Tech-support scammers traditionally are people who dial random numbers and try to convince the people on the other end of the phone that their computer has problems and they can fix them if the user allows them to remote into the device. They use tactics that are as generic and vague as possible, to avoid having to mention any specifics; and, since some people (especially those who have computers that are a few years old) find that their system’s performance is sluggish, they will give these people access. This typically ends in disaster.
We’re starting to see that scammers are getting sneakier, and citing specific information about a user, like their computer’s model and serial numbers. Beyond that, they possess a lot of information about the user, including the device owner’s telephone number, email address, customer number, the device’s model number and their name.
This is just the latest in what is a growing trend of sophisticated social engineering scams that are targeting technology consumers and end-users. One problem is that these scammers are calling people who have purchased products from some of the largest and most well-respected hardware and software distributors in the world. Companies like Lenovo, Microsoft, Apple, Dell, and more have all had support scammers falsely represent their companies, and with these new tactics increasing their effectiveness, expect these situations to grow in frequency.
What You Should Do?
It’s important to understand that no matter how proactive your IT support is, there is very little chance a manufacturer will call you to report issues with your computer, unless you’ve deliberately signed up for a service that does. Even then, there will be a pretty stringent authorization process attached to the support. Major technology vendors understand the types of threats out there, and while they want everyone that purchases their products and services to have a good experience, they are also huge corporations and don’t typically call people up to help them fix their computer issues, unless they are scheduled to do so.
If you get a call like this, it’s better to play it safe than to be sorry later. This is doubly true if you share a network with other users. If you give an unwanted entity access to your system it could have negative effects on the entire network. So while it is true that the IT support scams are an industry-wide problem, ensuring a business’ users aren’t duped into allowing access to these nefarious parties is important.
At Palindrome Consulting, we make a point to help our clients promote industry best practices to their company’s users to ensure that they aren’t putting the company in bad positions. For more information about IT support scams, what real IT support looks like, and how to promote solid practices to your staff, call us today at 305-944-7300.