Today, scammers are everywhere. If they’re not calling to tell you you’ve won a million dollars (and all you need to do to claim it is send a $1,000 deposit to an obscure Indian bank), they’re sending malicious text messages or filling your mailbox with junk. Did you know, however, that scams extend into IT support in Fort Worth, as well?

Over the last several years, IT scams have exploded in popularity. Today, most IT scams involve fraudsters contacting you and claiming that your computer has spyware or other dangerous software on it. Once they’ve scared you into listening, the scammers claim they can fix it, as long as you allow them remote access to your computer.

In best-case scenarios, unsuspecting consumers pay about $500 to the scammers and never hear from them again. In worst-case scenarios, the scammers hack a system, leading to the loss of sensitive data.

Fortunately, you can protect yourself from IT scams by knowing what to watch for. Here’s what you need to know.

The Rise of Tech Support Scams

While tech support scams have existed since the early days of the internet, they spiked sharply in 2013, when scammers started to use predatory advertising and pop-ups to spread the word about their fake services. Here’s an example of what these pop-ups look like, from the Malwarebytes Blog:

IT Support in Fort Worth

Fortunately, tech companies and The Internet Crime Complaint Center took notice and adopted aggressive stances to stop IT scams. In 2015, the FTC announced that it had successfully stopped several IT scams posing as Microsoft, Apple, and Google Tech Support. These scams had stolen a cumulative $17 million from unsuspecting consumers.

Unfortunately, however, even the hardest-working agencies can’t stop all tech support scams, and they still exist around the web. In fact, tech support scams have become more advanced in recent years, using savvy tactics like ISP targeting, domain switching, and scam lockers to gain access to consumers’ computers.

Each year, millions of people fall victim to IT support scams. As such, it’s becoming harder for people to differentiate between IT support scammers and legitimate professionals.

3 Ways To Tell Between IT Support Scams and Quality IT Support in Fort Worth

Spotting a tech support scam can be tough. Given the rising numbers of IT support scams and the increasing need for remote IT support across the country, however, learning what to watch for is critical. Here are three big signs you’re dealing with a scammer rather than a tech support professional:

1. IT Scammers Call You, Rather Than the Other Way Around

If you get a phone call from someone offering to fix your computer remotely, be aware. Reputable companies that provide IT support in Fort Worth don’t cold-call consumers, and you can be reasonably sure that anyone who does is a scammer.

This is especially true if the person on the other end of the line claims to be from Dell, Microsoft, Apple, as these businesses do not contact random consumers.

2. The Caller Claims They Are the Only Ones Who Can Fix Your Computer

One of the trademarks of IT scams is that they claim your computer has issues only their software can fix.Scammers tell consumers that a computer is “sending out errors” undetectable by other scanners. This is often enough to scare consumers into giving scammers what they want.

If your computer has been acting funny or dumping data, it may be time to take it in for virus removal with a reputable local company. If it’s operating normally, though, there’s probably nothing to worry about.

3. The “IT Support” Wants you to Download Software From the Web

This is where scamming becomes hacking.  If a so-called IT professional wants you to install a tool from a website, steer clear. Reputable IT support in Fort Worth doesn’t operate this way.

Finding Quality IT Support in Fort Worth

While great remote IT support exists, it can be tough to separate it from prominent web scams. Fortunately, seeking out local companies with customer reviews and local addresses and phone numbers is one of the best ways to guard yourself against IT scams and ensure you’re getting the best IT support in Fort Worth.