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!