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12 News Defenders: Phoning a fake

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

We all know how frustrating it can be trying to call and speak to a "real live person" in the technical assistance department at a big name company. Now, scammers are taking advantage of that!

The "Sisters in Christ" Facebook page is colorful, inspirational, and popular,with more than 170,000 likes.  It's also apparently vulnerable to hackers, who replaced wholesome posts on the fan page with "adult content".   "We just immediately panicked.," says Teresa Alissa Citro.

Worried about the site's reputation, Teresa searched online for "Facebook phone tech support" and found several numbers. She called the first one that popped up. The person who answered said for $129, they'd rescue their page from the hackers.   She says, "They also were supposedly putting on some kind of a device so that we couldn't be hacked again."

Turns out Teresa wasn't talking to Facebook. In fact, the social networking giant doesn't even offer "phone tech support". Facebook told us, "This was undoubtedly a scam". 

The feds say they've received thousands of complaints about similar "tech support scams." An FTC spokesperson says, "The goal is to get consumers to pay hundreds of dollars for unnecessary computer repair services."

The Federal Trade Commission recently launched a major tech support scam crack down, filing complaints against several companies based mostly in India. The FTC says scammers rely on two schemes. They either cold-call you, claiming to be major companies or they lure you into calling fake online tech support listings, like the one Teresa fell for. In both instances, the scammers try to convince you to give them remote access to your computer.

Experts say don't use online search results to find a company's tech support number. Go to the company's website directly and look for that contact information. If you've been ripped off by a tech support scam, be sure to report it to the FTC.

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