A friend was telling me about a scam to which she almost became a victim. Apparently, it is common. Her phone rang fairly early in the morning, waking her. The caller claimed to be a Microsoft representative and said that her computer needed some type of immediate service. Not thinking clearly, she stumbled to her computer and started following directions. It wasn’t until the “representative” asked her to allow remote access to her computer that she realized what was happening. Thankfully, my friend realized that something wasn’t right before she compromised her computer’s security. Many other people haven’t been so lucky.
Most of us try to keep ourselves safe from scams, but those fraudsters are clever. Here are some clues that something might not be right:
- A representative calls and asks for your information. In the rare instances when someone might call you, they will be giving you identifying information. Never, ever provide information to anyone calls you unsolicited.
- The caller asks for credit card or bank account information.
- You are asked to allow remote access to your computer. Sometimes, if you have called a company for assistance, this might be appropriate. However, be absolutely sure that you are dealing with a legitimate company before allowing any such access.
So many instances of fraud happen to us when we are vulnerable. Computer problems, or phone calls at a bad time, or an urgent need can cause us to ignore the warning signs and make poor decisions. Stopping and taking a few minutes to think clearly, or even do a quick internet search, might make you realize that something is not quite right. Most important, being aware of the crazy new scams helps you to recognize all the ways in which fraudsters think.
I am so glad that my friend told me about this story. I’d like to think that I would never fall for such nonsense, but you never know. The world is a crazy place.