Safety & Security

August 6, 2021

At PeoplesBank, the security and privacy of your information is a top priority. We have recently been made aware of several scams that involve tech support and wanted to provide you with resources to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

What Are Tech Support Scams?

Tech support scams are a profitable way for scammers to steal your money. They can appear in different varieties such as pop ups on your computer, fake emails, or telephone calls purportedly from a well-known company like Microsoft, Apple, McAfee, Geek Squad or other tech companies. These methods try to lure you into giving “tech support” remote access to your computers for purposes of identifying viruses, malware and other problems, which are always found whether or not they actually existed. Providing anyone with remote access to your computer can lead to a myriad of issues including identity theft or the downloading of ransomware. While the methods are similar, let’s take a look at each one individually to see how they work.

Pop Ups

Pop ups on your computer will try to scare you into thinking that there has been a virus detected on your computer.  A phone number is provided so that you can speak to a live technician. Calling that toll free number just connects you with the scammer, pretending to be an associate of the company, who asks that you provide remote access to your computer so that they can fix the issue. The person on the phone pretends to run diagnostic tests on your computer and finds a “virus” or other security issue. They then try to sell you repair services or a subscription to their security services. They will ask for account information and sometimes even ask you to login to online banking and transfer the money to them on the spot. Not only are you paying the scammer, but they now have access to even more of your account information.

Telephone Calls

Telephone calls from tech support scams tend to come out of the blue. You receive a call from someone purportedly from one of these large tech companies and they have the same pitch. They have detected a virus on your computer and ask you to help them set up remote access so they can fix it. Or, they tell you that your security protection software subscription has run out and needs to be renewed. They may also ask for account or credit card information to collect payment in order to continue with their services.


Emails have become more and more frequent and most recently they appear as a receipt for payment. These emails are made to look like the real thing and can be very convincing. The scammers copy logos off of the company’s website and format the emails in the same manner as the company. The email tells you that your membership or subscription has been renewed for another year and your account has been charged X amount of dollars. They even provide a phone number for you to call if you have any questions. That phone number would then lead you right to the scammer, where you could be lured into providing information that could lead to identity theft.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself

If you receive a pop-up, phone call, or email about a virus on your computer, stop and think.
  • Legitimate companies do not display pop up warnings asking you to call a toll-free number about viruses or security problems.
  • Don’t click links or call a phone number.  Always look up the legitimate phone number for that company before calling.  
  • Do not send money, gift cards or make a wire transfer to cover these nefarious memberships or subscriptions.
  • Never allow access to your online banking accounts or provide your login credentials to someone else.
  • Do not provide remote access to your devices.

If you receive an email about a product or service that you do not currently have or recognize, here are a few tips to help you determine if the email you received is legitimate:
  • Check the sender’s email address to see if it matches the company name.
  • Is the email addressed to you or is it a generic salutation like “Hello”? If you are being contacted about your membership or subscription, the email should be addressed specifically to you.
  • Google the contact number to see if it is associated with the business or company that is emailing you.
For more information related to tech support scams and additional tips for recognizing them, please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website.


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