So, last month I talked about the scams that are often put upon the disabled and senior communities, and I would like continue that dialogue. By the way, these don’t only apply to seniors
and disabled people; they apply to everyone, and they come in a variety of methods and modes.
Phone Calls: You may get a call from someone who says they are from Microsoft and have received an alert from your computer that you have a virus, and they want to get your password so that they can fix it. So, you give them your password and all of a sudden nothing works on your computer, or, worse, they now have access to all your data on your computer like other passwords, maybe credit card numbers, or social security information. Usually, legitimate computer agencies do not call you, YOU call them. Hopefully you contact the phone number of the real organization for help, which can be verified before giving out information. By you making the call, you helpfully have verified the legitimate contacts for Microsoft ( or whoever ) to address your problem. Furthermore, if you have been using your computer and haven’t had any issues, chances are the call you got was bogus.
Also, some callers will say they are from IRS or some other company and that you are past due on your bill, and so they are willing to take a payment over the phone. Never give Credit Card numbers information over the phone unless you have already verified the number and agency. IRS will NEVER call you, they do everything through the mail; so if someone says they are from the IRS, hang up immediately.
Computer messages: Again, you may get an email that looks like it comes from Apple or Microsoft, and it may say that you have won a free computer; and in order to get it, you just need to fill out an online form that asks for your social security number and a credit card number. Again, don’t respond to this email, better yet don’t open up any emails that you don’t recognize the email address. This is, again, another way to get personal information and or infiltrate your computer. Once in, they can manipulate and monitor your emails from afar, reading everything you send or get via email. ONLY OPEN UP EMAILS THAT YOU RECOGNIZE THE EMAIL ADDRESS. Delete all the others.
Online Purchases: Today we all buy stuff on the internet using our credit cards. For these purchases only buy from sites that you know, such as Amazon, or from major stores like Best Buy or Walmart. National brands will have secure website, and only use a credit card, NOT A DEBIT CARD. Credit cards offer some protection for your purchase for which you can dispute, or send back for a credit if not satisfied. Debit cards are like cash, once you purchase, it will be hard to get your money back, regardless of the reason. Credit cards have what is called,” Dispute Resolution” and will do an investigation about the purchase and usually will support you with any returns.
Finally, there is an old adage that says, “Whatever seems too good to be true, usually is (too good to be true) and therefore unrealistic and false. And always back away from anyone or anything that has to be done, right away or on the spot, these are usually scams. Legitimate vendors will be glad to let you think about a purchase before making it. Most purchases can be held off until the next day, so that you have time to do some research and think about the issue.