20 December, 2014
By Joe Callison
Seniors are often targeted by scam artists because we are considered as often easier prey. With the availability of so much personal information on the internet through telephone white pages linked to public records and social media sites such as Facebook, it is easy to identify seniors and find information about us and our families. This information can be used to convince us of the legitimacy of the story being told by the scammer. Just a few of the prevalent scams in 2014 follow:
Technical Support Scams
Hundreds of fake technical support companies, usually claiming to be associated with Microsoft, contact people by telephone, email or computer pop-ups to try to convince them that their computer is infected by viruses or malware. If given access to your computer, they will either install fake viruses on your computer and then show you that you have a problem, or they will show you one or more of the Windows Event Viewer logs on your computer as evidence of errors. Their goal is to convince you to buy their technical services to clean up your computer. Once they have access to your computer, they may even sabotage your computer if you refuse to purchase the services. Just two defendants recently shut down temporarily by the FTC were named as operators of 14 fraudulent companies that siphoned an estimated $120 million dollars from people. Many operate from other countries and can not be shut down by the FTC.
A couple of good resource links on how to identify and what to do on these types of scams are below.
Home Delivery or Store Order Scams
Fake email messages claiming to be from UPS, FedEx or even stores such as Costco or Walmart are especially active during the holidays because of the likelihood that you may have real deliveries pending from those companies. The goal of the fake message is to get you to click on a link and provide personal information that can then be used fraudulently. The legitimate companies already have your information and do not need to request it from you. If in doubt of the authenticity of an email, contact the company directly from their web site or by telephone, not from an email link.
A good resource link on how to identify and what to do on these types of scams is below.
Family Member or Friend Sick, Injured, Legal Trouble etc., Wire Money Now!
These scams are usually by telephone, possibly late at night, to jolt you into responding before taking the time to check it out. Again, because of so much personal information available about you and your family and friends on the internet, a very convincing story can be told, even using names.
A good resource link on how to identify and what to do on this and other types of wire fraud scams is below.