Don’t Fall for Mac Tech Support Scams

TelescammerA security researcher from anti-malware firm Malwarebytes recently busted Speak Support, an online tech support company, for using shady sales practices to dupe Mac users into paying for tech support services they don’t need.

While most computer tech support scams start off with a random cold-call from the scammer, this one started with a click from a paid search ad on Bing:

Speak Support

Upon calling & telling the Speak Support technician that his Mac was running slow, the security researcher handed over the reins by granting remote control of the computer in question.

That’s when things got a little interesting.

Starting off, the Speak Support technician wanted to check whether or not antivirus software was installed on the Mac. So, the “technician” opened a terminal and typed a ping command to protection.com. This seems like a rather odd thing to do, unless you understand the method behind the madness.

Since the server admins for protection.com appeared to have disallowed ping requests, the following messages are generated within the terminal:

Request timeout for icmp_seq 0
Request timeout for icmp_seq 1
Request timeout for icmp_seq 2
Request timeout for icmp_seq 3…

That’s apparently all the scammer needs in order to convince the end-user that the Mac is unprotected and that is the reason why it is running slow.

The Speak Support technician offered the Malwarebytes researcher two different support packages: one for $99 that included the antivirus software, computer optimizations & “registry alignment” and the second for $200 that added operating system and software coverage to the mix.

You can witness the scam in all its glory in the YouTube video below:

Don’t forget to check out Malwarebyte’s Tech Support Scam Resources page for helpful tips on how to spot these types of scams, what to do when you’ve fallen for one, and how to report them.

Have you ever been the victim of a computer tech support scam?

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