Seniors are a favorite target for scammers and fraud, but we can fall prey at any age. People are repeatedly warned about offers that sound too good to be true or giving out personal information, such as credit card numbers to strangers. Even as we’ve become more vigilant about scams and frauds, criminals invent new ways to con us. One reason a scam is so successful is it’s believable or addresses a common problem for which we seek an easy fix. That explains why the latest tech support scam is so effective – everyone wants a computer issue to be resolved ASAP.
An AARP.org blog post elaborates on how the latest tech support scams work. Cybercrime is one of the fastest growing areas of crime and the tech support scam is one of the most rampant. Although the callers claim to be from different companies, Microsoft, Norton (which is really an antivirus product sold by the Symantec company) or others, the spiel is the same – they have detected a virus on your computer. The post’s author’s experience was the caller could not identify either her computer’s IP address or even if it was on.
The post emphasizes that companies with anti-virus software don’t make calls to individual customers. The user is notified by an important security update or warning on their screen alerting them to a virus threat. What do the scammers expect to get from calling you? The article outlines the following:
- Remote access to your computer – If someone is able to remotely access your computer, they can find your passwords, online financial information and your files. More frightening is they can actually lock your computer, blocking your access.
- Sell you a quick solution – They may offer a fast fix or a warranty program, with costs as high as $600.
- Get your credit card info – The attempt is to send you to a phony site and bill you for their services.
- Install malware – One ploy is to get you to install malware or other software that can lead to identity theft.
Remember, if you’re at all uncomfortable or unsure about the caller’s validity, that’s your first warning sign.