Watch Out for Tech Support Phone Scams

Watch Out for Tech Support Phone Scams

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The Official Dell Corporate Blog

Watch Out for Tech Support Phone Scams

It has become an all-too-familiar scenario. You get an unrequested call at home or at work from someone telling you that your computer is infected with a virus and they’ll gladly help. They may claim to be from our partner Microsoft, or they may claim to be from Dell, but your gut tells you something is not right.

Photo of Dell Inspiron desktop in home office

I’m a big fan of trusting my gut, and so should you in this situation. Keep in mind, we do not make unsolicited calls asking to charge you to fix an issue you did not report or previously request help with unless you have signed up for our premium support services like Dell Tech Concierge, Dell Premium Support or Dell ProSupport services.

But, cybercriminals are tricky. They do their homework and learn what they can about you or work hard to gain your trust. They may even tell you things about your computer that you think only a legitimate vendor would know. This is a key element to social engineering – a non-technical method cybercriminals use to trick people into loading malware on their systems or revealing credit card information.

The best way to protect yourself is to simply hang up. But, some customers have told us that the scammers are becoming more relentless - frequently calling them over and over. We regret that they often use our name to perpetuate such harassment and we want to stop it just as much as you.

That’s why, should you decide to do more than simply hang up, we’ve created a new form you can use to report information from these callers that will help us investigate the issue. Some of those details include the phone number used to contact you, any information they know about your Dell system, and the name of any program they want you to download. Information you share through this form will go directly to our Security team, and although you may not hear from them, they will use the information to investigate and to attempt to track down the parties responsible.

You can also report the scam to the following authorities:

Protection of your data is a top priority for Dell. We recommend that you not engage such callers, and never give them your credit card information, access to your computer or any other personal information.

Remember, if you’re unsure, trust your gut and simply hang up.

 

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  • I have received over 30 + calls from this scam over the past 60 days - these guys are relentless!!!  They use many different phone numbers to include "No Caller ID".  They have my name and my service tag # and phone number.  How did they receive this sensitive information? - looking at you Dell!  Clearly someone breached your service tag / customer data to call with this specific information, as they didn't just guess my service tag #.  The people on the phone have Indian accents and English is not first language.  I have asked them questions then they hang up or curse at me.  Other times that they call using a number they have called from before they immediately hang up or don't say anything (as if they ready notes about calling me) - i just mute them and listen and i can hear them speaking to each other in what sounds like a call center speaking in foreign language (unaware - i assume) that i am listening.  I tell them not to call again but the calls keep coming.  They are really ruining it for other telemarketers as i am so upset about this harassment that if legitimate telemarketers call they also don't get very far either.  I have NEVER divulged   by computer make/model much less service tag # and only purchased this one (directly from Dell) about 1 month before these calls starting coming - again, looking at you Dell!

  • @CyberGuy23 - I regret to hear that you are receiving these calls. Such phishing scams are increasingly more sophisticated, touch not only technology companies, but all industries, and we have devoted considerable resources to addressing them. We have no indication that customer information was obtained through an external attack. We continuously evaluate our internal physical and technical security measures to determine if there are additional efforts that would further ensure this customer data is secure. I do hope you have taken a moment to share more detail via the form linked above, which can be found at www.dell.com/reportphonescams. We investigate any customer complaint received when there is sufficient information to investigate. ~Laura

  • I've received a few of these calls. One time, I let the guy carry on for about 30 minutes telling me to do various things on my computer. I was just sitting in my garage drinking a beer, sort of enjoying listening to him and pretending to be shocked when he pointed out the "errors" in my Event Logs. I finally tired of it and called the guy out and told him he should be ashamed of what he's doing. He, in turn, begins calling me and my mom every name in the book. I have to admit, I gave it back to him. But, yeah....these guys are scum and I'm not surprised one of them resorted to death threats.

  • I am getting these as well.  I just have to say based on the situation with the laptop in question, and the information they know.  It does look like dell has some security issues.     And if that is the case, they should be going out of their way to let the customers know there is a problem, and to expect this kind of call as they work out the details.  Need to be forthcoming and transparent when this kind of things happens or it will end up doing more damage to the company and brand.

    Right this moment, I am sure there are people falling victim to these scams and if the info these scammers know has come from dell itself, they dell has some serious problems they need to address.  

