Scams in the “Good Life City”? What is this world coming to? We’re always hearing in the news about swindles that happen elsewhere in our country, but what about right here in Albany? Let me just share a few that I’ve recently heard from clients and readers.
The latest one is a fake call from “Microsoft” regarding some kind of “critical errors coming from your computer”. The caller who speaks broken English (first clue) says that errors are being picked up by the World Wide Computer and he of course can fix that with some help by using your keyboard. Stop! Look at your caller ID for the second clue; could be 212-377-3032 or something like that. Two clients had that happen last week, so I am assuming that the scammer is working a local phone book or some other kind of list that has phone numbers listed. By the way, if you call the number back, you get a recording that the number has been disconnected: another scam to cover up a scam. My advice on this one is to be rude! Use some expletives that you’ve been wanting to try out! Just don’t follow any instructions from this guy. Google the phone number for further comments about this one.
I wrote a few weeks ago about frauds that involve stealing email passwords for the purpose of recruiting robot email senders as part of worldwide botnets that send spam all over. The tipoff to most of these is that they send you an email requesting your personal information while posing as your Internet provider. This has happened recently in the Albany area with both of the major ISPs. Remember, no legitimate company asks for your passwords, Social Security Number or the like by email. The same warning applies to banks.
As I’m writing this column, I heard of another email scam perpetrated locally. One of my clients was victim to having her email address (not her password) sold to someone who resold it to numerous legitimate (or semi-legit) retailers who began bombarding her with targeted sales pitches. The sheer volume of these made it necessary for her to abandon her email address and set up a new one. Apparently this was a drive by pick up of her address probably when she visited a Website which was tracking users just for the purpose of collecting email addresses. These people were not trying to recruit PCs for botnets, but they were selling contacts in a shady way and causing floods of unwanted email traffic much to the annoyance of the victim. The moral of this story is be careful where you go on the Internet and be selective about who you lend your computer to
Remember my recent warnings about teen aged boys; the most dangerous class of users on the WWW. Have them sign in under a guest profile and if they use their own devices on your network, have them use a guest network.
Be vigilant and till next week, send your questions to: