Tech Support Scams
You go to use your computer like usual. You start it up, log in, and instead of seeing your empty desktop, there’s a pop-up saying that your computer is in immediate danger due to viruses or other kinds of threats. You might try to close the pop-up, but there is no way to do so. You might then notice that the pop-up gives you a phone number to call for tech support. They’ll claim to be Microsoft, Apple, Google, or some other reputable company, and before they can help you with your computer virus needs, they’ll ask for money. They’ll take that money and you will never hear from them again.
It’s called a tech support scam. A particularly popular scam currently because it works. When you’re being told that your expensive piece of technology is in immediate danger and you’re clearly given a phone number to solve your problems, it can be easy to forget that a world of scammers is out to get you at all times. However, it is important to remember that IT support will never contact you that way. Real support messages can always be closed, and companies like Microsoft will never ask you to send them money for help. If you do see such a pop-up, contact the company that manages your device or your IT provider. Also, you should be able to close the pop-up through the task manager which you can access by pressing the control, alt, and delete keys at the same time.
The most important takeaway, as always with scams, is that you should never send money to anyone who petitions you for it on the internet or over the phone. Also, if anyone ever asks you to pay via gift cards or Bitcoin, they’re most certainly a scammer. If you have any questions, or you’re a business owner in need of simple and effective tech support, feel free to contact us here at Nice Guy Technology. We’re here to help.
Gift Card Scams
You’ve won the lottery, they’ll say! Or maybe your computer is virus-ridden they’ll say. Before receiving your funds or your IT support, they might ask you to pay a small sum… with gift cards?
Gift card scams are relatively easy to spot compared to the majority, but it’s still important to discuss them. A gift card scam is a scam where someone will ask you, for any reason, to direct a sum of money their way using gift cards. They might request gift cards for a service they’re promising to render or as a fee before you receive a prize. It works the same way as any other scam, but gift cards are simpler to steal. There’s a world of fraud and financial complexity that a scammer needs to brave when reaching into your wallet, but getting you to hand over the identification number on a simple gift card is a clean and efficient way of stealing from you.
To put it bluntly, no upstanding institution will ever ask you for a gift card. That’s just not how the trading of goods and services works, and if anyone ever does ask you, they are without a doubt a scammer. Just remember: Gift cards are for giving, nothing else! As always, if you’re a business owner and you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us here at Nice Guy Technology. We’re here to help.
Okay, computers are complicated. Everybody knows it, even IT professionals understand how infuriatingly complex computers can be sometimes! Unfortunately, the average computer owner doesn’t know what it takes to make a computer last, and you may have wondered in the past why that factory new performance and speed turns into the unbearably sluggish piece of junk we’ve all dealt with at some point or another. And you can’t be blamed for not knowing either, because a computer’s need for maintenance isn’t talked about and as widely known as a car’s for instance.
Even if you aren’t a big car person, and I am not, we all know about the basic upkeep that a car requires. Topping up the tank, getting an oil change, putting air in the tires are all things we know we have to do, because if left unchecked, they could cause much bigger problems. Computers are exactly the same way! If you don’t at least occasionally pay attention to your computer’s needs, it can cause lasting damages down the road.
Secondly, both need to be cleaned every once in a while. Neglecting a car’s hygiene won’t only make it look bad, it will also make it rust faster which in turn can interfere with its performance. While your computer won’t quite rust over, you have to be on the lookout for dust. I know, I know, the most common indoor annoyance since the existence of particles is difficult to keep at bay but checking the inside of your computer periodically will really go a long way. If you find dust clogging up the inside, use a can of air to blow it loose and a soft cloth to wipe it down. Dusting the inside of a computer can go a long way towards staving off damage down the road.
Thirdly, we like cars to go fast. Not everyone wants to be a speed demon, but at the very least we want to go fast enough to get where we’re going in a reasonable amount of time. Once again, that sounds exactly like what we expect out of our computers. Waiting for something to load on a computer is a comparable experience to sitting in rush hour traffic sometimes. And just like rush hour, you might be dealing with this problem on a regular basis, if not every day. There are a number of both free and not-so-free tips on how to speed up your computer on our video "How To Speed Up Your Computer".
Another huge similarity is the need for safety features and precautions. We care about them a lot on our cars, and for good reason. There’s a good reason that a car’s brakes can always overpower its engine. Turn signals aren’t only there for convenience, they’re there so that you can let nearby drivers and pedestrians what you’re doing, and everyone’s safer for it. Anti-virus works the same way. Sure, your computer’s security may not be a matter of life and death like a car, but it very much is a matter of financial ruin, identity theft, and losing your control of your social media, which is scary for a myriad of reasons. If you’re a business owner, this is especially important. For example, sixty percent of businesses that are hit with ransom-ware attacks go out of business within six months. Being lax on IT security can lead to the loss of your very livelihood. Consult your IT provider to make sure you have more than enough protection.
If you still need your IT secured, give us a call here at Nice Guy Technology. We’re here to help.
Watch Out for "Phishermen"
You’ve likely heard the term “phishing” before, but what exactly does it mean? Well, phishing refers to when hackers disguise themselves as trusted sources to try to trick you into “taking the bait” so to speak, so that they can steal your sensitive information. These phishing attempts can come in the form of email, text messages or phone calls and often times appear to be legitimate.
Let’s talk about a few tricks you can use to protect yourself from phishing scams:
Never send passwords or personal information via email. Your information is the primary thing that hackers and scammers are looking for, and they’ll use it to access your finances or anything else they can use to make a profit at your expense.
Secondly, don’t click unexpected links or open unexpected attachments. Hackers use these to install viruses on your device, and you likely won’t know the extent of the damage until it’s far too late.
It’s also important to hover your cursor over links to reveal the actual URL. If the real URL is different from the one that appeared to be legitimate, then that’s a huge red flag that something is wrong! You’ll also want to check the URL and the message for misspellings and poor grammar. It’s incredibly unlikely that a legitimate company will be sending out haphazardly written materials, and far more likely that a criminal would do exactly that.
Please, if you receive an email, text, or voice message that seems phishy, check with your IT department or feel free to contact us here, at Nice Guy Technology! We’re here to help.
(614) 233-1648 (Voice)
(614) 233-1495 (Text)
1078 Goodale Blvd.
Columbus, OH 43212