LifeLine Your Tech Team wants to alert our customers to a problem encountered recently by some Internet users. Some tech support companies have employed aggressive and misleading advertisements to lure computer owners into believing they’ve encountered problems with their personal computers. These types of ads suggest customers require immediate repair services.

In The News Recently

During 2017 alone, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reportedly became aware of a large number of incidents involving fraudulent computer technical support schemes. Various advertisers sought to convince consumers their computers required urgent repair assistance. The law enforcement agency received approximately 11,000 formal complaints about this subject, in fact. The number of reports filed between 2016 and 2017 jumped by 86%.(1)

The issue of deceptive tech support ads gained traction last year. Google, a large information technology firm, initiated a new screening policy for technical support ads during 2018. The company decided to restrict ads for some tech support services due to the problem of fraudulent or misleading content.(1)

Common Types of Deceptive Tech Support Ads

Several variations of advertising last year sought to confuse consumers and prompt them to seek immediate IT support assistance. One widespread scam involved a misleading alert pop up message. It would appear on an Internet surfer’s screen and incorrectly indicate the victim’s computer had acquired a virus and needed immediate service. Another common scam involves telephone calls made by people posing as technicians from well-known computer makers or large software firms. The callers attempt to persuade computer owners to obtain service for their PCs. These unsolicited calls seek to convince victims to sign up for expensive technical support assistance.

More recently, scammers created a popup ad threatening online visitors with jail time and hefty penalties for copyright infringement. The ad directs victims to call a specific number to have their computer “unblocked” by the U.S. government. The misleading advertising seeks to direct victims to dial a technical support phone number. Experts urge consumers to simply close the browser and not to contact the number in question.(2)

Legitimate Repair Services

Customers should remember legitimate computer repair firms do not engage in scare tactics or issue misleading advertising. Effective antivirus and anti-malware software products and ad-blocking software sometimes offer assistance safeguarding computers against these online threats. Only seek repair services for actual computer malfunctions.