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AARP Arkansas Warns of Fake Tech-Support Scams

The AARP Fraud Watch Network is warning computer users of unsolicited phone calls from fraudulent tech-support centers. (BrianAJackson/iStockphoto)
The AARP Fraud Watch Network is warning computer users of unsolicited phone calls from fraudulent tech-support centers. (BrianAJackson/iStockphoto)
November 21, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – People who are not computer experts, which includes many people, often worry about their digital device getting a virus and not knowing how to fix it.

However, according to the AARP Fraud Watch Network, Arkansans and others need to beware of someone claiming that your computer, tablet or smartphone has a virus and it needs to be fixed.

Lou Tobian, associate state director of outreach and education at AARP Arkansas, says impersonating tech support from major companies such as Apple or Google is one of the latest scams designed to steal your identity, your money or both.

"They're pretty insidious and they're pretty good at making themselves believable,” he states. “Microsoft conducted a survey – 20 percent of the respondents continued with potential fraudulent interactions and 10 percent lost money," he relates.

Tobian says the help desk ruse – also called a phishing scam – has been used against hundreds of thousands of Americans, who have lost an estimated $1.5 billion.

He says typically, a caller will claim to have detected a problem with your computer, then insist you provide a credit card number and allow the remote control your computer.

Tobian says that's a bad idea.

"If you get somebody on the phone who claims to be a tech support person, hang up,” he insists. “Don't talk to them and certainly don't give control of your computer to a third party who just calls you out of the blue, even if they sound legitimate."

Tobian says if you are having computer problems, call tech support at the company that made your computer or sold you the software. Don't just pick someone off the Internet.

Tobian adds that you don't need to be an AARP member to get help.

"When AARP founded the Fraud Watch Network two years ago, we did it because we realized that fraud and ID theft and scams were hitting every generation," he states.

For more information, go to AARP.org/techscams.


Mark Richardson, Public News Service - AR