By Joe Callison
8 May, 2018
I continue to hear stories from people who were scammed or almost scammed from fake technical support providers. Most recently it was someone looking for help with their Amazon Kindle. Thankfully they got nervous about giving personal information to a stranger over the phone and ended the conversation by saying they would have their computer consultant (me) get back to them if needed.
I was curious about how the technical support was contacted in the first place, and found that it was through an internet search for Amazon Kindle help (or support). I tried it myself and the results are below. The results will vary depending on the search engine used, but note that only the first result has a web address (in green) containing amazon.com in it. The rest have very official looking titles (in blue) that could appear to be from Amazon, but the web address does not identify it as coming from amazon.com. Many of these are the fake technical support providers that people end up calling. In this case, there were a lot of red flags in the phone call that are typical with fake technical support providers:
Asking the caller to click on a link or download something to give them remote access to the computer.
Trying to convince the caller that there was a serious problem that needed an urgent response.
Telling the caller that only a couple of companies had the ability to fix the problem and they could be transferred to one of them if they provided their information and credit card number.
These fake technical support providers also prey on people searching for help from Microsoft, Apple, HP, Dell, or just about any name you can come up with. If you are looking for technical support from a company, always start from the official web site for the company and look for a link for help, support or contact from there. Many also have links to authorized service centers on their sites. You may not be able to speak with a live person at these large companies, which may be why people resort to contacting other resources instead. There are legitimate third-party companies providing technical support for various brands, but unless you do some investigation on them, it is difficult to know if they are reputable or one of the scammers. You can try searching for reviews or complaints related to the company, but even reviews can be faked, especially reviews on their own website or fake review websites they have created, so try several reputable sources for reviews if possible. As with any technical service, getting recommendations from others may be your best resource.
Another blogger has also written an excellent article on the Amazon Kindle and Fire technical support scammers: http://blog.the-ebook-reader.com/2016/02/22/dont-get-scammed-by-fake-amazon-kindle-and-fire-tablet-support-sites/
Typical internet search results for “Amazon Kindle help”: