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Are you getting pop-up warning messages on your computer screen? Or maybe a phone call that your computer has a virus? That may well be a tech support scam. But how do you know? And what do you do?

Start by watching this video on tech support scams.

How to Avoid a Tech Support Scam Video

Scammers love to sound legit by pretending to be from a real company – say Microsoft or Apple. They’ll make your computer “problem” sound urgent, trying to get you to act before you have time to think. And they’ll ask you for access to your computer, your bank or credit card number, or for money. But that’s not how real tech support works.

So, before you click the link in the pop up or call that number, stop. Talk to someone you trust. Read about tech supports scams. And remember:

  • Never share your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number with anyone who contacts you.
  • Somebody who tells you to pay with a gift card, money transfer, or Bitcoin is a scammer. Always.

Have you spotted a scam? Report it to the FTC at To keep up to date with what the FTC is doing, sign up to get Consumer Alerts.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

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September 04, 2020
Twice this morning I got a pop-up from someone pretending to be from Microsoft. The pop-up locked up my computer and prevented me from using my board or mouse. The telephone number of the scammer is 1-888-585-5298. Is there something that can be done to get this individual arrested?
FTC Staff
September 08, 2020

In reply to by mandrake

You can report problems to the FTC at The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

The information you put here on the blog doesn't go into the law enforcment database.

Office Rat
September 04, 2020
And remember, Microsoft and Apple will NEVER call you to tell you that your computer has a virus. Any time you get a call claiming that they have been notified that your computer has a virus is a scammer.
September 04, 2020
Instead of asking someone you trust, why not obtain the actual company phone number via the company website, or perhaps in the program help box --not from the caller-- and call the company to ask?
September 04, 2020
This happened to me April 1st, 2020! Thankfully I was able to stop the payment on my credit card before the crooks got to it. very scary!!
September 04, 2020
This article didn't tell us how to get rid of that screen that freezes your computer. It happened to me once and the way I got rid of the "Blue screen of death" was to turn off my computer and then unplug my motim (spelling?) for a few seconds. Probably 10. When I turned my computer on a few minutes later, the scammers and the frozen screen were gone.
September 05, 2020
thank you,FTC. i have reported this scam, that happen to me.waiting to here, if these scammer will have to pay us all back?
September 05, 2020
wish I had read this before we got suckered by a thief called Maxwell. Scammed us for a lot of money and guess get NO help. Its like sorry about your luck chuck. We reported him to our bank the police the FBI and attorney General. No help
September 06, 2020
How can you talk about the Su Su or Sua Sua so called gifting game that's being pushed among Afro-Americans? And talk about whether its a scam?
FTC Staff
September 10, 2020

In reply to by Deacon

We published a blog in August about scammers imitating a type of informal savings club known as a “sou sou” or “susu” to trick people into joining what amounts to an illegal pyramid scheme.

A real “sou sou” is a rotating savings club with historic roots in West Africa and the Caribbean. But scammers are pitching fake sou sou savings clubs and opportunities like “The Circle Game,” “Blessing Loom,” “Money Board”.

September 13, 2020
I constantly have pop ups on my computer stating Microsoft need to "fix a problem", most like due to a password change. I have not changed my password. Can this be correct?
December 14, 2020

In reply to by Archiebald

This has been happening to me also. I don't trust it and ignore it. Don't know if its a scam or not.
bruh dude
December 14, 2020
Ok so there is this thing called pc accelerate idk how it got into my pc but it says I have 1875 issues while my Microsoft window defender in setting says I have none, i want to get rid of it but don't know how.
December 14, 2020
This # 1-218-727-4741 called, said he was from Microsoft. Said my computer was downloading malware and he would walk me through the process of removing it. Hung up when I questioned him further.
December 14, 2020
Got 2 calls today 12/14/20 . 1 at 10:04 & 1 at 10:02am . first one about a debt of 499.00 recording female voice press 1 or 2 pressed2 and nothing . so, I hang up. 2nd call came minutes later foreign person ,said with Amazon and Quoted a higher amount over 1,000. told him that I, have never had a Amazon acct. and the amount would be wrong an stop calling . phone line went dead. There has been other calls saying they are from pch( publishers clearing house) wanted me to purchase gift cards 500.oo each (2) and debra holland would show-up &give them to her. I, knew right then it was a scam. reported this to FTC and they told me that they were aware of it. I, also contacted PCH& they told me they also had reported it to FTC!
February 22, 2021
How can these people get remote access to your computer? This pop up happened to my dad and he called the number and they started typing stuff I guess through the pop ups. How can they do that? Can they remotely access his computer now anytime they want?
March 16, 2021
Received a call today telling me Iam going to owe them $499.00 to fix my computer. Here is their number 1-786-687-5494 They wanted charge me for something I don't even have