There are probably very few people who haven’t had to call tech support for one or more of their electronic devices. Scammers have now come up with ways to use consumers need for those numbers for their own gain.

How do they do this?  By creating and advertising fake tech support “800” numbers.  Antoine Gonsalves has written a very informative article about this scam and what industry companies are doing about it (www.cssonline.com; “Google, Facebook Unmask Tech Support Scams”; May 16).  The scammers are even using the names of legitimate companies along with the fake “800” numbers.

As Mr. Gonsalves reports, consumers who call the numbers risk providing their personal information to the scammers and downloading malicious software.

He also wrote that information about this tech support scam was included in the first report by a new non-profit called TrustinAds. TrustinAds has been  launched by AOL, Facebook, Google and Twitter to help combat these types of fake online ads.  I went to the TrustinAds website (TrustinAds.org) and read the May 8th press release about these fake tech support numbers (“Internet Industry Leaders Offer Tips for Consumers to Avoid Tech Support Advertising Scams”).  The scope of the scam is startling — the press release included the fact that Facebook and Google have found at least 4,000 tech support scams using the names of 2,400 legitimate companies.

The TrustinAds press release is worth reading to learn how to try and avoid these tech support scams.