*National Consumer Protection Week Advisory*
March 7, 2019
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford announced that his office joined with attorneys general across the country, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other regulators in a nationwide crackdown on fraudsters who try to scam consumers into buying costly and unnecessary tech support and repair services. As part of this effort, the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the Department of Justice announced a sweep of elder fraud cases and focused particular attention on tech support scams as a major threat to senior citizens.
“Tech support scammers use every trick at their disposal to make consumers pay for unnecessary services,” said AG Ford. “Our nationwide takedown will put tech support scammers in check and provide consumers with tools to prevent them from falling victim to these scams.”
Tech support scammers use phone calls and online ads resembling security alerts from major technology companies to trick consumers into contacting the operators of these schemes. Scammers claim consumers’ computers are infected with viruses or experiencing other problems, and request access to the computer in order to fix the supposed issue. After diagnosing a “problem,” the scammers then pressure consumers into buying unnecessary computer repair services, service plans, anti-virus protection or software and other products and services.
Attorney General Ford, NAAG, and the FTC have released guidelines to help consumers and businesses spot a tech support scam. This includes a new three-minute video featuring a consumer who fell victim to a tech support scam.
Tech support scams are on the rise and can happen to anyone. The Office of the Nevada Attorney General provides the following tips to avoid falling victim to these types of scams:
- Hang up the phone if an unsolicited caller claiming to be a tech support professional pressures you to give them sensitive personal and financial information to fix an alleged computer issue. This is a sign of a scam.
- Never visit unverified websites and never download or install software offered by unsolicited callers or pop-up advertisements.
- Never agree to give control of your computer to any unsolicited caller.
- Do not trust your caller ID. Scammers are sophisticated and can manipulate the caller ID to make it say “Microsoft” or other legitimate company names. The caller ID may not indicate the true identity of the caller.
- If you have received an email or pop-up advertisement on your computer, contact your computer company’s customer support website directly and ask the company to verify that the message is legitimate.
- Make sure your computer’s anti-virus software is current by allowing the regularly programmed updates.
Today’s nationwide effort is the result of more than a year’s worth of efforts and planning. In addition to Nevada, other state participants include: Arizona, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota. Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Washington DC.