Cyber Safety – Review in 2: Spot, avoid and report tech support scams

May 6, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

Candice was using her computer to make a purchase when a startling pop-up disabled her brower: Microsoft Warning Alert! Your computer has been infected with spyware and riskware. Do not ignore this critical alert. Call us immediately.

While the message was alarming, Candice immediately recognized it as a scam. She closed the pop-up and reported it to the HITS Service Desk.

“We’ve seen an uptick in people impersonating tech support staff. They often target populations through online pop-ups or phone calls,” said Molly McPhall, education and awareness lead with Michigan Medicine’s Information Assurance team. “The scammers claim to know something is wrong with your computer and want you to pay them to fix it. Scammers want you to provide personal information and remote access to your computer.”

The Federal Trade Commission reports that tech support scams generated about 134,000 complaints last year, the biggest single category of scams. The typical victim lost about $400.

“Scammers use your stolen information to create new accounts or make purchases using your credit card,” Mcphall said. “We caution people to watch for these scams both at home and at work. If they gain access to your Michigan Medicine account, sensitive data can be at risk.”

Think you’ve been scammed?

If you are the victim of a tech support scam, take action:

  • Notify your credit card provider, financial institution, and put a fraud alert or hold on your credit report.

How to avoid tech support scams

Take two minutes to view the May Cyber Safety poster. Print, display and share the posters with your colleagues!

Win a breakfast basket

Take the May quiz for a chance to win a breakfast basket delivered to your place of work.

Q: What is the first thing you should do if you are scammed?
Tip: Open the awareness poster for the answer!

Email your answer to with “May Quiz” in the subject line.

Congratulations to April’s winner

Jennifer Provencal in Otolaryngology at the Brighton Center for Specialty Care was the winner of the April cyber safety quiz. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Michigan Medicine’s Information Assurance team promotes a monthly IT security reminder as part of its “Cyber Safety – Review in 2” campaign. The goal is to increase awareness of key cybersecurity topics by presenting important information that can be reviewed in two minutes or less. Review the entire campaign on the Safe Computing website.