Con artists—posing as grandchildren call seniors, asking them to send money for an emergency.
One example being, the grandchild says that they had been going to a concert the night before and on the way, got into a car accident. And, they are now in jail because it was their fault. The call can sometimes include a spoof lawyer posing along with the grandchild who is now supposedly in jail, acting on their behalf. They are calling because they need bail money to get out of jail (plus to pay the lawyer) - and they don't want you to tell their parents because they are so embarrassed. The amount of money they are asking for can be a lot—up to $4,999.00 or more. They then convince the grandparent to immediately wire them money through a Western Union or Money Mart type outlet.
Hundreds of seniors have been victimized across North America and continue to be - especially here in the lower mainland.
Learn more about this scam at http://alturl.com/49aao
or a CTV report at http://alturl.com/52s42.
The "I am calling you from Windows Tech Support" Scam
There is another telephone scam going around that targets anyone home who happens to own a computer, particularly PC Windows-based systems.
An unidentified caller phones you (usually from an Indian call centre far, far away with no caller ID) to let you know that they are from Windows or Microsoft Tech Support (of which there is no such thing).
They tell you that your computer is in dire need of repair right away because they have been alerted to the fact that your computer is running slowly, either because of viruses or because it needs an additional piece of software—at a cost, of course.
So, how the heck do they know that YOUR computer is in need of repair? This is your first clue that it is a scam and don't let them tell you otherwise.
It's a total hit and miss opportunity for them as most of the population now have computers - but not everyone.
They intentionally scare you to believe that you computer is compromised and that they need you to check it to show/prove to you that it is indeed needing immediate repair with the goal to charge you (by credit card) to fix it remotely.
They urge you to go to your computer directing you to look at your system Event Viewer, which logs all Microsoft error reports. They ask you to count the number of red cross-marked errors and yellow warnings, and then warn you that, "These errors and warnings are very much harmful for your computer. These are major problems and it doesn't matter if you have one or two errors or more than that. Each one has already started corrupting your whole computer system."
This is bogus and not true at all. After scaring the hoots out of you, their ultimate goal is to tell you that you need repair right away and they can do it remotely right then and there, for a charge of course.
Do not agree to do this as this is very dangerous where they can gain access to all your personal information or any other kind of banking/password information that you may have on your computer.
Stop the call immediately, by saying no, I do not have a computer and hang up. Do not continue to engage with them as they are very persistent. Microsoft Windows will never call people on the phone about their computers.
If you computer needs fixing, take it to a reputable computer repair shop locally.
1. If the caller identifies themselves as a family member i.e.: a grandson, the first question you should ask is, which grandson? Do not feed them information by saying... is that you “Joe”?
2. If you are still uncertain, you should ask specific information about that person calling (grandson), that they and only a select few other people would know—test them. For example, you might ask what elementary school they attended, or what the name of a family pet may have been. If they are unable to answer these questions it is likely that they are NOT whom they are pretending to be. Trust your intuition—if it doesn't feel right, it isn't.
3. Never give out ANY personal information over the phone ever, including account numbers, social insurance numbers, passwords or PIN numbers. Even if the person claims they are a representative from a banking institution, legitimate businesses would not ask for this information on the phone or in an email - Never give your 3 digit Credit Card PIN over the phone under any circumstance.
4. When a person is asking for a charitable donation ask for written information about the charity to be mailed to you, including name, address and telephone number. A legitimate charity or fund-raiser will give you information about the charity’s mission, how your donation will be used and proof that your contribution is tax deductible.
5. Always review credit and bank statements immediately upon receiving them - check every transaction. This also includes when shopping at the store - always check your receipt at the checkout... and, always hide/shield your PIN number whenever using your debit card or credit card any where.
6. Never use the telephone numbers provided by callers to contact them, use the telephone book or the operator to obtain the numbers. Also, activate the caller-ID on your phone so you can know who is calling. If the call came in unidentified, that is one reason to be cautious. Any reputable company or charity would not hide who they are - in most cases.
7. Do not respond to offers that demand you act immediately or won’t take “no” for an answer.
8. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If you have information about these or any other scam, please immediately report it to the police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Call Centre (Phonebusters) at 1-888-495-8501 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info on this scam and others, visit their website at www.phonebusters.com.
Also, here is also an informational page that explains how you can protect yourself from all types of scams, click here to educate yourself.
***Have you or a friend ever been scammed? If so, what was the scam?... We welcome your feedback and comments below so it can help others to be aware and stay safe online and on the phone.