Scammers are working 24/7 to target you via computer and phone. I’ve told you about these scams before, but from the messages I get from readers, these crooks are still going strong and people are still falling for it. Here are 3 scams that people are falling for every single day.
Microsoft calls your house saying there’s an issue with your computer. My aunt tells me that these guys have called her house three times in the past month. The scammer calls your house and says that Microsoft has detected a problem with your computer and needs to access it to prevent further damage or a total system crash.
How do they know you’re running Windows? They don’t. They call millions of people and since Windows is on the majority of computers, they count of hitting people who use it. How do they know your computer is running slow? Just a guess. You call enough people, you’re bound to get a certain percentage with computer problems. Sometimes they talk users into opening up event viewer on their PC and spin some tale that all of the little errors that pop up there indicate a serious computer problem. They talk people into letting them have remote access to their computer and sometimes into buying protection plans that cost hundreds of dollars. Once they have access to your computer, they can load it up with malware and steal your information. Plus, they’ve got your credit card info when you paid for the protection plan.
Here are some of the organizations that cybercriminals claim to be from:
- Windows Helpdesk
- Windows Service Center
- Microsoft Tech Support
- Microsoft Support
- Windows Technical Department Support Group
- Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team)
Microsoft is NEVER going to call your house. They have no access to your computer and they don’t know what’s on it. If these guys call, hang up immediately. (Or blow a whistle into the phone first.) If you’ve allowed these guys any type of access to your computer, I’d suggest calling a computer place or tech you trust and having your PC looked over to remove anything these people have installed. I’d dispute the charge on my credit card and probably cancel that card since these scammers have the number.
There are variation where callers will claim to be from Iolo, Norton and other security companies. But it’s the same deal, so beware.
Fake System Pop-Ups
One trick companies use to get you to click on their sites or download their programs is to mimic legitimate system pop-up windows from your PC. This is called Scareware. These fake windows will say there’s a system errors or malware has been detected or that it’s time to update a program.
If you see one of these, don’t click on it. Sometimes trying to close it takes you to their site. Hit Ctrl + Alt + Delete and look in the task manager. You will most likely see that pop-running in your browser. End the task. If you think it might be a legitimate warning from your security software, open your security software after you shut that window with end task and run a scan. If you want to update something like Flash or Java, go to the official website for that program and update there.
Congratulations! You’ve just won…whatever. Millions and millions of people fall for these types of scams every single day, some even empty their bank accounts to pay fees for alleged lottery jackpots.
The first question to ask yourself is: Did I enter a contest? Because if you didn’t, you didn’t win anything. Rules for contests are actually super-strict and you have to give permission to be entered into them. So, if you didn’t enter, there’s zippo chance that you won.
When you actually win a contest, you don’t have to pay ANYTHING to get your prize. I’ve had good luck with contests and won everything from a trip to Tahiti to a bike to an autographed book. Never once did I have to pay a thin dime to get my prizes. They just send them to you. True, I did have to include my trip in my income and pay some taxes, but I put that on my tax form when I filed my income tax that year.
I’ve also worked for a TV station that gave away some nice prizes. Again, winners don’t pay anything. For big prizes, we gave them the appropriate tax forms. Yeah, if you win the lotto, you have to pay taxes. You pay them out of your lotto winnings, not up front. And unless you bought a ticket, you didn’t win it.