Advice & Blog

Be careful and informed of telephone scams

A troublesome trend that I see happen more and more often to some of my clients is the occurrence of phone scams. With the phone scam for example, you may receive a call at some point during the day when a person on the other end of the line claims that you are having a problem with your computer, tablet, cell phone, or one of the programs running on them like Windows or MacOS. They may claim to work for a large software company like Microsoft, Apple, or a hardware company such as H.P. or Acer. They will typically say that there is a problem with Windows and claim if you pay them, they will fix it for you. If you proceed with their instructions they will install a program on your computer that does nothing, or even worse is malware. Finally, they request payment- usually in the form of your credit card- and you could be out hundreds of dollars when you never had the problem that they suggested you had to begin with! The key thing to remember is that Microsoft, Apple, Google, or any other major computing company are NEVER going to contact you out of the blue and tell you that something is wrong. They are too busy to keep track of everyone’s problems and if they could, I wouldn’t be running 60 plus computing. If you encounter one of these phone scams, don’t let it startle you no matter how convincing and end the call with them. If in doubt, call me after and I will make sure that you are o.k.

Also watch out for Internet scams

Closely related to the previously mentioned telephone scam, is the Internet scam. The intentions are the same but the method is different. An Internet scam usually will involve a warning message come on to your screen while you are browsing the internet. The warning message will typically say something such as “Your computer is infected by a virus or viruses, please call this number: XXX-XXX-XXXX” There may also be an alarm sounding or a voice repeating the instructions to call that phone number. Don’t do it. Here there is a similarity to the telephone scam, in that the perpetrator who answers the phone number listed will carry out a telephone scam by asking for money to fix your problem.

If you face an internet scam as in this type of case, I would advise not to call the number on your screen, Instead power down your computer, tablet, or phone and call 60 plus computing for help.

Similarly, stay clear of email scams

If you have read about phone and Internet scams, you may have an idea of what an email scam is about. It is an email coming from what seems like a trusted organization saying that you have a problem on your computer, tablet, or cellphone and only they can fix it. In this case the perpetrator may provide a phone number to call them, or they may include a link in the email to a website that could lead them to take control of your device or encourage you to enter your financial information. These type of email scams often give clues such as spelling your name wrong, not including your name, and by having spelling errors throughout the email message.

A good idea is to look at the subject of your emails as they come in and see if they come across as overly dramatic or irrelevant for your current situation. Once again, you may contact 60 plus computing if you are unsure if the email is really official.

Top Ten ways to avoid malware(viruses)

1. Have an anti-virus program installed - Norton, Bitdefender, Kaspersky, are all good products

2. Make sure that if your anti-virus program doesn't include a firewall, your Windows or Mac one is operational

3. Disable the email preview pane

4. Don't open emails from unknown senders

5. Set your anti-virus program to do a scheduled scan of the full computer at least once a week

6. Keep Windows up to date by setting automatic updates, make sure your Mac updates are done if you use one

7. Likewise, make sure your anti-virus program has its automatic updating for virus definitions available

8. Try to stick to known websites that your friends have visited and left uninfected

9. Don't install more than one anti-virus program, one is enough and more than one can cause conflicts

10. Remember to renew your anti-virus program's subscription once it expires