3 On Your Side

Fake tech-support websites luring new victims

ICANN's WHOIS resource can help you learn about the people behind any website. (Source: 3TV) ICANN's WHOIS resource can help you learn about the people behind any website. (Source: 3TV)

3 On Your Side has reported before about Valley residents getting phone calls from people looking to scam them. These callers say they want to remove viruses from the mark's computer. 

Phone calls have come out of the clear blue claiming to be with Microsoft or other well-known companies. But in reality the fake computer technicians are crooks who want to remotely install malicious software on your computer so they can steal your identity and your money. 

The Federal Trade Commission has issued plenty of warnings about the scam and consumers are finally catching on. 

Technology expert Ken Colburn of Data Doctors said crooks know that and have changed tactics.

"There are lots of websites posing as official support sites," he said. "They’re very sophisticated in the way that they're setting this thing up."

Colburn says scammers are creating websites that look like authentic tech-support companies. They frequently show up as pop-up ads and replicate Windows or other anti-virus security programs. 

"They'll do anything they can to pretend like they're a legitimate service provider," Colburn explained.

And if that fake tech reels you in, Colburn says they'll keep coming back over and over again. 

"One lady was scammed over a year and a half of upwards $8,000," Colburn said. "She was convinced over and over again that she had a problem and that they had to go in, and they charged her every time. [They] even sold her a $3,000 piece of security hardware all under the auspices of protecting her and protecting her from the bad guys."

To keep from getting ripped off, Colburn says there is a tool that consumers can use to sniff out those fake websites. It's called ICANN WHOIS, and it's very easy to use.

"Just put the web address in and click on lookup; you'll get a lot of great information," Colburn said.

Colburn said every website out there has to be registered by somebody. But who that somebody is and how long their website has been around can give you hints about the person behind the site, the person with whom you are dealing.

Colburn typed in one website as an example. 

"Here’s someone that claims to be doing a lot of tech services," he said. "The website was created December of 2014, so less than a year ago and it's set to expire. Basically, they've just registered for a year. It’s obvious these folks don't intend to keep this website up and running."

Colburn went on to explain that when these scammers are exposed, they simply start up business again by creating another website to lure in new victims.

"Once the reputation on the Internet becomes soiled, they just move on and create a new name and a new web address," he said.

For additional information, check out DataDoctors.com.

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