Ever get a call from a 'technician' claiming he has detected issues with your computer?  That wasn't McAfee Support.  Ever search online for 'McAfee Support' and end up with a company charging you money to fix your McAfee product issue?  That wasn't McAfee Support.  Since you're reading this blog on a mcafee.com web page, chances are, you've found the legitimate McAfee Support page for Consumer products.  Just in case, here it is:  http://service.mcafee.com.

 

The problem has been growing in recent years, so much so that the US Federal Trade Commission has begun addressing it. Companies are falsely representing themselves as the official source of technical support for various products, including software.  In search engines, a common trick is to use the name of the targeted company in a site's description, even though the advertiser has no affiliation with the maker of the product.

 

Why is this bad?

  1. McAfee doesn't charge customers to help out with McAfee product issues.  These competing companies charge fees, sometimes large ones.
  2. Often, these 'Support' companies don't have access to back-end resources, required to fully address some product and account issues.  In fact, while charging you money, these companies will often call McAfee - claiming to be you, so they can get issues handled...which would have been free if you'd come directly to us!
  3. Nobody knows McAfee products better than McAfee technicians.

How to spot a misleading advertisementTypically, the easiest way to spot a legitimate McAfee site from an impostor is to look for the term that immediately precedes the last 'dot-com' (.com) in the web address.  Example:  official-mcafee-support.fixmeup.com would not be a legitimate McAfee page.  http://service.mcafee.com or home.mcafee.com would be legitimate. Not_McAfee.pngA more serious threat is the cold-caller Support representative who claims to have detected issues on your computer, and wants to help you address it.  As soon as you agree to let them take remote access of your computer, they often attempt to baffle you with computer diagnostic screens, and almost always inform you that your computer has been infected with multiple viruses.  That's when the promise of repair...for a fee, isdelivered.  No malware on your computer, but a big charge on your credit card.  One of the most notable offendors, according to the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is PCCare247, against which charges have been filedIf the company is calling you, and claiming they have detected issues on your computer - hang up. Here are some other tips from the FTC:

  • Don’t give control of your computer to a third party who calls you out of the blue.
  • Do not rely on caller ID alone to authenticate a caller. Criminals spoof caller ID numbers. They may appear to be calling from a legitimate company or a local number, when they’re not even in the same country as you.
  • Online search results might not be the best way to find technical support or get a company’s contact information. Scammers sometimes place online ads to convince you to call them. They pay to boost their ranking in search results so their websites and phone numbers appear above those of legitimate companies. If you want tech support, look for a company’s contact information on their software package or on your receipt.
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone who calls and claims to be from tech support.
  • If a caller pressures you to buy a computer security product or says there is a subscription fee associated with the call, hang up. If you’re concerned about your computer, call your security software company directly and ask for help.
  • Never give your password on the phone. No legitimate organization calls you and asks for your password.
  • Put your phone number on the National Do Not Call Registry, and then report illegal sales calls.

If you think you might have downloaded malware from a scam site or allowed a cybercriminal to access your computer, don’t panic. Instead:

  • Get rid of malware. Update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete anything it identifies as a problem.
  • Change any passwords that you gave out. If you use these passwords for other accounts, change those accounts, too.
  • If you paid for bogus services with a credit card, call your credit card provider and ask to reverse the charges. Check your statements for any other charges you didn’t make, and ask to reverse those, too.
  • If you believe that someone may have accessed your personal or financial information, visit the FTC’s identity theft website. You can minimize your risk of further damage and repair any problems already in place.
  • File a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.

 

And finally, be aware of the 'Refund Scam'

If you paid for tech support services, and you later get a call about a refund, don’t give out any personal information, like your credit card or bank account number. The call is almost certainly another trick to take your money.  The refund scam works like this: Several months after the purchase, someone might call to ask if you were happy with the service. When you say you weren’t, the scammer offers a refund.  Or the caller may say that the company is going out of business and providing refunds for “warranties” and other services.

In either case, the scammers eventually ask for a bank or credit card account number. Or they ask you to create a Western Union account. They might even ask for remote access to your computer to help you fill out the necessary forms. But instead of putting money in your account, the scammers withdraw money fromyour account.

If you get a call like this, hang up, and report it at ftc.gov/complaint.

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McAfee is dedicated to keeping you safe and secure.  And product Support is always free.  If you have other issues, such as virus infection or a slow PC, we have premium services to help you get these problems addressed. These are found at https://techmaster.mcafee.com.

 

Hope this helps you avoid McAfee Support impostors.

 

Tracy.png

Tracy Romine

Product Manager

Consumer Support & Services

McAfee. Part of Intel Security.