    I didnt fall victim to the scam so it didnt waste my money but it does sure waste my time and does bring into question how much info was compromised.  

  • @nobodypanic - I'm glad to hear you did not fall victim to this type of scam. As I mentioned before, we continuously evaluate our internal physical and technical security measures to determine if there are additional efforts that would further ensure customer data is secure. And, we encourage our customers to come to us with any information that could facilitate the investigations. I wrote this post for the express purpose of getting word out, so please share with others to help us do that. Thank you! ~Laura

  • Sorry but this does not really own up to what is going on.   These scammers have info they should not.   They knew the service tag, some sort of customer number,  my contact info (phone, full name),  and when the machine was shipped to my door.   How would someone get that info?

    This is no longer just about scammers trying to call me.  Its about how they got information about me and my machine.  Was dell hacked?  it does seem like it.  The nature of the info these people have points at it.

    The problem now is how Dell is handling it.    The longer Dell mishandles this,  more of its customers will fall victim to these scammers.   I have spent all kinds of time on the phone with Dell and they avoid talking about where the info these scammers are using is coming  from.    This is bad, horribly handled and will only get worse unless Dell steps up and admits there is a problem, and properly addresses it.

  • I too have received 3 calls.  My first call happened last night and the other 2 this morning.  The facts are consistent with what else has been reported here:  the perpetrators knew my service tag #, phone number (obviously), name, and Dell support history.  (They knew when I had called previously for something and knew the warranty expiration date for the machine in question).  Dell is clearly at fault here as they have allowed their customer support data to be breached (either through a security breach or perhaps internally sold by their own technical support teams abroad).  These are only guesses of course, but it's Dell's responsibility to protect my data.  I used the form to report the issue and notified the FTC-- but to me it's Dell that should be responsible as it's their negligence (somehow) that my data has ended up in a criminal's hands to harass me.  The calls are pretty haunting at first when you hear that someone knows something about you.

  • I've also experienced these calls this week and have to agree with Jigme that a security breach with Dell must have happened since they had my computer model, service tag, name, phone number, and knew I'd reported a problem to Dell previously. They almost convinced me it was concerning my last call except it had been 5 months since I called Dell Customer Service with an issue. My husband told me to call Dell Customer Sercice and never allow anyone access to my computer. I reported the phone numbers they called me from, too.

  • I have had an event today that is similar to comment from "Cyber"  below.  They have information that would only be available from Dell.  I will report to Dell shortly.  But Dell better fess up to the problem and get there act together on security. This is not evident from "Laura" (Dell) reply.

  • I have received numerous calls.  When I challenged them on being from Dell, they rattled off service tag and previous warranty repair info.  Clearly Dell has been hacked and imo should proactively reach out to customers.  

  • @Jigme, @Bird House, @stevA and @BennyKeck - I'm sorry to hear that you've been the recipient of these calls, but appreciate you taking the time to fill out the form to report it. We have no indication that customer information used in these scams was obtained through an external attack. However, we are not dismissing the issue. We have assembled a team of experts that are focused on investigating it. You can read more about that on this more recent blog post from our Chief Security Officer: en.community.dell.com/.../dell-phone-tech-support-scams That post is just part of our ongoing effort to educate our customers on this topic, so watch for more to come.

  • I too have been subject to the nastiness of the Indian scammers. They are nasty and crude and even when you try to get rid of them, they keep coming back. I have never let any of them into my computer, but unfortunately I have called dell support and they have been in my computer numerous times. I believe that one of those times was a scammer that works for you and gave out my information to their friends, because my computer is fu.... up if you know what I mean. How can  the scammers have all my info and know exactly what is wrong with my computer if your tech team did not tell them. I believe I was set up. After your techs tried to fix something they should have been able to, they left something behind in my computer. No where on this blog do I see Dell taking responsibility for this security breach. I can't get anyone from Dell to fix or replace my computer even though I paid extra for this service. I am being told know that it must be a software issue and they don't handle that. Oh unless you pay them extra for it. So know I am stuck with a infected

  • @lineisen - We are actively working with both local and national law enforcement agencies, and other corporations experiencing similar challenges, to pursue action against those who seek to defraud our customers. Please help us by sharing information about the calls you've received via dell.com/reportphonescams. You can also read more of the latest on this topic from our Chief Security Officer John McClurg here: en.community.dell.com/.../dell-phone-tech-support-scams