Many Americans fall victim to scams every year. Here is part 2 of some scams to watch out for to protect yourself and what to do if you become the victim of a scam.
Tech Support Scam
This is a popular scam that targets all ages. The "tech support" will call stating that a problem has been detected with your computer. The caller will know some of your information like name, address or computer operating system you're using. Other times the scam comes in a form of a pop-up window that simulate an anti-virus software. They want you to call them or click to download a fake program to 'fix' your computer.
The scammers want either your credit card information or access to your computer. If they have your credit card info, they now have access to charge your card. If you give them access to your computer, they can see personal information stored on your computer. They can also keep that access to your computer and try to scam you again when they think is right.
To protect yourself, don't click on pop-ups. Keeping anti-virus software on your computer will help prevent pop-ups. Next, never trust phone calls that are made to you. Large companies like Microsoft or Apple do not make calls. If you do need tech support, these companies wait for you to call them. Do not purchase computer security over the phone or give passwords to anyone who calls.
The Grandparent Scam
In this scam, a younger sounding person will call later in the evening pretending to be their grandchild. They will start with, 'Hi grandma, do you know who this is?' The grandparent then guesses the name of one of their grandchildren. This gives the scammer a fake identity to follow. The scammers like to call later in the day because most people are less alert.
The 'child' will as for cash via money order or cashier's check because that source is untraceable. They will also ask that you don't contact their parents because they would be in serious trouble or embarrassed.
Ask the caller more personal information. This will help to verify their identity. If they can't answer your questions, the scammer will usually hang up. After you've hung up the phone, see if the number they've called from matches up to your records. Call or text your grandchild on the phone number you have for them. Call the child's parents, even if the child has asked you not to. If they are really in trouble, parents should know what is going on.
Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams
Most people are familiar with these types of scams. They have continued on for ages because scammers are continuously finding ways to alter and tweek the scam. Typically, scammers inform you that you've won, but need to make a payment to 'unlock' the prize. They will send you a fake check and ask you to send back a portion of the money for 'taxes and fees.' The funds will show up in your account and before the check bounces, they expect payment from you.
Another form of this is when you post an item on an online 'garage sale.' Buyer will send you a check for the item plus a few hundred dollars to 'pay for delivery.' They let you 'keep' a little extra for your help. When you deposit their check, the funds show up in your account, but by the time you've shipped the item, their check will bounce.
To protect yourself, remember the old adage, 'if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." If you answer a phone call that seems fishy, hang up. Don't wire money to anyone. If you really have won a sweepstakes, you won't be asked to make suspicious payments within days of winning. Don't click on sweepstakes links. If you see something that says, 'click here to wina free iPad, gift card etc' resist the temptation.
We hope that these helpful tips will keep you aware of just some of the scams floating around.
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