Scam Awareness From Trip beeskneesitbeelogohoney

These are scams that some of our clients have had to deal with this year. Most are not even computer related, but we are sick of people falling for these scams. We decided to post them here to help with awareness.

Please tell your friends to be aware of them, and don’t fall for these scams.

Tech Support Call Scam

Someone calls you or sends you an e-mail and says they are from Microsoft or another computer company, saying that your computer is reporting errors or is infected with a virus. They then get you to give them remote access to your computer where they then royally mess it up and offer to fix it for a charge, and even after you pay, they can’t fix it for that price, and the fee grows. I’ve had multiple clients fall for this. If you ever get this call, just Hang-Up. You don’t even need to tell them to take you off the call list, as they are a scammer and don’t care.

Things To Know:
1. Your computer doesn’t report errors to anyone except on your agreement, and even then it is anonymous and only used to see how many computers are getting a certain error. It isn’t connected to you in any way.
2. No legitimate company will ever call you to “proactively” fix things. There is no way for them to know if you do or do not have errors.
3. Never give your money over the phone to someone unless you called them on a number you know is legitimate.

The Grandson/Daughter or Family Scam.

They will either research a family member via Facebook or newspaper, or just cold call you. It usually starts with something like “Hi grandma/grandpa, guess who this is?” If it is a cold call and you guess a grandson/granddaughter, they now have a name and will start to pretend to be this person. If you guess the wrong one, they then tell you the right one, and then pretend. They then tell you a sob story, and that they “can’t have their parents find out about this”, and they need the money asap. They say this money is for something like a car repair, an overdue bill, or even bail from jail. Another tactic is that they are on the way to a wedding and forgot the gift at home and they can’t drive/fly back to get it and don’t want to show up empty handed. Another tactic is to say that they are a friend of a family member, and that the family member is in the hospital or jail and needs money asap to get out. They may even know all about your family member due to social media research.

Things To Know:
Do Not give money to anyone this way.
2. If you think they actually may be the person they claim to be, hang up and call them on a known good number.
3. Never give any information at all to anyone who has called you. Hang-up and then call your family member on a known good number.

The IRS Scam

This one happens a lot. Someone calls you and says they are from the IRS. They then say they have been trying to reach you for a while. They say you owe a lot of back taxes, and if you don’t begin paying immediately, you will go to jail or other threats.

Things to know:
1. The IRS will never call you. If you did owe back taxes they would contact you by certified letter.
2. Never give money over the phone to anyone, unless you called them on a known legitimate number.
3. If you have any questions for this one, just ask an accountant. I had a client give over $8000 to this scam and at that point, their bank could not get it all back.

The Obituary Scam

After a loved one dies, someone may call you to say that the loved one owed them money. This can even happen to friends of a deceased loved one.

Things to know:
1. Probate exists for this reason. If a loved one truly did owe the person money, then they will have to present it in court.
Never give them any money or information. Simply tell them to talk to the lawyer for the estate.

The Healthcare Scam

You may get a call from someone offering to save you money on your prescription prices. This is bogus. They are either selling fake drugs, or are trying to get your personal information for nefarious purposes.

Things to know:
1. There are only two ways to save money on your prescriptions. One is to shop around good pharmacies in town. The other are legitimate websites created for this purpose. Beware that there a lot of bad websites that will just steal your information or sell you fake drugs.
2. Never give any personal information over the phone to someone who called you. Not even a partial social security number.

The Extended Warranty Scam

You may get a call or letter from a company saying your warranty will expire on your car or appliance etc. These are usually bad or downright evil. While some extended warranty companies are legit, legitimate companies will not market this way. Most of these bad ones will either sell you a useless policy with ridiculous co-pays, or will just be trying to get personal information to defraud you in other ways such as stealing your credit or money.

Things to know:
1. If you want an extended warranty, look for ones recommended by the company that made the car or appliance.
In most cases you are much better off putting that money in a savings account to cover repairs, instead of paying for a warranty that you will probably never use or has so many loopholes that it doesn’t cover actual repairs.

The Lottery or Winning Prize Scam

You may get a call or letter from a company saying you won a contest or lottery and that they just need you to deposit a check for them, or give them your account numbers, or pay a small processing or shipping fee, or pay the taxes up front to receive the prize. If they are asking for any of this, Hang-Up. If it really sounds legitimate, only give them your address, period. They can send you a check and you can ask your banker for help to see if it is legitimate before you deposit it.

Things to know:
1. It is illegal for anyone to ask you to buy something or pay a fee to increase your chance of winning anything.
If you won a legitimate prize, there would be no fee to receive it, period. Never give money or account information of any kind to receive a prize. They should send you a check, and all they should need is your name and address.
3. Never give them any checking account or credit card numbers for “direct deposit of the prize money”, as this gives them full access to steal from you.
4. Never wire money to anyone to receive a prize. Once money is wired, it is impossible to get back. No legitimate prize will require this.
5. Never give them money to pay or cover the “taxes” for the prize up front. That isn’t how taxes work. If you win a legitimate prize, then you file that with the IRS when you file your taxes, not before.