Online Technical Support and Customer Service Helpline Scams

Scammers have created fake Hotmail Customer Service, Canon Printer Customer Service, Mac Mail Customer Service, Gmail Password Recovery Technical Support, McAfee Customer Service and Yahoo Customer Service websites, Facebook pages, and other social media web pages, in an attempt to trick online users into calling bogus toll-free numbers. Once potential victims have called the bogus numbers, the scammers will attempt to trick the callers into giving them their online accounts’ credentials, personal and financial information, by pretending to be technical or customer service helpline representatives.

Online Technical Support and Customer Service Helpline Scams

Scammers are using the following fake technical/customer phone numbers to trick their potential victims into calling them, thinking they are calling a real technical/customer helpdesk.

The Fake Technical/Customer Telephone Numbers

  • 1-844-282-6955
  • 1-800-473-0932
  • 1-844-449-0455
  • 1-855-233-7309
  • 1-855-531-3731

We will add more numbers when we receive them, because scammers will no doubt use other numbers as soon as the numbers they are currently using have been discovered as fraudulent.

How the Scam Works?

Scammers post the fake toll-free numbers on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Slideshare, Google+ and Youtube, where the fake phone numbers can be easily shared with millions of online users. Once the potential victims call the fake numbers, they will be asked by a real person or an automated system for their online account credentials, personal and financial information. Once the scammers have received their victims’ information, they will use it to hijack their online accounts, steal their identities and money.

Potential victims may also be tricked into downloading and installing malicious software, which will infect their computers with a malware called a Trojan horse, or they may be tricked into downloading and installing legitimate remote desktop software, to allow remote access to their computers.

Once the potential victims’ computers are infected with a Trojan horse, the scammers will be able to remotely take control of their computers from anywhere in the world. Once the scammers have access to their potential victims’ computers, they will spy on them, steal their information, and may use the computers to commit other cyber-crimes, which will be traced back to the victims.

The scammers may also trick their victims into downloading and installing legitimate remote desktop software, and trick the potential victims into giving them access to their computers via the same remote desktop software. Once the scammers have access to their potential victims’ computers, they will also spy on them and steal their personal and financial information.

Victims of the technical/customer scam should change their online accounts’ passwords, contact their banks and report the scam to their local authorities.

Remember, be careful on social media websites, because not everything posted on them are real. Scammers are using social websites to find potential victims by creating fake pages and posting bogus information on them, in order to find potential victims and scam them.

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September 22, 2016 at 9:48 PM by
Online Technical Support and Customer Service Helpline Scams

Received via email:

"Recd email stating they were MICROSOFT SECURITY alert and to call 8008681782. Man who answered had heavy accent. Hung up as I knew it was fake.

Recd call back immediately (same voice) from 8668637942 asking if I called w/computer problem. Said no...wrong #. He didn't want to hang up. I called MICROSOFT SECURITY & THEY SAID IT HAS A SCAMMER."


July 2, 2016 at 7:32 PM by
Online Technical Support and Customer Service Helpline Scams

Received via email:

"I just received a call from a "certified windows technician" who informed me that there is a problem with my computer. These people won't stop calling me. I have already been scammed by them once, shortly after I got my first computer and before I knew better. Every time they call me I tell them to stop calling me and that I know it is a scam, that I have already been scammed - lost money, had my computer crashed by them and then had to spend more money to get my computer up and running again, and scrubbed clean. The man was foreign sounding ( every time they have called me it is a foreigner) and the number is 215-485-6225. I believe every time one of these people call they are using a different phone number. I just want them to leave me alone. Also a few days ago I had an alarming noise on my computer and a big blue warning screen popped up telling me that my computer had been compromised and to call the number listed immediately. I believe this was identified as "Windows" or "Microsoft" in the message. I was instructed not to X out of the screen, shut down or restart my computer. I DID exit the screen and I DID shut down my computer and restart it. I also ran a security scan through McAffey and that showed no problems detected. I am weary of this harassment."


February 23, 2016 at 5:11 PM by
Online Technical Support and Customer Service Helpline Scams

Received the following from an anonymous user:

"I made a stupid mistake and called a number on my computer as I thought it was Microsoft Support. The gentlemen told me he was Microsoft Support, so, I gave him access to my computer via ShareMyPC. I don't know if he downloaded any information from my computer, but, he definitely ran some "tests" to diagnose what he thought was wrong and told me all typed up all of the following:

(Please Note - I am concerned as he had access to my computer and made me feel like I had some real bad viruses that I needed to get taken care of...I have since changed all of my passwords and want to ensure that I am safe from this fraudulent type of behavior)


Name:- Paddy Singh

Toll free Number:- 1-888-574-2575

Extension Number:- 2330

Employee ID:- A1376

24*7 Technical Support

Level 4 certified technician 45-60 minutes Security department"

He told me his email was paddy@microsoft


January 4, 2016 at 8:19 AM by
Online Technical Support and Customer Service Helpline Scams

Received the following from an anonymous user via email:

"I had a call from someone purporting to be in the UK. He had a heavy Indian-Sub-Continent accent and when the call came in the screen showed ‘INTERNATIONAL’. When I said his number was INTERNATIONAL he said it wasn’t – he was in London so I asked what his number was and he said it was 02088547621.

He was overbearing and rude and I felt quite intimidated initially so I put the telephone receiver down. He called me back and asked why I had cancelled the call since he told me my PC had errors and he was from Microsoft. I cancelled the call again.

He called a third time and suggested if I did not want his help he would disconnect me from the internet and I should get a pen and paper as he was going to give me a termination ID number. He told me he was not here to convince me but just to help me I told him to stop calling me.

He then told me my computer would be disconnected from the main server I would be blacklisted from the Microsoft program. My response was, “so now you’re threatening me are you?” and he responded with, “No I am not threatening you but your computer will be disconnected from the main server in half an hour”. I put the receiver down.

Your computer contacted me because it is in critical condition – it reported to the main windows server.

He called back again (4th time) and was very apologetic and asked why I was cancelling the calls and I told him I didn't trust him - he asked why and I told him I was not comfortable with the conversation nor with him nor with the issue he suggested he could fix. He told me he was from Microsoft and advised me to open the RUN screen and type something that provided me with a list of 1778 errors on my laptop.

This seemed quite credible since my laptop had seemed a little slower than it had previously and when he said he was from Microsoft (again) he sounded plausible but I again said I didn't trust him and he became very angry and said he would terminate my internet connection. I told him not to threaten me and he calmed down somewhat. He then offered to pass me to the 'technical expert' who would help me solve my software problems.

The 'technical expert' came on the telephone line and told me to go to the RUN box and type /ShowMyPC3161.exe

When I asked why he was asking me to install an ‘exe’ file he became very cagey.

I asked him who he represented and he said Microsoft. – that is why they knew I had problems with my PC because their server was getting error messages from my PC.

I put the phone down again since this insistence they were from Microsoft was beginning to wear thin. The calls stopped."


January 1, 2016 at 12:49 PM by
Online Technical Support and Customer Service Helpline Scams
an anonymous user from: Brandon, Minnesota, United States

I was tricked by a bogus tech support company. They are very savvy and represent themselves as legitimate Microsoft windows tech specialists. All very official-looking.

They waited about seven months and then attempted to black-mail me and gain access to my bank accounts. They became very terroristic when I refused to do what they said. It was a nightmare.

I am out the 239.00 dollars they charged me initially for their services. I had to have my computer wiped clean, and change all my passwords. I will never, ever be a trusting person again.


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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Online Technical Support and Customer Service Helpline Scams