Technical Support Scams: A Brief History

Technical support scams have become increasingly popular. Such scams often involve tricking victims into thinking their device is infected, which enables hackers to steal information by persuading individuals to take certain actions to “fix” the problem. On average, such scams cost victims nearly $300 to solve a problem that never existed in the first place.1

Just last year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shut down a fraudulent tech support call center in Florida. In this scheme, hackers caused fake security pop-ups to appear on users’ devices, which warned of potential malware. The hackers then offered to help by fraudulently claiming to be representatives of major technology companies.2

Similarly, in 2015, the FTC closed a tech support scam in Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Collectively, hackers stole over $17 million from victims. Again, hackers posed as representatives from major technology companies and convinced victims that their devices required tech support services.3

In both cases, hackers targeted victims who were afraid to damage their device or lose important files. If you fall victim to a tech support scam, take the following actions:

n Notify the impersonated company. Let the company know that scammers are taking advantage of their brand. Before reaching out, make sure you have the correct contact information. Look it up yourself; don’t use the information provided to you.4

n Contact your bank. You may need to request a freeze on your account if you provided sensitive information, such as your credit card number. Alert your bank or credit card company to protect yourself from further damage.

n Change your passwords. Any websites that require you to log in with a username and password may be compromised. Reset passwords for such accounts, especially those containing sensitive information.5

n Contact the FTC. The FTC provides help to scam victims. If you’ve become a victim of fraudulent tech support, call the FTC at 877-FTC-HELP.

If you suspect your USPS® device has been compromised, report it immediately to the CyberSecurity Operations Center (CSOC) at

Find additional information on cybersecurity best practices at CyberSafe at USPS® on Blue ( or LiteBlue (, or the public-facing website at