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Tech support scam

If you’ve fallen victim to a scam where a pop-up on your computer advised you had a virus and you had to call a specific number and pay for technical support to fix it, you’re about to be hit up for more money by the scammers.

WA ScamNet’s been getting calls from victims who, one year on from their original spend of US$599 for anti-virus and tech support, are being called to pay for another 12 months at a cost of US$800 or a termination fee of $US1299. 

The follow-up calls can be quite intimidating and the scammers may even threaten to sue you. Names we know are being used by the fraudsters:

  • Live Technologies (impersonation)
  • Kastra Logic (doesn’t appear to exist)

Previously the tech support scammers could have been using different bogus company names or impersonating other known businesses.

Some victims are being charged on their credit cards because the scammer’s already have the details from last time. Others are being hassled for credit card details. 

Our advice:

  • ignore the calls;
  • don’t give your credit card details no matter how much pressure they put on you;
  • if you have given your credit card details out previously, contact you card provider to dispute any new charges; and
  • have your computer checked by a locally-based reputable technician.

Other variations of the tech support scam…

Someone calls you out of the blue and claims to be a computer technician who can help you with a problem such as:

  • your internet running slowly;
  • a virus or malicious software issue; or
  • a hacking that’s putting your data at risk.

They offer to fix the issue if you let them log on to your computer remotely by giving them the IP address but the irony is they plan to infect your computer with spyware so they can do things like steal money from your online bank account.

They might also freeze your computer and demand a fee to unlock it. Or they might ask you to pay money for a service they haven’t even provided.

Let’s be honest, it’s hard to get IT assistance when you really need it and unlikely you would be offered it unprompted.

Organisations like Microsoft, Telstra and Apple simply don’t contact you to offer computer help unless you have logged a request with them.

To try to extort money from victims for a second time, scammers may also pretend to be from a government or law enforcement agency (foreign or Australian), ‘a bank’ or computer company and offer compensation. They will ask for some sort of fee to facilitate compensation payment.

There is no official compensation scheme for people duped in the tech support scam.