Dell service scam attempts to invade credit card accounts

Learning and Technology Services warns UW-Eau Claire students about “Dell support team” scammers

More stories from Angel Vang


Photo by Angel Vang

The LTS team working on late night shifts! The Learning and Technology Services, located in Old Library, can answer questions and concerns about the Dell service scam attempting to gain access to credit card accounts.

As of Jan. 19, the Learning and Technology Services published a notice about a Dell service scam that invades your credit card account and leaves ransomware on your computer.

Ransomware is a type of malware or virus that prevents a user from gaining access to their system unless an online payment is completed.

This scam is seen as a threat to the students, staff and the UW-Eau Claire system as a whole because most campus computers are Dell brand systems. It’s unclear to some whether students and staff are vulnerable to the scam if they use campus systems.

Brandon Baumler, a student at Eau Claire and employee at LTS, said although it’s a known concern, he has not come across any students or faculty who have been affected by it. Pop-up issues are the closest to a virus or ransomware most students come to LTS for, Baumler said.

Baumler said this scam is not prevalent to campus systems, students and staff unless they personally own a Dell computer where the company will have a record of their service tag number.

“It is a mystery as to how they obtain the numbers,” Baumler said.

Baumler said the “Dell support team” has a process in order to persuade their victim.

“The Dell service scam starts off with a call claiming to be from the Dell support team,” Baumler said. “They usually speak with a fake accent and say that your computer needs to be repaired or that your system is corrupt.”

The scammers will act as if they know something is wrong with your computer in the process, Baumler said. They may ask for credit card information to purchase programs that will help repair your computer.

People who fall for this service scam end up giving their credit card information to them, Baumler said. What leads people to think that these scammers are actually from the Dell support team is their service tag numbers, which Dell does not share, Baumler said.

Baumler said Dell will never call saying a computer needs to be fixed or is affected. The computer user calls them, Baumler said, not the other way around.