Columbus, Ohio - Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning consumers to beware of tech support scams, which have been reported by dozens of Ohioans in recent weeks.
Tech support scams (also known as computer repair scams) often begin when consumers receive a phone call or warning message claiming there's a problem with their computer. They are asked to follow a series of instructions, and ultimately, they're told to provide payment, access to their device, or personal information so the operator can address the supposed problem. Consumers who follow the instructions risk losing money and compromising their personal information.
The Ohio Attorney General's Help Center logged more than 60 reports of the scam in September. While most consumers haven't reported losing any money, some said they lost thousands of dollars.
"Instead of fixing problems, phony tech support operators just cause more problems," Attorney General DeWine said. "They take money to correct problems that don't actually exist, and they put consumers' personal information at risk. We want to warn people to be very careful any time they get an unexpected message or call saying there's a problem with their device."
Tips to avoid tech support scams include:
Earlier this year, Attorney General DeWine announced an action along with the Federal Trade Commission to shut down a computer repair scam operation. In August, Attorney General DeWine also filed a lawsuit against a company called IGeeksOnline and a Columbus woman accused of misleading consumers about tech support services.
Warnings about computer repair scams are part of the Attorney General's "Ohio Protects" initiative, which aims to help Ohioans recognize and avoid scams. The initiative includes several videos (including one about the computer repair scam), which can be found at www.OhioProtects.org/Videos.
Today's warning also coincides with National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (October), which highlights the importance of cybersecurity.
To report a potential scam to the Ohio Attorney General's Office, call 800-282-0515 or visit www.OhioProtects.org.