How To Spot and Avoid Tech Support Scams

Click Here to Download the PDF

Tech support scammers want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer (like a virus) and to pay for tech support services to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. They often ask you to pay by wiring money, putting money on a gift card, prepaid card, or cash reload card, or using cryptocurrency or a money transfer app because they know those types of payments can be hard to reverse.

Spotting and Avoiding Tech Support Scams

Tech support scammers use many different tactics to trick people.

Phone calls, Emails, Text Messages

Tech support scammers call pretending to be a computer technician from a reputable company. They typically ask you to give them remote access to your computer to fix a problem they found and pretend to run diagnostic tests. Then they ask you to pay to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. If you get a phone call, email or text you didn’t expect about a problem with your computer, ignore it. Legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email, or text message to tell you there’s a problem with your computer.

Pop-up warnings

Tech support scammers may try to trick you with a pop-up window that appears on your computer screen. It might look like an error message from your operating system or antivirus software, and it might use logos from trusted companies or websites. The message in the window warns you about a security issue on your computer and tells you to call a phone number or click a link to get help. Don’t do it. Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number or click on a link.

Online ads and listings in search results pages

Tech support scammers try to get their websites to show up in online search results for tech support or they might run their own ads online. The scammers are hoping you’ll call the phone number to get help. If you’re looking for tech support, go to a company you know and trust.

Tech Support Refund Scams

If someone calls to offer you a refund for tech support services you paid for, it’s likely a fake refund scam. How does the scam work? The caller will ask if you were happy with the service you got. If you say, “No,” they’ll offer you a refund. In another variation, the caller says the company is giving out refunds because it’s going out of business. No matter their story, they’re not giving refunds.

They’re trying to steal more of your money. Don’t give them your bank account, credit card, or other payment information.

If You Think There’s a Problem with Your Computer

Update your computer’s security software and run a scan. If you need help fixing a problem, go to someone you know and trust. Many software companies offer support online or by phone and stores that sell computer equipment also offer technical support in person.

If You Were Scammed

  • If you paid a tech support scammer with a credit or debit card, you may be able to stop the transaction. Contact your credit card company or bank right away. Tell them what happened and ask if they can reverse the charges.
  • If you paid a tech support scammer with a gift card, contact the company that issued the gift card right away. Tell them you paid a scammer with the gift card and ask if they can refund your money.
  • If you gave a scammer remote access to your computer, update your computer’s security software Then run a scan and delete anything it identifies as a problem.If you gave your username and password to a tech support scammer, change your password right away to a strong password. If you use the same password for other accounts or sites, change it there, too.

If a tech support scammer contacts you report it to the FTC at

If you have any questions, please call our Customer First Contact Center at (203) 462-4400. (Monday – Friday (excluding bank holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.)