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If they called you, they probably aren’t good

A constant plague on the population of home computer users is the tech support/computer infection scam.  Basically when someone calls you saying your computer is infected, or when a popup suddenly appears on your screen warning about an infection, you can be sure it’s a scam.  The fact of the matter is that tech companies don’t contact you.  They want you to buy their products of course, but if you have a problem you are supposed to call them.  Tech companies do not keep staff on hand hunting around for problems on peoples’ machines.

Of course there are a few exceptions.  If you pay for a security program to monitor your computer then occasionally you will get a warning message saying that a site is suspicious or a download could be dangerous.  These messages will always identify themselves as the security program you are subscribed to, and they will always be a message, never a person.

Fortunately the more these scammers show up the more we can learn their tricks.  Here are some tips from the FTC on how to spot and report these kinds of scams: