- TECH SUPPORT CALLS
These are usually from someone indicating they are an "authorized"
Microsoft (or Apple, Samsung etc) tech support person with the job of
"fixing" your PC they tell you have seen a problem with it and is
causing problems on the internet. They will want you to install a
remote control program and then give them access to your PC.
DON"T DO IT. Microsoft etc. does not do this. In fact, they do not
monitor your PC this way for this purpose. The only thing that
Microsoft etc. monitor is usage statistic unless you revoke the
If you receive such a call, just hang up. It is best you not even
listen to them. It could cost you. If you find that you have been
caught by this, turn off the machine, or at least disconnect it from the internet. You may need to contact a local
technical source to have it examined. You also need to change ALL
passwords, those for the machine and any on-line accounts. You also
need to un install the software the scammer had you install and any
other software that was installed at the same time. This can be tricky
and here is when you may need outside help. Find someone local you
trust and has a good working knowledge of PC's. Two "for pay" that most have
access to are the Geek Squad (Best Buy) and Staples. They do charge but
could be worth the expense. Sources of this type are bonded against
foul play. A worst case scenario is you might have to re-install your
operating system from scratch. (Do you do backups? You should; at least your data.) This
would include any software not included in the operating system and all
- FINANCIAL INSTITUTION CALLS (Banks, Credit Card companies etc)
- These are common. You receive a call from one of these indicating
there is a problem and they need you to verify your personal
information. It's a SCAM. Never give your information over the phone
unless you initiated the call. Even then, be careful. Should you find
you have given out your information, call the institution and freeze
Your bank etc. will not make a call of this kind and ask for
verification of your information. Again, it is best to hang up. You
should report it to the real institution that you received a call. If
there is a real problem, the institution will call and have you call
them at a phone number you already possess, like on your statements or
the back of your credit card.
- OTHER TYPES OF CALLS
- Calls are received every day from scammers offering better credit
cards, extended warranties on your "expired" or "soon to expire" cars.
They pretend to be a representative of your car manufacturer but when
quizzed they do not know what car you have. While there are maybe some
good versions of this type of extension, most are frauds. They do not
pay up as advertised. The primary one on credit cards is usually from
"Credit Card Services" or something like that. This is one trying to
get personal information. Hang up.
One interesting category are calls from Law Enforcement associations
saying they represent your local police, state police etc. ((% of them
are fake. I have talked to local police and a friend retired from the
NJ state police. They all say "Hang Up." They will scam you out of your
money. If you want to donate to something like this, call your local
police and ask them who are the good guys.
Many of any of the above calls often start out as a robocall and
require you to select something to talk to a real person. Don't - just
hang up. Don't respond to get on their no-more-calls list. That's
a fake also. It just tells them you exist. If you want, use the federal
"do not call" list. It has some effect but scammers just ignore it
There are services that may help you for a fee or free. A good free one
for land line numbers and internet based like Verizon FIOS is called
NOMOROBO (www.normorobo.com). They work fairly well, allowing you to
request numbers be blocked. Look at their website to see how this
works. For some phones, like wireless numbers, there is a monthly
charge. This company is working very hard trying to get the FCC to do
something real to get the phone companies to get busy and fix this.
Verizon actually recommends you consider using them. NOMOROBO does
block political numbers (if it is a registered party number). If you
want political calls, you tell NOMOROBO and they will allow them
through. Also, legal charities will never blocked unless you tell them
to block them. The FCC allows them to do what ever they want.
A majority of the calls you get come from off-shore making it difficult
for the government to do anything about it. One thing the scammers do
is spoof the caller ID so their real number never shows. Some only use
out of service numbers will some use real numbers. As an example, a
couple of months ago I received a call and the caller ID displayed my
own home phone number. The software is readily available to do this
even though it is illegal to do so. They don't care.
I received a notice from Verizon that on 12/18/2017 they will be
marking calls deemed to be from telemarketers and other robo-calls with
the "SPAM" designator just
before the name or number on your caller ID readout. This should help
users decide if you want to pick up the call. Hopefully other phone
service providers will follow suit.
EMAIL and the INTERNET...
; if you
use a computer/pad/smartphone and access email, you have received
messages that fit this category. If you are lucky, your email provider
will catch and relegate them to a "SPAM" or "JUNK" folder. It all
depends on your providers email rules and system software. Some are
better than others. You can help build the rules by moving emails you
determine to be SPAM to that special folder. Hopefully your provider or
your email reader will have the ability to learn from "experience."
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
: Look at
the sender, if you do not know who it is you may want to just delete it
or move it to the SPAM folder. Look at any internet links in the
message. Try to determine if it is from a good source or not. For
instance, for a message from your bank may want you to select an included link for
some reason. You can examine the link by hovering the mouse/cursor over
the link but do not select it (don't click). Your browser or email
reader has a status line (usually at the bottom of the window) you should see the
real link. If it shows the address of your bank, then it should be ok.
If it shows something different then it is most likely SPAM or a SCAM
in an attempt to compromise your internet browser, email software or
the computer itself.
As an example, a message from Bank of America should show...
There could be something in front of the bankofamerica delineated by a "." and maybe something after the "/". If it shows something like this...
or no bankofamerica
at all, it is a SCAM attempt. Nothing should ever come after the bankofamerica
and the ".com"
Use these rules of operation for any email you receive and stay
safe. Don't fall for things that look to good to be true. Email and the
Internet are safe places as long as you are vigilant and follow simple
rules. Don't get caught. No real company, bank etc. will ever ask you
to click on a link and "verify" your information, yet many fall for
this everyday. They will notify you by mail or phone and have you call
them via a number you already have. If they give a number in an email
or snail mail, it is probably fake. I cannot express this enough - BE
CAREFUL. If it seems I am yelling, I am.
There will be more on this page as time goes by, especially at tax time. TT is one of the scammers favorite time of year.