BBB says new phone scam offers tech support ‘refund’

Published 6:59 am Thursday, September 13, 2018


Press release

Central Kentucky computer users are being targeted by a phone scam claiming that they are owed “refunds” by well-known computer technical support companies.  The calls are really from scammers trying to steal money and personal information.

Email newsletter signup

A Fleming County woman tells Better Business Bureau® serving Central & Kentucky that she received a phone call saying she was being billed $499.00 for a tech service subscription she had not authorized.  “To cancel this subscription, I was directed to call a number to get a refund,” she said. “I called and was told to get on my computer and log in to a certain website that wanted me to authorize them to get into my computer remotely. Red flags went up immediately.” She asked the caller why he needed access to her computer. He said it was so she could get information to receive her refund. She refused.

A Lexington man got a call from a company telling him that “Geek Squad”, the tech support service based at retailer Best Buy, owed him money. “I have never used Geek Squad.  They wanted me to download a program so that I could get my refund. I did not download this program as a warning popped up on my screen that this program could do harm to my computer. I feel that this is a scam.”

“This is a scam that takes a twist on the old tech support scam,” said Heather Clary, BBB Communications Director.  “Instead of telling you they have found a problem with your computer they will ‘fix’ for you, they are now trying to tempt you with the promise of a refund of fraudulent charges for various tech support or virus protection services you may or may not have even paid. They will also use the names of reputable tech companies to try to add credibility to their story.”

The con artists ask computer users to log in to certain websites which will allow them remote access to their computers, where the scammers can steal any personal and financial information stored there. In other cases, the scammers ask victims to purchase pre-paid debit cards and give them the card numbers so they can “deposit” the refund onto them. Instead, they steal the money.

Tips to avoid phone scam:

Be wary of unsolicited calls. Legitimate tech companies don’t make unsolicited calls to their customers. This is a popular scam tactic.

Never grant a stranger remote access to your computer. Scammers can steal your personal information and install malware that is used to commit identity theft.

Beware of anyone asking for untraceable payments. Scammers often ask for payment by wire transfer, gift card, or pre-paid debit cards. Legitimate companies do not ask to be paid in this way.