Tag Archives: Reverse Phone Search

Tech Support Scams: What You Need To Know To Protect Yourself

Computer scams come in all forms

Tech scams are more common than ever before. Scammers send millions of emails every day, pretending to be from technical support services, government offices, charities or insurance companies. They promise to send lottery winnings, offers that are too good to be true, or sales on products that will never arrive once ordered. Scammers can take advantage of people even if the target doesn’t take the bait. Thieves send emails containing malware, spyware or viruses that infect the computer when they are opened. Antivirus software may be unable to detect infected files, such as certain trojan viruses. The user doesn’t know their system has been breached. Scammers can take control of your computer, steal phone numbers, personal data, and other sensitive financial information such as credit card numbers, bank account information, and more.

Forms of Contact

Con artists use a variety of methods to conduct tech support scams. Scammers contact targets through unsolicited phone calls, text messages, email, and pop up ads. If you receive calls or texts from someone you don’t know, you can use a caller ID app for iPhone to identify it.

Pop-up Ads

Tech scams can take place through pop-up ads that appear during regular use of your web browser. The pop-up is often an unrelated topic or item that encourages you to click on the website. Pop-ups may appear to be system error messages or warnings from tech companies like Microsoft or Apple. The pop-ups can infect your system. Others simply do not go away and efforts to report them go unheard. The ads may also be able to infect your system with viruses undetectable by antivirus programs. Web browsers offer free pop-up or ad blockers which can help the situation.

Scare Tactics

Scammers can feed on a consumers’ fear by alerting them to security breaches, viruses, or useless software programs for malware and spyware. Recent scams include emails sent to users, claiming that the scammer has your personal information. The sender says he has access to your password and online accounts. The emails may contain passwords to your email account. The sender demands a specific amount of money that must be sent in 24-48 hours. The scare tactic is effective, as people want to safeguard their personal information. Emails making such claims should be reported, passwords should be changed, and the email deleted entirely from the system.

Tech Support Scams

You receive a call from someone claiming to be from computer tech support from real tech companies like Microsoft or Apple. The caller, posing as an employee with Microsoft or Apple, says there is a problem with your computer, e.g., a virus or damaged memory. The scammer offers to fix the problem for a small fee. You are asked to wire money or pay with a gift card. They ask for those because it is almost impossible to trace or get your money back. The funds must be delivered to a specific email or online account, neither of which are related to Microsoft or Apple.

The caller offers to run a scan if you give them remote access. If you agree, the scammer pretends to run a scan on your computer and then tells you about a problem that isn’t real. The problem is significant and will cause your computer to fail. The caller offers to fix the problem for an additional cost.

Tech Support Refund Scams

A similar tech scam is a tech support refund scam. The caller offers a refund for services previously purchased. They claim the company is offering refunds as part of a customer satisfaction program. Other claims include that the company is going out of business. Regardless of the story, there are no refunds. The caller asks for your phone number, personal data, and banking information for the sole purpose of phishing and stealing more money.

Online Shopping

The person or company offers products at a low rate. The scammer takes the money, but the product never arrives. The company refuses to give refunds. More likely, the scammer steals the person’s information and credit card or bank account info and disappears.

Phone Calls

Scammers make thousands if not hundreds of thousands of random phone calls every day. There is no limit to the stories they will tell. Legitimate companies do not call to ask for payment for tech support or alert you to a government issue. If you do receive a call, use a reverse phone search to look up the number that called you. Block the number that was used. You should also write it down so it can be reported to the authorities.

Improve Security

Thieves love weak passwords. Change passwords often or create a password using a password generator to improve your computer’s security. You should update security software and antivirus software on a regular basis.

What to Do If You Were Scammed

People tricked by tech support scammers have recourse if the con was paid by credit card or bank card. The financial institution can reverse the charges and file a fraud report on your behalf.

Gift cards are harder to trace and may not be refundable.

If you gave a scammer remote access to your computer, update your computer’s security software. Run a scan and delete anything it identifies as a problem.

If you gave your username and password to a tech support scammer, change your password right away. If you use the same password for other accounts or sites, change it there, too. Create a new password that is strong.

Reporting a Scam

The Federal Trade Commission has recorded one of the calls made by a computer tech support fraudster. The FTC has posted a  recorded call from a scammer: You can listen here.

