It seems that every day you hear of some new scam or other. Just last week it was a call from Microsoft (or so they told you) that tells you that your computer has been hacked or been infected by some sort of virus. It proceeds to ask you for some personal information so that they can ‘fix the problem.’
If you give out any of your private information, visit any websites, or download anything that they ask you to ‘fix’ your computer security , they gain access to your computer to install malicious programs or gain access to personal data stored on your computer without you ever knowing it.
Thousands of people fall for this type of phone scam regularly resulting in the loss of money, identity theft, and more. It goes without saying that Microsoft doesn’t make these kinds of calls. The first thing you need to be aware of is that such calls claiming to be from Microsoft are a scam. Do not supply them any information. Do not do anything – download, visit links, open email attachments, etc. – that they ask you to.
The safest thing to do would be to say, “No, thank you,” and hang up.
Here are a few other red flags to look out for when receiving any calls from a number that you don’t recognize. The features of popular telemarketing scams.
- You’ve been specially chosen (for an offer).
- You get free stuff if you buy a particular product.
- You’ve won a valuable prize.
- You’ve won big in a lottery(that you haven’t heard of).
- A low-risk investment that provides a higher return than you can get anywhere else.
- You have to take a decision right away.
- They ask you to trust them, get it?
- They tell you not to check their company or the offer with anyone.
- The shipping and handling charges will be charged to your credit card.
Some most popular tactics that scammers use as bait include low-cost or free travel packages, credit or loans, foreign lotteries, charity raffles, extended car warranties and ‘free’ trial offers on varying types of products.
These steps can help protect yourself from most types of scams:
- Never, ever give out your credit card, Social Security number or checking account details.
- Always research the charity or organization before making donations.
- The timing of the call. Telemarketers are generally permitted by law to call between 8 am – 9 pm.
The FTC website also warns those getting a pre-recorded call to not press any buttons or keys in response to such voice messages. These may be to prompt you to speak to a live operator or any other number that will take you off the list. If you do so, it will most likely enroll you in some unwanted action or receive even more robocalls. The best thing to do in such cases would be just to hang up.