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Learn to protect yourself from the Technical Support scam

How many calls from call centers do you receive per month? How often do unrecognized numbers, with different dialing codes, appear on the screen of your smartphone? Yes, we know. Way too many!

And amidst all these attempts at contact, some are authentic while others are scams that are really hard to identify. These are known as Technical Support scams.

What is the Technical Support scam?

Call scams are crimes whereby fraudsters pretend to work for a store or bank where you’re a customer. Usually, the scammers come up with a false situation or induce the victim to share data to complete an operation.

Now, let’s find out how to identify them and protect ourselves!

How the Technical Support scam work

The leading tricks used by criminals to convince victims that the contact is authentic include:

  • Creating an emergency: criminals usually create a concerning situation that must be resolved urgently. For example, they may say a suspicious transaction has been made in your name and that you need to update security protocols for your account or device. This way, victims are more likely to cooperate.

  • Using technical jargon: knowing and reproducing the same language used by authentic call center employees, banks and stores, also make the scam more efficient.

  • Providing accurate data: criminals often get their hands on some of your real information, like name, age, address and even a past purchase. They gather this information by invading private systems or even by analyzing posts by victims on social networks. As such, even if some of your data checks out during the call, remain attentive, because that doesn’t count for much in today’s world.

  • Using official numbers: some criminals use applications that mask phone numbers. As such, they can simulate the official numbers of banks and major institutions to make it even harder to spot the scam.

How to identify and avoid this scam?

To avoid fraud attempts, pay special attention to the following types of calls:

  • Urgent problem: be wary of calls that present urgent problems with your account, especially if the caller insists that it must be resolved during the call.

  • Super benefit: be wary of calls from stores or TV, Internet and network providers offering major benefits in exchange for financial information or immediate payment. 

  • App updates via phone call: no company will attempt to update its application via a phone call. Updates usually can be installed in the actual app and are often automatic.

  • The five-minute rule: in some cases, when criminals realize the victim is smelling a rat, they often suggest ending the call and contacting the bank or store through official channels. However, they can intercept a telephone line for a few minutes after a call has ended. The victim then attempts to connect a new call, but, in truth, the criminal remains on the line. As such, if you are suspicious of a call, wait a few minutes before attempting to contact the institution via the official number.

  • Data confirmation: if a caller asks you to confirm or provide personal data or passwords, end the call immediately. Legitimate companies don’t make these types of calls.


Unfortunately, everyone stands a chance of falling victim to a Technical Support scam. But all you need to do to protect yourself is pay attention to the details and understand that our data and information are precious and personal assets. 

Article originally written in Portuguese by Perallis Security Content Team: Aprenda a se proteger do Golpe da Falsa Central de Atendimento — Perallis Security