If you buy someone a new gadget or piece of technology, it might seem obvious that a well-meaning friend or relative, rather than a tech support expert, is the best person to help you operate the thing you bought. Because it’s so easy to save people a lot of time and hassle by opting for professional assistance, most people do.

But be careful, and be sure to be that friend or relative who you could call in a pinch, or even ask to send you a) a replacement, b) the zip of that box you bought the tech in, or c) an apology. Here are the things to remember before providing someone with information about technology.

1. Do not pay for tech support

In 2016, the FCC said that there were over 7,000 complaints per year about technical support services online that attempted to bill consumers for services that they did not receive, or for “unsupported services.” Last year, New York said that hackers were calling consumers and using personal information, such as the names of children they claimed to have talked to, to steal funds from victim accounts.

2. Do not ask for contact information, though that might help

If a person comes to you and asks for their online payment information (credit or debit card, Internet banking, etc.), resist the urge to give it out. Also, keep the person on the line: Their intentions might not be good. Instead, point out to them that their payment information is already public record and ask them to contact you about their issue.

3. Talk to a friend or family member who hasn’t dealt with the issue

You might be surprised how much different someone who hasn’t experienced the problem firsthand has a better perspective on the issue. Also, your friend or relative might remember something that someone else forgot.

4. Be kind to yourself

Something that Google’s Susan Landau, co-founder of Zendesk, says is “good to remember: the same tech support that makes you long for the tech support center will be stressed if you log on and discover the crap you just installed didn’t work.” Instead of trying to fix all the issues, she recommends you keep everything simple. Don’t figure out how to reboot, but instead, understand that first you need to get the phone connection to work. After that, open up the dial-up browser you used when you first got it up and running. You will notice very quickly that what you installed doesn’t function properly. Soon, you will find that the problems only exist in that browser window and you will be able to fix it without resorting to a tool that you have seen several times before.

Read the rest at The Next Web.

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