Tech Support Scams

What are Tech Support Scams?

Scammers sometimes impersonate tech support staff and claim to know that something is wrong with your computer. They offer to help you fix the problem—usually for a fee—but instead steal your money, infect your computer with malicious software, or steal your personal information. If they gain access to your university or Michigan Medicine computer, sensitive information may be put at risk.

The scammers do this through pop-ups on the web and through phone calls.

Pop-Ups on the Web

You may see alarming pop-ups (some of which include audio) while using your web browser.

  • The pop-up may say your computer is infected or compromised in some way, or that supicious activity has been detected. It may block use of the browser.
  • The pop-up may urge you to call a phone number for tech support assistance or click a link.
  • If you call the number or click the link, you may be asked to provide personal information and remote access to your computer.

What you should do: Close the pop-ups! Do not call the number or click the link. Do not provide personal information or access to your computer.

Phone Calls

You may receive phone calls from con artists claiming to be tech support from Microsoft, Dell, and other major software and computer companies.

  • The callers may claim that they have detected viruses or other problems on your computer and offer to "fix" the problems for a fee.
  • They may try to convince you to give them permission to run a program giving them remote access to your computer.

What you should do: Hang up the phone! Do not provide personal information or access to your computer.

Get Help from Known Support Providers

  • If you need help with your work computer, contact your departmental IT support staff.
  • For your personal computer, contact Tech Repair or another local, reputable repair service.
  • If you have questions, contact the ITS Service Center or, at Michigan Medicine, the HITS Service Desk.

If You Got Caught

If you think you got caught by one of these scams, take action to protect your information and university computing resources.

If you gave out U-M info, such as your UMICH password, or allowed access to your university-owned computer:

If you gave out personal info, such as your credit card number,

  • Notify your credit card provider. You may need to have your card replaced.
  • File a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center
  • Put a fraud alert or hold on your credit report.

See the Safe Computing Identity Theft page for more details on preventing and responding to identity theft.