Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Information on the 2024 Campaign is available now.  Click here to find out more.

Avoid Scams: Tech Support Scams

Tech support and similar call center scams initially involve a victim being duped into thinking their computer system is infected with malware or has some other technical issue that needs immediate remediation. The scam can take various forms. Sometimes a scammer, pretending to be employed as a computer technician with a well-known company, will initially cold call a potential victim via phone and advise that they have detected an anomaly on the victim's computer and that the issue needs to be immediately fixed. Other times, a victim may visit a malicious website and receive a pop-up or message in their web browser notifying the victim of an alleged compromise to their machine. Regardless of the initial method of contact, in most cases, the victim is tricked into calling a phone number for “tech support” (when, in reality, the phone number is operated by the scam organization), subsequent to which the scammer dupes the victim into paying for non-existent services rendered. Sometimes the scammer will also trick victims into downloading third party software to allow the scammer remote access to the victim's computer, which can allow the scammer to exploit the victim's computer for things like sensitive saved passwords and credit card numbers or simply pretend to install antivirus updates in exchange for payment. In either case, oftentimes the scammer will require exorbitant fees for their “services” or charge the victim's credit card a recurring fee for “ongoing system protection” or the like.


How to Protect Yourself



  • Review the Secret Service’s guidance on  Common Cybersecurity Practices

  • Be wary of unsolicited communications via phone, text, email, online, etc. from unknown persons or businesses, regardless of the nature of the communications.

  • Note that government agencies will never call you on the phone to threaten you or your loved ones with arrest or legal action if you do not agree to remit payment for things debt collections, release from jail, or immigration status issues. Official notification from U.S. government agencies will almost always initially involve an official letter sent via regular mail.

  • Never provide personally identifiable information (PII), online passwords, or bank access codes to other persons or businesses that you have not yet verified as being legitimate.

  • Keep the operating systems of all computers and electronic devices up-to-date and ensure anti-virus and security tools are installed.

  • Enable pop-up blockers on your Internet browser and ignore any seemingly random pop-up messages or notifications you may receive while browsing the Internet. When in doubt, utilize your anti-virus software to scan for vulnerabilities instead of clicking on any pop-ups.

  • Never click on email attachments or links from unknown persons or businesses.

  • Immediately cease contact with any individuals you suspect are attempting to swindle you.

  • Be wary of social media accounts or pages that have limited numbers of “followers,” use poor grammar and punctuation, or provide links to alleged government websites that do not use the .gov domain or alleged investment opportunities that involve cryptocurrency. 


If you suspect you are a victim of a tech support scam, contact your local Secret Service field office.