Tech support scams are commonplace. In 2017, the FTC received over 150,000 reports about tech scams. Consumers neglect to report scams because they are embarrassed or they may not know they’ve been scammed. If you think you’ve been the target of a tech scam, report it online to the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant.

How To Find Someone’s Cell Phone Number

Running a reverse cell phone search

 

People rarely use phone books but still need access to phone numbers. Most people use cell phones and don’t have an easy way to find numbers. You could lose your contact list or need to find the number of someone new; this is not an easy task. You might have found a phone number with no name next to it, which is just as frustrating. Online services offer information, but it’s rarely free. If a site claims that they offer a free search, you might be required to pay for the results.

Reasons to Search for a Number

There are many reasons people search for cell phone numbers. The person may have given you the number but you wrote it down wrong; the number got lost; there’s no name attached; your phone contacts got deleted or your phone was stolen; you may want to find a family member or old friend whose number has been changed.

Retrieving Phone Numbers

You’ve lost the contact list on your phone and need to retrieve the numbers. Users can check their phone accounts for backups, look through text messages or phone calls, or post the problem on social media. You might search cell phone numbers by the person’s name or wait for people to call you.

Name Search

There are several ways to do a search. You can search the person’s name. If it’s a common name, add as much information as possible to get accurate results. The search might show a list of people with the same name. You can choose the right person by the address, age, occupation or family members and associates.

Reverse Phone Search

You find a piece of paper with a phone number written on it but no name. Calling the number could be embarrassing if it’s a potential boss or date you’d rather forget. Use a search app or program that you’d use to search for a person by name. This time, type in the phone number you want to search. Cell phone numbers are harder to get since they change so often. Plus, some companies will charge for the search results.

Online Searches

You can find reliable services to look up a person’s cell phone number. Services that have free lookups include Zaba Search, Callersmart, and Kiwi Searches. Apps help people to search for phone numbers by name or through a phone number lookup app. If you use a premium paid search, you can check company reviews before buying the information. Some companies have free trials or discounts, so you don’t have to buy a full membership.

Search Engines

Google and Bing are the two most common search engines on the Internet. Users may get more information than they bargained for on these sites. The search engines may also repeat information. Try using an alternate search engine such as Yahoo or GoDuckGo to find less common information.

SpyDialer

SpyDialer is a popular reverse phone search website. The free service refers to itself as the “newest, fastest, SNEAKIEST free reverse phone number lookup on the web.”  Users can search cell phone numbers, landlines, unpublished numbers and email addresses. The service also works with VoIP numbers, which are commonly used by scammers. The system is legal because it uses information available to the public, including social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, catfish websites, White Pages, traditional phone books, Yellow Pages, public records, search engines, and more. Users are limited to 25 searches per day.

Who Called Me?

Users find valuable information on the website Who Called Me? Along with phone numbers, it contains comments and warnings regarding common phone numbers.

Facebook

Facebook is the largest social media outlet online. As such, finding a person’s information is easier there than on some other sites. There are several ways you can find a person’s contact data through Facebook.

  1. Using the person’s name. Search the person’s name from the main search bar.
  2. Use the reverse phone search tool.
  3. Search by location.
  4. Use a person’s school or employer for contact data on the organization’s website. The person may also be affiliated with the organization.
  5. Friends of friends. If you have mutual friends, check the friends list of a person you both know.
  6. Public groups. You can search public groups for a common link.

Search by Username

Some people may not use their real identities on social media websites, which makes it harder to find information. However, if you know a person’s common username, you may be able to use it to locate the person’s cell number or other information. For example, you want to find the cell number or other information for your friend John Smith. The name is common and the likelihood of finding the right person is very small. If you know John Smith uses the name FirefighterDad37, searching for his information became much easier. Using a search engine or people search app, type in the username and sort through the results until you find the right person.

Smartphone Apps

Users can do searches on their devices or use their Android or iPhones. The Apple store and Google Play offer many third party apps to help make searches easier.

TMI?

Savvy people get access to our personal information every day. People want to everything about us. Search engines are able to give out a great deal of personal information including work history, education, social media profiles, criminal and arrest records, bankruptcy and court information.

Sensitive Information

Although almost anyone can access our sensitive information, many sites require you to sign a statement saying you won’t use the information against a person, especially in business. It’s illegal to use search information to deny someone a job. While searching for a phone number may seem harmless, we have to take steps to protect the rest of our information. Hackers and scammers are ruthless when it comes to stealing identities and gaining access to our accounts.