The Science Behind Tech Support Scams

ABSA Bank Call center. Auckland Park Johannesburg.

Tech Support Scams are a common problem we help our clients with.  It’s a significant part of our computer repair business in Lawrence and Kansas City.  Ever wonder how these criminals can steal so much money?  There’s science behind it.

This rather dense academic study from Stony Brook University explains how the scams work.  They spent over eight months talking with scammers and seeing where the scams lead.  They found that it’s mostly ads causing people the problems, not browsing habits or anything the users do wrong.

The best part of the paper is the suggestions for companies like Google, Microsoft, and Apple to prevent these problems.  As end-users, we don’t have much influence.  However, the authors also suggest Public Service Announcements to inform the public.

I think local media should give back to the community by running PSAs teaching people how to avoid tech support scams.

Photo by Media Club South Africa

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