As the digital age continues to thrive, computer scams are becoming more common and scammers are getting better and better at tricking consumers.

Recently, con artists have been taking advantage of consumers by claiming that their IP address has been compromised. BBB has noticed a spike in the number of these scams reported to ScamTracker.

There are two known versions of this scam to look out for. In one version, a consumer might receive a notification on their computer from a well-known tech company advising that their IP address has been compromised. The “tech company” provides the victim with a phone number to call to resolve the issue.

In the second version of this scam, the consumer may just receive a call claiming to be from a tech company making similar claims. In some cases, the caller may claim that child pornography websites are using their IP address and that the consumer could be held liable for the actions of the website.

In both cases, the scammers offer to fix the issue, but they require a fee to do so, as well as remote access to the computer in question. The con artists will use this opportunity to not only make money off the consumer, but hack into their personal information using their own computer.

Use BBB’s tips to avoid this IP address scam:

Never open attachments or links in emails from unknown senders. These links can generate the fake warning pop-ups that prompt you to make a call to scammers instead of a reputable company. If you do get a suspicious pop-up alert, don’t click on anything and restart your computer.

Be wary of unsolicited calls. A common scam tactic is to make cold calls. Scammers then try to scare you into giving them access to your machine. Don’t fold under pressure, simply hang up the phone and block the number.

Don’t panic and don’t feel intimidated. Scammers want you to panic. They may use intimidation tactics to pressure you into giving up your personal information or making payments. Legitimate businesses will not intimidate you in this way. Stay calm and think things through before you act.

Never give strangers remote access to your computer. You should only allow remote access to technicians of trustworthy companies that you contacted directly through a legitimate customer service number or chat.

If you spot a scam, whether you’ve lost money or not, report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker at BBB.org/Scam Tracker and the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your story can help other consumers avoid similar scams.

Marjorie Stephens is president and CEO of the BBB serving Northern Indiana.

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