There is a new phone scam circulating, and it seems the perpetrators just get slicker every day. Even the most Internet-savvy users can easily be fooled with some of the ploys of these newest con artists. According to a Scam Alert published Sept. 25 on the Sullivan County Sheriff's Department blog, cybercriminals using public phone directory information available are targeting people with these phone scams. The blog post described one such incident that occurred recently in the Ti-Cities when a resident was told that Microsoft was calling to tell them that their computer license had expired.
The victim of this Microsoft scam was directed to go to a website where they downloaded malware that put their computer data at risk. They also surrendered credit card data to pay a $349 fee. The caller then called back to say there had been a mistake and the victim was due a "refund" to their bank account. Of course, they needed that bank account information to make the refund. At this point, the victim became suspicious. (Why not sooner, it might be asked?) Fortunately, the credit card company was notified and was able to stop payment.
Phone scams like these are particularly successful with elderly people who often don't quite hear everything that is said. Sometimes, they even think it is a relative calling them.
The best rule of thumb is to never give out any information by phone. If you have an elderly relative, be sure they understand they are to hang up and phone a trusted person before disclosing any information.
The Sullivan County Sheriff's Department explains it succinctly:
"Most legitimate companies DO NOT make unsolicited phone calls."
Microsoft has a link you can visit to find out more about this particular Microsoft scam.
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