It has become an all-too-familiar scenario. You get an unrequested call at home or at work from someone telling you that your computer is infected with a virus and they’ll gladly help. They may claim to be from our partner Microsoft, or they may claim to be from Dell, but your gut tells you something is not right.
I’m a big fan of trusting my gut, and so should you in this situation. Keep in mind, we do not make unsolicited calls asking to charge you to fix an issue you did not report or previously request help with unless you have signed up for our premium support services like Dell Tech Concierge, Dell Premium Support or Dell ProSupport services.
But, cybercriminals are tricky. They do their homework and learn what they can about you or work hard to gain your trust. They may even tell you things about your computer that you think only a legitimate vendor would know. This is a key element to social engineering – a non-technical method cybercriminals use to trick people into loading malware on their systems or revealing credit card information.
The best way to protect yourself is to simply hang up. But, some customers have told us that the phone scams are becoming more relentless – frequently calling them over and over. We regret that they often use our name to perpetuate such harassment and we want to stop it just as much as you.
That’s why, should you decide to do more than simply hang up, we’ve created a new form you can use to report information from these callers that will help us investigate the issue. Some of those details include the phone number used to contact you, any information they know about your Dell system, and the name of any program they want you to download. Information you share through this form will go directly to our Security team, and although you may not hear from them, they will use the information to investigate and to attempt to track down the parties responsible.
You can also report the phone scams to the following authorities:
- In the United States, use the Federal Trade Commission Complaint Assistant form.
- In Canada, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre can provide support.
- In the United Kingdom, you can report fraud as well as unsolicited calls.
Protection of your data is a top priority for Dell. We recommend that you not engage such callers, and never give them your credit card information, access to your computer or any other personal information.
Remember, if you’re unsure, trust your gut and simply hang up.
[Update: We now also have a phone number you can call (8am-5pm Central) to report these phone scams to us: 866-453-1742. If you have already filled out the form, there is no need to call. It is simply an alternate way to deliver the same information to us. This was announced here in an update on this topic from our Chief Security Officer in May 2016.]
[Update 2: The war against fraud continues, but many battles have been won. Read more about the progress in this new post from June 2017.]