Phone Support Scams – Don’t call us, we’ll call you!

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Most of you by now must have either experienced this if not heard someone who has, where you will get a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft or your phone provider, etc.  See my previous article: http://blog.twinbytes.ca/calls-from-microsoft-about-computer-problems-phone-scam/

Now that consumers have gotten educated and know better (most of you at least), there is a new method they use.  They don’t call you, you call them!  You type in some keywords into a search to find phone support for Gmail for example.  Whoever happens to do the better job making their website at the top of the list will show up.  By the way, there is no phone support for Gmail unless you are a paying subscriber for Google Business Apps.

You’re already frustrated and just want help, so you call without giving it a second thought.  Someone answers the phone and is more than happy to help immediately.  They want to charge you so much for the job, but then they start telling you that you need this, that and something else.  Red flags start going up in your mind, something is not right here.  That’s usually when I get the call that they thought they were calling tech support for a certain company but instead they got someone else and they’re asking for more money.

Sometimes they do the job requested but just charge a lot, sometimes they charge little but then upsell for things you don’t need.  I had a client call someone for HP printer support thinking they could help with the printer but they wanted to charge so much and started saying they don’t have virus protection, etc.  They knew that wasn’t true because I just serviced their computer and all they wanted was help setting up a new scanner.  I went in remotely while they were still connected. I saw they were running some script which was highly suspicious and extremely unnecessary.  Also, I fixed the main issue they needed resolved with the printer in 10 minutes.  It didn’t need 2 hours of all kinds of work at 4 times the price.  In fact there was nothing wrong at all, just some training on how to use it.

Basically, if you need support for anything to do with your computer, find a local computer tech to help you.  If they can’t help, they should be able to direct you to someone who can.  Don’t search for phone support for any specific company EVER!  I can’t stress this enough.  Gmail for example has no tech support.  Even if you are with Google Business Apps and they provide tech support for your Google Business Apps, that does not include all Google services.  Also, when it comes to Yahoo, Hotmail, or any other webmail services, there is no phone number you can call.  If you do find a phone number, it’s a scam artist you just called and although they may fix your issue, they could have planted something in your computer for recurring business and they could have stolen information from you for identity theft.  If you need help with a service that has no phone support, call your local tech support like TwinBytes if you are local to Markham, Ontario.

Companies merge and sell out, etc. so you may find tech support for something like Hotmail through a company like Microsoft.  In which case, don’t search for Hotmail support, and don’t search for Microsoft support either.  Instead go directly to www.microsoft.com and ask for help.  If you’re not sure who to call just pick one and ask.  They will hopefully redirect you to the appropriate company.  In many cases you can’t just get a phone number to call, you have to generate a ticket number first and they will call you back referencing that ticket you created.

Below are some websites for support with some major companies for your convenience.  Notice the format how it usually starts with support in front of the website address instead of www.

https://support.google.com/
https://support.google.com/business (Support for business includes call back)
https://support.microsoft.com/en-ca (Includes Hotmail support in some cases. Click through what you need help with until you get to the point you can request a call)
https://www.facebook.com/help/
http://support.rogers.com/ (1-888-Rogers1 – Support for Yahoo.com webmail in some cases)
http://support.hp.com (HP printer and other products)
http://www.canon.com/support/ (Canon printer and other products)
http://www.samsung.com/us/support/ (Samsung printers and other products)
http://www.support.xerox.com/support/enus.html (Xerox printers and other products)
http://www.ricoh.ca/en-Ca/Support/Contact-Ricoh.html (Ricoh printer support)

About Daniel Gauthier

work as a peace officer in various forms. Daniel wrote a book in 2009 called “Tech-Knowledgy” which got him on television and radio a few times. The concept behind the book was “to level the playing field between computer techs and non-techies so they don’t get take advantage of”. Daniel has a couple certifications including MCP and A+; he is preparing to write the Network+ exam and has studied CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker) and CHFI (Computer Hacking Forensics Investigator). Daniel has run his own computer service business “TwinBytes” since 2004. He has done a few talks on cyber security and generally enjoys training, educating and helping others.