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Hayton
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"Tech Support" scams - recent developments

This topic is still going strong, some eight years or so since it first started to become a serious issue. There are several threads here giving advice, and listing known rogue outfits, but it would be a full-time job to keep track of all the latest developments. As the latest of these is now a year old a return to the subject is probably overdue.

Most of the cold-calling - calls from "Microsoft" technicians, or techs from one of the anti-malware companies or your ISP - is still coming from call centres in India, where the companies doing this are quite openly operating as "legitimate" companies - good salary, training, and career progression for the people doing this work. Increasingly however the rogue outfits are in the US, many of them in Florida.

Tech Support scams are profitable. That's why they're still around. And the people who set them up and run them make a lot of money from their operations; if one is closed down they will usually open another with a different name and carry on as before. It's rare for an owner to be named and prosecuted separately from his company, but it is now being done - see the FTC report linked to below.

For a look back at previous posts and blogs, it's worth having a look at these -

Inside the US government’s war on tech support scammers | Ars Technica

https://community.mcafee.com/blogs/supportthoughts/2014/05/23/dont-fall-prey-to-%20non-mcafee-suppor...

In the fight against these fake tech support companies it seems to be Microsoft and Malwarebytes who are most active in taking action against the worst offenders. If Intel/McAfee are also actively pursuing any of these companies I have to say that their efforts are not receiving enough publicity; you have to go looking through blogs, security articles, and press releases to find the information, and I haven't seen much happening lately. Anyone who can find news of what McAfee is doing, feel free to post it here.

Don't forget that if you've been conned by a fake tech support company you may be able to get back some (perhaps all) of the money they've taken from you : see post #5 in this thread - https://community.mcafee.com/message/332274#332274

Malwarebytes have recently posted an update to their previous posts about this class of fraud, with a link to a news release by the FTC about a settlement with Vast Tech and OMG Tech - both Florida-based.

https://blog.malwarebytes.com/cybercrime/social-engineering-cybercrime/2016/10/report-the-anatomy-of...

FTC link : Operators of Tech Support Scam Settle FTC Charges | Federal Trade Commission

Malwarebytes have also published a very useful White Paper which is well worth reading -

https://www.malwarebytes.com/pdf/white-papers/AnatomyTechSupportScams.pdf

- from which comes this excellent advice :

Consumers who are targeting or fall victim to tech support scams are urged to revoke remote access, scan their computers for malware, and quickly change all passwords to everything including your computer, email, and bank accounts. Tech support scams can and should be reported to government agencies.

In the U.S., consumers are urged to report any scam activity to the FTC. For consumers outside of the U.S., more information on who to contact can be found at https://blog.malwarebytes.com/techsupport-scams/.

Just in case you missed that link, here it is again. The Malwarebytes blog has an ongoing section devoted to combatting these fraudsters, with an extensive list of companies that they know about - a list more comprehensive than the ones I've been able to put together - and  advice on securing your system if ou've been a victim.

https://blog.malwarebytes.com/tech-support-scams/

Microsoft ran a survey earlier this year to find out how extensive this problem is, and how many people have encountered one of these companies. The survey shows that two-thirds of those who responded had had personal experience of being called by one or more companies, or had either seen a pop-up warning on-screen or been redirected to a fake website.

Tech support scams are a growing problem - Microsoft on the Issues

https://staysafeonline.org/blog/new-data-reveals-two-thirds-of-global-consumers-have-experienced-tec...

https://mscorpmedia.azureedge.net/mscorpmedia/2016/10/Tech-Scams-Public-Report.pdf

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