal actions serve as deterrents and show scammers that their actions have consequences.
    2. International Cooperation: Cybercrime often transcends borders, so international cooperation is vital in apprehending and prosecuting scammers. Law enforcement agencies from different countries often collaborate on such cases.

    Public Awareness Campaigns

    Public awareness campaigns play a vital role in preventing tech support scams:

    1. Education Campaigns: Various organizations and governmental agencies run campaigns to educate the public about tech support scams. These campaigns explain the scams, how to avoid them, and what to do if one becomes a victim.
    2. Sharing Information: Both tech companies and law enforcement agencies share information about new scams and threats as they become aware of them. This information helps the public stay up-to-date on the latest scams.
    3. Events: Some organizations hold cybersecurity webinars, workshops, or conferences. These events can help raise awareness and provide valuable information on how individuals and businesses can protect themselves against scams.

    Complaints We Received

    On November 15, 2023, one of our partners received the following complaint:

    I keep receiving invoices for purchases that I did not make. Whenever I call to inquire about the bill, it is always the same person on the line who instructs me to use my computer to cancel the transaction, promising to send me a ‘refund’ with a PayPal header. Fortunately, I don’t own a computer, which I believe has protected me from further issues. The most recent bill was for $539.69, with an auto debit listed from Bitcoin (Crypto). The contact number provided is 423-406-2248. This has been occurring approximately every two to three months.

    Tech Support Scams: Conclusion

    In this digital age, tech support scams have become a widespread menace.

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    As such, awareness and caution are essential in safeguarding oneself from these scams.

    By understanding the common signs of a scam—such as unsolicited contact, scare tactics, requests for personal information, and requests for remote access—you can better protect yourself.

    Moreover, verifying the caller’s identity, being cautious about sharing personal information, and knowing how to respond if contacted by a potential scammer are essential steps in avoiding scams.

    Remember, no reputable company will demand immediate financial transactions or instruct you to withdraw large sums of cash.

    The moment you sense such red flags, it’s vital to disconnect from the situation and report it to the appropriate authorities.

    Finally, spreading the word about these scams is essential to protect others. Sharing your experiences can help raise awareness, and educating those around you can help them avoid falling victim to similar scams. In doing so, you are protecting yourself and your loved ones and contributing to the more significant effort to deter these cyber criminals.

    If you have fallen victim to online scams, please comment below. If you have suffered a substantial financial loss, do not despair. We are here to assist you in recovering your funds!

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