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ACM to join collective that combats tech support scams

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) will join a public-private collective, which was launched today, combating international tech support scams. As part of this collaboration, the government will work together with banks, telecom providers, and suppliers of operating systems and software, introducing measures to thwart and prevent scams like these.

Tech support scams

In so-called ‘tech support scams,’ consumers are called by scammers, often from India, posing as tech support representatives working for major, well-known firms such as Microsoft. Using various methods, these scammers are able to gain access to the computers of unsuspecting consumers. Once the scammers have gained access, they withdraw money from their victims’ bank accounts, and transfer these funds to other accounts. In 2017, there were almost 2,000 tech support victims in the Netherlands. The total financial damage of these victims amounted to almost EUR 6 million.

Dutch phone numbers

In most cases, it seems as if foreign scammers use Dutch phone numbers because that is what consumers see in their displays. In reality, however, these scammers do call from abroad. This so-called ‘spoofing’ of Dutch numbers is prohibited under the Dutch Telecommunications Act. ACM enforces this law.

On its consumer information portal ConsuWijzer, ACM is warning consumers against tech support scams.