AARP warns of tech support scams

News

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – We all use computers, cell phones and other electronic devices everyday, but did you know Microsoft has estimated tech support scams bilk 3.3 million people every year?

A tech support scams is when people contact you saying your computer isn’t working correctly. The scammers often target elderly people, according to AARP. That is why the organization is warning people about the signs to look for when it comes to tech support scams.

According to AARP, these type of scams come in different forms. It could be a pop-up with a warning message on your computer or a phone call with someone claiming to be with Microsoft, Apple or a software company.

Warren Searls is a volunteer with a-a-r-p. While he spends his time warning others about potential scams, he admits to falling victim to one himself.

“I needed some help and I just went online and I said Apple support and I picked the first one,” Searls said. “I was in a hurry and I just didn’t pay attention to what I was doing, knew better, but fortunately once I realized what I had done, I shut the transaction down, called my credit card company.”

The following is information provided by AARP:

Warning signs for tech scams:

  • An unsolicited phone call or email from someone claiming to work for Microsoft. The company says it does not contact customers unless they initiate communication.
  • A pop-up window warning that your computer has been infected or invaded and listing a number to call for help.
  • Anyone who asks you to pay for tech support or other services with a gift card, cash-reload card or wire transfer.

Do’s

  • Do check at least once a week for updates for your computer’s security software, and run scans several times a week.
  • Do hang up if you get an unsolicited call from someone who claims to be a tech support provider for your computer or software.
  • Do read any warning message on your computer carefully. Bad grammar or misspelled words are telltale signs of a phony warning

Don’ts

  • Don’t ever allow someone who calls you out of the blue to access your computer remotely.
  • Don’t rely on caller ID to determine if a caller is on the level. Scammers can make it appear as if they’re calling from a legitimate number.
  • Don’t give your computer username or any account passwords to someone over the phone.

For more information on how to protect yourself, visit AARP’s Fraud Watch Network.

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