Resources for Family Caregivers of Older Adults
Fraud Alert! Don’t Be Victimized by This Tech-Age Scam Attempt – I Almost Was!

Fraud Alert! Don’t Be Victimized by This Tech-Age Scam Attempt – I Almost Was!

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Unfortunately, criminals are updating their old scams for the times. Don’t let your senior loved one or yourself be a victim.

We talk a lot about using technology to stay connected with the caveat to be secure and take precautions to be safe when using all the new innovations and old electronics.

Every day we are reminded of just how important this is to your senior and even you.

If you have ever had your identity stolen like I have (several years ago), then you know how time consuming, frustrating, infuriating and costly it can be to get it back! Once stolen, you will realize how important it is to protect your senior’s and your personal data.

Scam Alert for Computer Owners

Recently I received a phone call from someone identifying himself as working with Microsoft.

He said he wanted to help me because he saw that my computer was sending error messages that needed to be corrected and asked me if I was near my computer and was it running.

I was a bit skeptical but also a bit confused because, as you know if you use your computer regularly, error messages occur a good bit. I had just had one as a matter of fact and wondered how he knew that.

I was confused enough and concerned enough to begin asking him questions as I have been told in the past to do.

Who do you work for again?

What is your name?

Why did you call me?

What is wrong with my computer?

What do you want to do to my computer?

After I pressed him a bit with my questioning without getting convincing answers, I sensed the hoax and ended the call.

Fraud Concerns Confirmed

The very next day I received an email security alert warning me about people who were calling and falsely identifying themselves as working with Microsoft. The email said Microsoft would never contact me or anyone else about any error messages the computer automatically sends when a program misfires.

From my security alert:

“ongoing scam involving phone calls from an individual claiming to be from Microsoft.  The individual will claim they are receiving errors from your computer and attempt to walk you through a process which would give them control of your machine.  If you receive these calls you should hang up”

Boy, did I feel lucky that I hung up on that scammer before any damage was done.

I am a pretty computer savvy person who was almost scammed! Therefore, this scam must be getting pretty good results because he sounded so convincing that my computer was actually in danger and needed to be fixed right away. Your senior could easily fall for this and lose personal information.

Don’t Be a Victim of Fraud

This scam followed a familiar pattern, with a caller claiming to work for a major company with a familiar name and a scam designed to entrap the majority of us who only know so much about our computers.

Don’t let them get your senior loved one — or to you.

  • You and your senior should never allow anyone access to remotely operate your computer unless you initiated tech support to repair it or are advised by a trusted friend or family member to do so.
  • No one will ask your senior for the password, to allow access to their computer to fix it, ask for banking account information, or any other secret information. Stress with them the importance of not trusting anyone who asks them these questions.
  • Engage the security settings on your senior’s Facebook account so only those that should see their posts and photos have access. Scammers use often their personal information to access other accounts such as financial sites.
  • Make your senior’s passwords something more complex so that they aren’t easily hacked. Our seniors can become easy victims because their passwords are all too often special dates and family names that are easy to find all over Facebook! Record them somewhere safe.
  • Don’t respond to or open attachments from any person via email that you or your senior don’t know or aren’t expecting.
  • Don’t respond or click a link when asked to update your access code for a shopping site such as Amazon or other retailer. They will not ask you to update your password via email.
  • Remind your senior not to respond to any email, phone call or letter that says they won something. We all know they didn’t win!

Technology can help our seniors in so many ways but we have to do all we can to help them stay secure.

Some security is in our control to set up. Other opportunities for our seniors to be a victim of a scammer need to be continuously discussed with them and reminders given. You can never be too safe!

4 Responses to Fraud Alert! Don’t Be Victimized by This Tech-Age Scam Attempt – I Almost Was!

  1. Another scam is an email advertisement for secret shopper. They actually say they will send you a cashiers check and to deposit it and keep $200 for your work and take the rest to the designated stores like Walmart and spend the rest and what to observe and you keep the merchandise and fill out the survey. However, the cashiers check does arrive drawn on a legimate bank with instructions to deposit it, keep your fee and send your check for the balance to an address through Western Union. The bad cashiers check bounces and you are out $2,000. The survey you are supposed to fill out and send back bounces back undeliverable. Fortunately I suspected a scam and research found it was but I was impressed how well thought out and executed it was. The bad cashiers check even arrived fed x.

    • Donna, that is great information to share! I keep getting those emails too and they really do sound enticing! We need to remind our seniors routinely about unsolicited items being potential scams! Thanks for the tip!

  2. I had a caller named Max identify himself as a Microsoft Tech employee who wanted to fix my errors. I thought he has from Microsoft. I let him into my computer and he fixed it (I was having a lot of problems) Then he asked me for $249 or $299 for 5 years or lifetime coverage of errors. I didn’t have the money and told him to call back when I did. He has been calling and I haven’t paid him as I have no documentation or info on him except a phone number and I am getting a creepy feeling about it. The next day someone named Diane called with the same story. What should I do? Does he have control of my computer now?

    • Jane, I am so sorry that this happened to you! I know from my own experience the caller sounded very believable! My advice would be to contact your local law enforcement officials and let them know of your situation. It is a crime and you want to be able to protect yourself in the event that your identity is compromised. Perhaps they can look at your computer to be sure it is no longer affected and get whatever clues they need from it.
      I wish you good luck resolving this scam!

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