Use caution when searching for tech support online

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Computer experts say if you are searching for tech support online - use caution. Many times consumers think they are on a legitimate site but end up paying for support they don't need.

We've all searched some search engine looking for help with a problem. But if you're looking for tech support , don't be so quick to trust the first search results. Kevin Boynton, with The Computer Doctor of Richmond says many times they are misleading. "I get calls all the time from people saying they took my money. I let them into my computer and they said they fixed all the problems and if I  have any more problems, give them a call back but then they didn't fix my problem and when I try calling back, I can't get anyone," Boynton explains.

He says it happens mostly when people are looking for computer help. "They see a phone number that says call us now for support and think okay, I will call. The problem is you are almost never talking to HP. Now they will answer the phone as HP Support but they are going to give you a hard sale and they are going to try to talk you into buying some sort of support," he says.

The biggest threat is losing your money. These companies offering the support typically don't do anything that will fix your problem. The good news, Boynton says they are not downloading any malicious programs on your computer. He also reminds consumers that if this happens to them, they can challenge the charges on their credit card.

"Often times they will more or less trick you into allowing you to let them remote into your computer and they are going to show you what looks like scary stuff and tell you that you have all these problems with your computer," he says.

If you're fooled, the best thing to do is unplug your computer and reboot. Another tip, check your owner's manual for a web address, instead of using a search engine.  "Typically, the major companies are not going to make it easy for you to find a phone number for support. So if you go to a site and they have a huge phone number saying call us for support right now, it's probably not who you meant to talk to," Boynton explains.

He says the companies targeting consumers do a good job of manipulating search results to allow their sites to appear first. His advice, search with caution. He adds while the companies may be misleading, they are not technically doing anything illegal.


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