Just hand up when scammers make the call

Posted by Kent Osborne on
NPR

Crooks don't care about the 'Do Not Call' registery. When the phone rings your first clue is your caller ID shows an unlisted number, a blocked number, or worst – a call from area code 473.   The ‘ring and run’ scam – which means they call and disconnect before you can answer leaving your curiosity to get the better of you.   When you call back you are hit with hefty charges on your phone bill even for a very short call.  A few of the many other area codes to be careful of are 809, 284, 649 and 876.

Even though it’s been around for a few years one scam that South Dakota seniors are reporting to the AARP Fraud Watch Network steadily is the ‘Microsoft Tech Support’ scam.

Here’s how it works.  Someone claiming to be from Windows Helpdesk , Windows Service Center, Microsoft Tech Support, or the Microsoft Research and Development Team (Microsoft R & D Team) calls to let you know that your computer has been identified as having viruses or malware infections that need to be removed.  And they are there to help.  The scammers can be very convincing, and are reportedly becoming very aggressive.  After walking you through the steps to allow them access to your computer you will be instructed to pay them a fee for the service of cleaning your computer.  If you refuse things can really get bad for you and your computer. Remember – they have full control of your machine now, and can install, delete, or copy your files.

The best advice is to remember that no one from Microsoft (or the IRS – that’s a different scam) will ever call you.  It goes against South Dakotans good nature to hang up, but that is what you must do.  Do not engage the scammers with comments, or questions.

At holiday time it seems like the scammers come out of the woodwork to play on our giving nature, and we’ll talk about  different types of charity an shopping scams on Dakota Midday: Techradio as we get closer to Christmas. To learn about more scams, or report one – visit AARP’s Fraud Watch website .

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