Tag Archives: Ftc

Computer Scams

Computer scams come in all forms

Computer scams are more common than ever before. Scammers send millions of emails every day, pretending to be from tech support, a government office, or insurance company. They promise to send lottery winnings, offers that are too good to be true, or sales on products that will never arrive once ordered. Scammers can take advantage of people even if the target doesn’t take the bait. Thieves send emails that contain malware, spyware or viruses that infect the computer when they are opened. Users can’t detect infect files so they are unaware has been breached. Scammers contact targets through phone calls, text messages, email, and pop up ads. If you receive calls or texts from someone you don’t know, you can use a caller ID app for iPhone to identify it.

Feeding on Fear

Scammers can feed on a consumers’ fear by alerting them to security breaches, viruses, or useless software programs for malware and spyware. The target buys the product, worried about stolen identity or worse. The scammer steals the person’s information and credit card or bank account info and disappears.

Computer Tech Support 

You receive a call from someone claiming to be from computer tech support from a real company like Microsoft or Apple. The caller says there is a problem with your computer, e.g., a virus or damaged memory. The scammer offers to fix the problem for a small fee. You are asked to wire money or pay with a gift card. They ask for those because it is almost impossible to trace or get your money back. They offer to run a scan if you give them access. If you agree, the scammer pretends to run a scan on your computer and then tells you about a problem that isn’t real. The Federal Trade Commission has recorded one of the calls made by a computer tech support fraudster. The FTC has posted a  recorded call from a scammer: You can listen here.

Online Shopping

The person or company offers products at a low rate. The scammer takes the money but they never arrive. The company refuses to give a refund.

How to Spot the Scam

Con artists can trick people out of money in many different ways. Here are some common consumer scams.

Phone Calls

Scammers make thousands if not hundreds of thousands of random phone calls every day. There is no limit to the stories they will tell. Legitimate companies do not call to ask for payment for tech support or alert you to a government issue. If you do receive a call, use a reverse phone search to look up the number that called you. You should write it down so it can be reported to the authorities.

Improve Security

Thieves love weak passwords. Change passwords often or create a password using a password generator to improve your computer’s security.

Reporting a Scam

Consumers neglect to report scams because they are embarrassed or they may not know that they’ve been scammed. If you think you’ve been scammed, report it online to the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant.