The world we now live in can be a brutal place. We used to be able to trust people that called our homes, or came to our doors with information, but sadly this is no longer the case. With the age of computers, not only do we have to deal with viruses, but also just regular people trying to steal our information off of them. There are constantly people calling us stating they are from Microsoft or Google, or some other big well known company and asking for our information. They leverage the trust we have in these companies to steal personal information. Some of these people are quite obvious, but others are quite clever. So how do you spot a scam? Do we just become incredibly distrusting people and lose complete faith in humanity, or do we try to still see the good? Here is my attempt to educate you on scams. Hopefully it will help you spot most fakers and prevent you from being a victim.
1. Email scams:
This is the most popular one. It is easy to send out thousands of messages at once, and they just hope that someone thinks it is real. What you should watch out for is any emails from banks, the post office, the government, or anyone of status. If a bank thinks your account has been compromised, they may send you an email asking you to login to your account. What they will NEVER EVER do is provide a link. If you see an email like this delete it. It is trying to direct you to a fake version of the bank’s website to steal your passwords to your real account.
The government still likes to use the regular mail option for communication. You cannot be summoned to court or asked to pay a fine by email, this will never happen. If you get an email like this, delete it. Do not click on any links in the email, just delete it.
All in all, anything from an official source should be scrutinized. The first thing to check is the sender address. Look at that and tell if it is legitimate. For example emails from me come from email@example.com. The “@circuitsaviors.com” part tells you it is legitimately from me. Someone could try to pretend to be me by purchasing the rights to send emails from @circuitsavoirs.com or something similar. At a glance you may not notice, but examining closer will show you that it is fake. Delete any emails like this as they are from illegitimate sources. You can always forward suspect emails to me and I will gladly examine them for you.
2. Phone Scams:
This one is becoming a bit more rampant. I had a client call me recently stating that “Microsoft” had called them about some errors with their computer and they wanted some information so they could help them. The big companies like this never do this. They will only call you if and only if you contact them requesting a call. They don’t have the money to call every single customer they have, so they wait for you to call them. If someone calls you with vague information, ask for specifics. If you are still unsure, hangup the phone, go online and search for the companies real phone number. Call it and ask if they were really trying to contact them.
When it comes to financial information, companies have safeguards setup in regards to how they communicate. This is designed to help you decide if an email is real or fake. Even though it would be must easier for your bank to contact you by email and send you links, they don’t, because that is how the scammers steal from you. Phone calls should always be suspect unless they have some very specific information about you. Do not “confirm your personal information” over the phone unless you called them. If they called you and ask you to confirm your credit card on file by reading it to them, hang up. Don’t even give them the time of day. I hope this information helps and can prevent you from being scammed. I am passionate about raising awareness on this issue, so if I can ever help in any way, please let me know. Feel free to call or email me asking my opinion on things. I never charge for anything like this and I never will.
Sincerely your friendly IT Company,