Dealing with Scams on Mac and Windows Computers

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Dealing with Scams on Mac and Windows Computers

This article will cover steps you can take before calling for help, fake tech support messages/phone calls that affect Windows and Macs, and what to do if you spill liquid on your laptop.

Steps to try before calling tech support:

Want to try some troubleshooting steps on your own? These easy steps will often fix many problems and can’t hurt so they are worth a shot!

  1. Shut down the computer/phone/printer/tablet. Turn it back on. Simple, right? This one easy step can fix many problems especially if you haven’t turned the device off and on again for some time. Printers rarely get turned off and on so they benefit from this action.
  2. If your internet isn’t working, turn off the modem/router and turn it back on. This can be a tad tricky depending on if you have a modem/router combination or you have two separate devices.
    • If you have a modem/router combination, there should be an on/off switch on the back of the modem/router. If there isn’t, pull the power cord out, wait 10 seconds, and then plug it back in.
    • If you have a separate modem and router, unplug both devices from power. (please tell me you can figure out which is the power cord). Plug in the modem first. Wait 2 minutes until all the lights are on or flashing. Then plug in the router. Try your internet again. This works even if one device is not connecting but all other devices are.
  3. OK, this one is embarrassing but please make sure it’s “plugged in” or the battery hasn’t run out. No more needs to be said.
  4. Got an error message? Take a picture with your smartphone so you can share it with me. Those cryptic error messages can sometimes be very helpful in solving or at least diagnosing the problem.
  5. If your printer isn’t working, try these steps:
    • Turn off the printer. Unplug it from power. Wait 2 minutes. Plug it back in and turn it back on.
    • If it’s wireless, reset your modem/router as described in Step 2.
    • If it’s connected by a USB cable, disconnect the cable from the computer and reconnect it.

If none of these steps worked, please contact us!

Tech Support Scam on Macs


If you see the pop-up above while on the internet on your Mac, DO NOT call the number.

If you have called the number, DO NOT not give the fake technician remote access to your computer. This is a scam to get control of your Mac. The scammers goal is to show you all the “errors” on your computer and have you sign up for technical support for a fee. At best, you’ll be out some money. At worst, they will put malware on your computer.

No website can scan your computer for malware or suspicious activity. Mac OS X will never display such a message within your web browser.

Press Command-Option-Esc to display the Force Quit Applications window. Force quit your browser to make the message go away. Restart your computer.

Read a great explanation of this scam HERE.

Tech Support Scam on Windows

Windows users tend to get phone calls from fake technicians claiming to be associated with Microsoft. If someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support, or affiliated with Microsoft, calls you:

  • Do not purchase any software or services.
  • Ask if there is a fee or subscription associated with the “service.” If there is, hang up.
  • Never give control of your computer to a third party unless you can confirm that it is a legitimate representative of a computer support team with whom you are already a customer.
  • Take the caller’s information down and immediately report it to your local authorities.
  • Never provide your credit card or financial information to someone claiming to be from Microsoft tech support.

Read more at this link. Microsoft is going after these scammers legally. They ask that you report the scam here:

Pro Tip:

What to do if you spill liquid on a laptop?
  1. Turn if off immediately by pressing the power button and holding it until the laptop turns off.
  2. Remove the power cord and the battery if removable.
  3. Open up the laptop and prop it open tent-like on a towel or some absorbent surface. Do not turn laptop back on for at least 48 hours.

Turning a laptop on before it has had a chance to totally dry increases the chances of shorting the sensitive boards inside.