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Retired Community Manager

Protect Yourself From Tech Support Scams


Tech support scams have lurked online for years. They often come in the guise of a pop-up message on the target’s computer screen, claiming viruses are attacking the device, along with a phone number to call for assistance. The operator then convinces the target to buy hundreds of dollars of tech support services he doesn’t need.


In a more recent twist, scammers cold call targets and claim to be from a major computer company, indicating that a virus or malware has infected the target’s computer.  


How it Works:

  • The caller convinces the target that his computer is infected and asks for remote access to the device to fix the problem.
  • The scammer’s goal is to gain remote access to your device, and once in, claims to find multiple viruses or malware that he can fix for a fee.
  • The scammer will ask for a form of payment, usually a credit card or wire transfer.

What You Should Know:

The Federal Trade Commission reports that thousands of people have lost hundreds of dollars to this scam. Last fall, the FTC shut down a business operating as Global Connect for running this scam, but scammers are again using this company name to target victims.


What You Should Do:

  • If you get a tech support call out of the blue, hang up.
  • Never give control of your computer to someone who calls you.
  • Report scams like this to and let others know about it on our scam-tracking map.

I recently had a text box pop up on my pc indicating I had downloaded something with a virus. The message even gave a number to call supposedly to Microsoft Support. Since I couldn't get the box to go away or close Windows, I called. Listened to the whole spiel about something infecting my pc, etc., and that they could fix it and clean my pc for a program subscription costing from $200-$600+. The person I spoke with who said her name was Becka and that she worked for America Geeks which had been contracted by Microsoft to handle support calls. The phone number was 888-588-2055, her extension is 1093. At that point I hung up and contacted PC Laptops where I purchased my pc. They suggested I bring it in and they would clean it and get rid of any malware, etc. They do this free of charge.


Interestingly, after I hung up on Becka (sp?), I was able to close the text box, Windows & shut down my pc.

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Yes, my computer turned blue, a voice came on warning, I called the number and gave them access to my computer for about 8 hrs. Paid $250. I was hacked. Had to take it and pay $170 or so to have a legitimate tech clean my computer.

i wonder though what did the people do when they had access to my computer for those 8 hrs??

This was a few years ago.

just two weeks ago same thing happened, I called the number and then realized this was a scam so I hung up and then turned my computer off for awhile and ran my virus software.! I hope they weren't able to get in!!

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I just suffered the same thing, only I had to pay $250.00 to have my laptop cleaned out. But what a nightmare as I was away while they were in it as I had to fly out of state to my brothers funeral. Now I have a new banking account and have been calling all of my auto pay utilities and more.
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I recently had a pop-up(supposedly from Microsoft) appear on my computer telling me that my computer had a virus which was stealing my passwords and credit card information.   It gave me a phone number to call, and warned me not to close the window (or my computer would cease to operate to protect their network).  This is the second time this happened in the past year, and I fell for it the first time.


This time, I turned my computer off and re-started.  After reboot, I did a whole computer scan with AVG Anti-Virus, which found no threats.  The first time, It cost me $449.95 to remove the malware that the original sender of the pop-up had placed on my machine.  I hope no one else falls for this scam!


John A.

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Yes I had the same thing happen to me. They totally blocked getting into my computer.
I lost everything on my computer.
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Regular Social Butterfly

Thanks for the great post AARPLynne!


As a Tech Support person for a global corp, our people always receive these calls or emails or online prompts; it is irritating and time-consuming for them and us.


My advice for anyone (other than the corp people I am paid to support) is first check the AARP Technology Community board. If some new brand of cheat has been born, someone here will post about it, or if not already reported, make a new post with all the info (including screenshot, if possible).


btw, Hollywood Solitaire and Crescent Solitaire are showing Adobe plugin message that appears to be advertising but is not; it doesn't matter what the plugin setting is (either allow or not), every time 1st time logging in each day, have to toggle the setting. This may or may not appear to be security issue for some.


Suggest mouse over any link, then look at the site address shown in the bottom left. If something known, feel safe. If not, report it.


That's not an AARP issue, I know, but perhaps report to Arkadium, (not that they haven't already been made aware)?


Thank you again, Ms AARPLynne!

Phil Harris, actor and showman, to John Fogerty of CCR: “If I’d known I’d live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.”
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