How many times a day does your phone ring and how many of those are outright scams? There are so many scams that the FBI has a webpage that breaks them into several classes. Here’s a link: https://www.fbi.gov/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes
Since we live where we live, let’s take a look at the list of what the FBI calls Elder Fraud.
- Romance scam
- Tech support scam
- Grandparent scam
- Government impersonation scam
- Sweepstakes/charity/lottery scam
- Home repair scam
- Family/caregiver scam
I have lost count of how many of these scams have touched one of my clients. It is heart-breaking to hear these folks recount how they fell for it.
How can you Protect Yourself?
- Recognize scam attempts and end all communication with the perpetrator.
- Resist the pressure to act quickly. Scammers create a sense of urgency to produce fear and lure victims into immediate action. Call the police immediately if you feel there is a danger to yourself or a loved one.
- Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls, mailings, and door-to-door services offers.
- Never give or send any personally identifiable information, money, jewelry, gift cards, checks, or wire information to unverified people or businesses.
- Make sure all computer anti-virus and security software and malware protections are up to date. Use reputable anti-virus software and firewalls.
- Disconnect from the internet and shut down your device if you see a pop-up message or locked screen. Pop-ups are regularly used by perpetrators to spread malicious software. Enable pop-up blockers to avoid accidentally clicking on a pop-up.
- Be careful what you download. Never open an email attachment from someone you don’t know, and be wary of email attachments forwarded to you.
- Take precautions to protect your identity if a criminal gains access to your device or account. Immediately contact your financial institutions to place protections on your accounts, and monitor your accounts and personal information for suspicious activity.
What is probably the most important advice I have ever heard for those that have been scammed, is: TELL EVERYONE. Tell your family, friends, and financial institutions. Tell your family and friends, because they are potentially next on the scammer’s list. Once they have your funds, they go after everyone close to you as well.
It may be embarrassing to admit, but how would you feel if they also got scammed, and you could have prevented it by telling them your experience?
Steven Aldrich is a technology advisor with decades of experience as an IT Director and is the owner of First Coast Computer Services. Contact Steven if you need a trusted advisor to come to your business or home and help with your technology. See my ad on this page. Steve@fccspro.com or (904) 479-5661.