6 Signs You May Be Speaking With a Tech Support Scam

Recently, the cybersecurity world was shocked by the exposure of a tech support scam that allegedly conned elderly folks out of over $1.3 million dollars. The 3 hackers, who were charged with running the scam, targeted older populations by using threatening pop-ups and pretending to be the technical support staff at large computer companies. Keep reading to learn how to tell if you’re speaking with FixMeStick or a tech support scam.

Here at FixMeStick headquarters, we run FixMeStick scans regularly, keep our McAfee antivirus programs updated, and follow the advice in this article to stay safe from cyber threats like these. When you call us, we do our best to treat every customer like our own family. However, not all customer support is this genuine.

First off, what does FixMeStick support look like?

The team here at FixMeStick HQ in Montreal, Canada.
  • We don’t make you pay. As long as you’re a FixMeStick customer, we’re here to help you for free.
  • We don’t outsource our tech support. When you call us, you’re calling our head office. We have no authorized third party support services.
  • We don’t hide our refund policy or knowledge base. We try to be as honest and transparent as possible.
  • We do offer customer support from 10 am to 6 pm ET, 6 days a week!

6 Signs You May Be Speaking To A Tech Support Scam:

1. Receiving an outbound call. If you receive a call from someone saying that you have an issue with your computer, take caution! How could they possibly know you have a malware issue, or even a computer? Hang up and block/reject the number.

2. Getting warning pop-ups with a number to call. Do not call the number. We know these messages can be scary, but remember to instantly close out of the pop-up without clicking on any links displayed. Learn the difference between real and fake pop-ups here.

3. Clicking on an ad by mistake. If you contact us through an ad chances are you’re not speaking with genuine FixMeStick support. Remember – we do not outsource our support. Always double check the website – it should only ever be www.FixMeStick.com.

Here are some example ads. FixMeStick is not downloadable. If you see a link that tells you to download FixMeStick it is definitely a scam.

4. Someone claiming to be a reputable company like Microsoft or Apple. These are multi-billion dollar companies – they will not be contacting you directly. You can contact Microsoft support by phone through these numbers only, or use their lengthy knowledge base to address specific issues. And here is Apple’s official support page.

5. Asking for access to your computer or requiring you to download “software”. Usually, they’re making you install malware. Only allow remote access to your computer if:

  • You have contacted the company directly
  • The individuals connecting to your device have given you detailed account information that verifies they are actual representatives from the company
  • The company’s support and contact information was from their legitimate website

6. Offering “free” security services out of the blue. These “free” services are usually malware themselves or programs to make it look like you have malware. After getting access to your computer through these ‘free’ services, or getting your account information, they will then charge you without authorization or hold your computer hostage until you pay a large ransom.

What should you do if you think you were a victim of a tech support scam?

  1. If you believe you may have given remote access to an unknown entity, make sure to instantly shut down your computer.
  2. Run a FixMeStick scan. This is the first step to getting your computer clean and free of any malware installed by a scammer.
  3. Install and/or update your antivirus protection. Antivirus programs, like McAfee Total Protection, play a key role as a 24/7 barrier against incoming malware threats. Keeping these programs up-to-date means that they have a better chance blocking viruses! Save on McAfee Total Protection here.

And don’t forget, always contact FixMeStick support through our Contact Us page on our website. If you’re ever unsure, ask us – we’re happy to help! Have any questions about tech support scams or any other scams? Leave them in the comments below.

22 comments

  1. Anonymous - Reply

    I used online tech support once 8 years ago. Immediately my credit card company had me change credit cards. I have been hounded by them ever since. I keep blocking their calls. They have no access to my computer as it was reformatted twice and I use Fixmestick regularly.

    • Keegan Anfield - Reply

      Oh no! Glad to hear you’re using your FixMeStick regularly.

