Chalk up 2016 as another year of role-playing rip-offs: Fake IRS agents threatening arrest or deportation unless immediate payment is made for supposed back taxes. Fake grandchildren claiming trouble while overseas and in need of their loved ones’ financial help. Fake warnings of dire consequences for supposedly missing jury duty, avoided only by paying a fine and providing personal information for likely identity theft.
After seven long years, the tech support scam continues as a reigning rip-off, generating more reports nationwide to the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline (877-908-3360) than any scheme except the IRS impostor ruse. Microsoft estimates that another 3.3 million Americans will fall victim in 2015, losing an estimated $1.5 billion to fraudsters posing as its or other tech company employees.
En español | For six years, telephones have been ringing off the hook with alarming but bogus news: There’s a dangerous virus on your computer, and the caller – a self-described technician with Microsoft, “Windows” or an antivirus software company – says he can remove it … for a price.
When fraudsters cook up a new scam, they typically use the same recipe: Start by establishing a connection with the target, be it through sweet talk or intimidation; mix in feigned credibility or authority; then turn on the heat to trigger emotions for an “Act Now!” response. For icing on the fake, add a dash of modern technology.
While some 750 documented data breaches and the hacking of 160 million personal and business and government payment records dominated the news in 2014, the prime calling cards of scammers trying to steal your hard-earned money were intimidation and fear. Here’s how the scams work:
Once again, scammers have developed new twists on some of the most popular frauds of years past. Although the original versions continue - especially preying on those over age 50 - here's what you should know about some revised rip-offs currently making the rounds.
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