New BBB study shows tech support fraud continues to impact millions

New BBB study shows tech support fraud continues to impact millions

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - Every year millions fall victim to internet scams and this year is no different.

That's why a new investigative study was released Monday by the Better Business Bureau. Tech support is one of the top scams the BBB sees. Now officials are trying to slow down the worldwide problem that includes Texoma.

One of the first things people do every day is log on to their computer once they wake up. To many, it's a safe zone. But in reality, it's anything but.

Some computer experts are acting like Microsoft Tech Support workers, stealing money and information, and placing malware on your computer.

In March Sherry Thomas was shopping on her brand new laptop when it locked up and she got a pop-up saying her computer had a virus and to call tech support. She did.

"I gave her access to my computer," Thomas said. "She got in there and started doing a whole bunch of stuff. I don't really know what it was."

Turns out it was a scam and Thomas was charged $179.

"I felt a little violated," she said. "I felt dumb."

It's why International Investigations Specialist Steve Baker authored a new ten-page report that documents his study on the worldwide problem of tech support fraud.

"Lots and lots of people have been ripped off by these tech support frauds and they don't even know that they've been ripped off because they think they really did have a problem with their computer," Baker said. "Really there is nothing wrong with their computers, to begin with."

The survey found that two out of three people have been exposed to one of these scams.

"If consumers are aware and familiar with the way these types of scams work, it can prevent them from becoming a victim," Horton said. "And that's our goal with this study."

If you get a pop-up with a phone number and your computer locks up, the BBB urges you to not call the number. You're encouraged to turn your computer off and take it to a brick and mortar computer store.

Experts said turning the computer off and back on is usually enough to fix the problem as well. Horton said a majority of the tech support frauds are coming from call centers in India.

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