    • Slickster - Reply

      The same thing happened to me. I am on a lot of pain medication, which is when they got me. Payment and everything. As soon as my wife heard what I was doing, which was after I was done giving credit card number, I hadn’t given any computer information, but managed to keep him on another phone long enough, and contacted staples right away, and told him what was going, and asked him if
      he knows about this company. He said they have a list of some of these illegal companies, and this one was on it. He told me to immediately shut my computer off and bring it to him. I had hung up the phone before they could do anything to my computer, but not before they got $480usd from my credit card. I called the credit card company, and told them my story. They would return my money if I gave them proof that the company was crooked. I was able to email them a letter from Staples the information they needed. The money was back on my credit card the next day, which I then closed, and got a different one. The company called, texted, and emailed me. They threatened to take legal action, even had someone acting as a lawyer email me. What a joke. They kept this up initially, for about 6 months. Then about 6 months later they called again. I figured they had given up. But, no, it was them. I didn’t recognize the number, so, I answered the call. You see, any correspondence between us, had been by email. Then the calls continued from different states. In one email that I had sent previously I had told them that I know my legal rights. The calls have stopped, because I started imitating other nationalities and playing different people telling them that the person they had looked for has moved.

  2. Paul - Reply

    The sad thing is the scammers will only be given a slap on the wrist at most, and that’s only if they are caught. Until governments start pushing for scammers doing hard time, minimum of 10 years, these types of things will continue. I use my Fixmestick every month, I know that I don’t have to, but it gives me peace of mind that my system is clean and functioning normally.

  3. Mabria - Reply

    I thought I was dealing with HP Support and they downloaded a program to access my computer. They said I had a virus and they were fixing it. Well they charged me bunches of money with a three year guarantee. They called back in April and said their servers went down and they needed to refund my money since they couldn’t protect my computer. I said just credit the money back to my credit card and that’s when my nightmare began. Then they accessed my computer and tried to charge $427.00 to my card. Fraud Alert called me and we stopped it but then they tried opening a credit card to Paypal. I got that stopped and then to some gift card and then Bitcoin! I tried removing sapremo. Can’t get it removed. I’m thinking I need to just delete it all and reinstall my windows operating system. They do prey on the older generation and I think if I reload windows and I’ve changed my passwords I’ll be ok!

    • Keegan Anfield - Reply

      Hi Pedro,

      FixMeStick updates automatically so you should be good to go.

      Best,
      Keegan

  4. P Posey - Reply

    These articles were so helpful, especially the info on Microsoft and their phone numbers. I have been afraid to call any of the numbers I find on the Internet because of all the bogus companies claiming to be Microsoft “techs”. Thank you so much. Great general information also. The FixMeStick is wonderful and I use it regularly and frequently.

  5. Sylvia Wadley - Reply

    There is a square icon that looks like a red or blue cross that is usually in my picture section and when I click on it it turns into a window that says technical support. And it shows that it is connecting which I always try to stop the connection. Well I have tried to delete it, but I can not seem to delete it. It disappears. Another time I saw it in the picture section and it was a light blue cross and I was able to delete part of them ( it seem to have mutipled) In my recycle bin when I went to empty it, all of them would not delete. I exited and checked the next day they were gone. I am thinking, this thing could still be hiding on my hard drive somewhere. I did run my fixmestick and it did not find anything. Can you help me with some suggestions. Thanks in advance for your help.

  6. Clair Atwell - Reply

    I have had occasions where my computer refuses to react to any of my requests, my only salvation has been my Fix Me Stick. Using the Bio feature has restored things, however, Fix Me Stick then requests a full ‘Scan’ be performed, that can take up to 3 hours, small inconvenience to correct the problem. Thanks for the recoveries!

  7. Richard Hewitt - Reply

    Sirs I was hit with this just yesterday (6/6) at first I was unable to do anything. So I called the number and got there tech who at first try to have me enter some come but it didn’t work. So I let them have remod access to my computer. At first it looks like they were cleaning it up but after a bit I started get a sales pitch for some hardware. After turning it down they keep try and I keep saying no. After a bit more they try to get me to bye it they said I would have to agree not to suit they if I didn’t take the hardware and someone else got into my system. At first I say no but I gave in say OK. At this point they closed down what every was running and restart my computer when it came back on it was locked up again and I am unable to get into it . Guess I will have to take it into the shop to have them take care of it. Richard Hewitt, Newport News VA.

  8. james wrigley - Reply

    Why can’t I run the Fixme stick anymore? I put it in and nothing happens. My computer is going crazy with adds popping up everywhere, taking me out of google searches,

  9. DOREEN THIRION - Reply

    When I try to run my fixmestick I have been getting (for several months now) the following error: F:\ is not accessible. The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable. What can I do?

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