If you should receive a call from Microsoft or Apple, hang up the telephone. Microsoft and Apple have no idea who you are.

Scammers will stop at nothing to get between you and your money. They will call pretending to be from governmental agencies or companies that you do business with to earn your trust. One scam that is on the rise is the scam call pretending to be from Microsoft or Apple. The caller says they have detected an issue with your computer, and they can help you fix it.

 If you should receive a call from Microsoft or Apple, hang up the telephone. Microsoft and Apple have no idea who you are. The only time you might receive a call from Microsoft or Apple is if you first called them and they are returning the call.  If they call you first, this is a scam to steal your money.

 How do they do it?

Here is how the scam works. They call you, tell you there is a problem with your computer, and instruct you to visit a website to download a program so they can remotely check your computer. Now the scammer is in your computer. You can see the mouse curser move around as the “technician” checks your device for issues, particularly viruses. The scammer reinforces his act by displaying images on your monitor confirming your computer is infected.  You are shocked to learn your computer is infected and you ask the scammer for help. Now he has you right where he wants you.

 He tells you that they can fix the issues for a fee. The fee ranges from $100 up to over $800.  The scammer asks you to provide a credit card for payment. He may then state that they are having issues with the credit card and asks you if you have another credit card. Now he has the information for two of your credit cards.  If you eagerly provide this information, he will claim that they are having issues processing credit cards, but they could deduct the amount from your bank account. All you need to do is give him your bank routing and account numbers. Now he has information on two of your credit cards and your bank account information. He processes the payment, then shows you images to confirm he has fixed your computer.

 Later, you become suspicious and decide to call your credit card company and bank to dispute the charges. You will soon learn that the charges cannot be disputed as the caller has a recording of you authorizing the charge. If you think back, you might remember him saying that the call was being recorded to process the transaction.

 How to Prevent It

Protecting yourself from this scam is easy. Hang up the telephone. Microsoft and Apple will not call you and offer to check your computer for viruses. If you receive ANY calls offering to scan or fix your computer, hang up. Don’t believe the information displayed in the caller ID. It can easily be spoofed to display anything the scammer wants it to say.

 What to do if you are already a victim

If you are a victim, here are steps you should take.

  • Disconnect your device, the one they scanned, from the internet until you have the device checked by a reputable company.
  • Contact the credit card company or companies to report that your card has been compromised.
  • Contact your bank, if the information was compromised, to report the fraud.
  • Verify with your credit card company and bank that there are no pending auto-drafts for your accounts.
  • Monitor your statements carefully for any future charges. Dispute them if detected.

Written by Carrie Kerskie

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