Consumer Scam Awareness

Recently, there have been people that have fallen victim to a Tech Support Scam that is going around (again). The caller indicates they work for Microsoft, or Microsoft asked them to call because their personal computer has a virus or their account has been hijacked. That said, not knowing any better, they allow this person to run a free scan of their computer with common free tools. The tools will always find something (usually benign) however the caller will convince them it is bad. The caller will sell a support agreement to fix the problem. The costs are usually between $250-$300 per computer to fix the problem and provide future technical support. The caller will call back, and give you a number that you can call them back on. They will spend hours on the phone with you too. In one of the examples above, the scam caller has this website posted with legit numbers that are answered.

The Federal Trade Commission has been cracking down on these types of scams. They have issued a site with information on this particular scam here. They have also issued a report of the Top Ten Scams of 2014 listed here.

Here are a couple of recommendations with regards to phone and internet consumer protection

  • Never ever ever ever give out your checking account number (or your Social Security Number) to anyone who contacts you.
  • Never use a Debit Card with a new “Unknown” company (use a credit card for better fraud protection)
  • If someone calls you, do not conduct business in that phone call. Call them back after researching the company or business and calling a legit business number.
  • If someone calls you from Fraud Prevention from your bank or credit card company, politely hang up and call the number on the back of your card or the actual website.
  • Microsoft will never call you to tell you that you have Malware or viruses, nor will they tell anyone else that you need help.
  • When notices are sent to you from your financial institutions, you should not use the links in the email. Go directly to their site and log in without using the email.