An alert reader named James was hit with a con we hadn’t come across before. It could have hurt but he was too savvy for that.

A guy called him and said he was from Dell tech support. Since James had a Dell computer, he initially thought the call was for real. The fake tech support guy said he had a report showing a Trojan Horse in James’s computer, and he needed James to release control of his computer so he could fix the problem over the Internet. After a lot of chit-chat back and forth, James hung up and called Dell, which verified that no one from their company had called him.

Googling the faker’s phone number revealed many complaints about this guy —someone inProvo,Utah, who sells software to “fix” the problem. Bottom line: No legitimate tech support outfit calls you to take control of your computer. You can initiate such a call and give temporary control to a tech support service, as we often have, but use a reputable one like CrossLoop, GeekSquad, or The same holds true for any email asking you to verify information. Legitimate outfits don’t ask for verification of information you’ve already supplied.

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