How to Spot a Scammer

Scammer

There are a lot of scams out there in the online world these days. But, it’s usually fairly easy to spot a scammer and avoid paying the price of falling into their traps.

Pop-Ups

The easiest way to spot a scammer is to be wary of unidentified pop-up messages on your device. If you suddenly get a pop-up message, e-mail or alert that your computer has a virus, make sure to avoid clicking on the message itself or the links associated with it. Oftentimes a scam will request remote access to your desktop to ‘fix’ the issue at hand, and may even ask for payment in the process. Do not do this, as it’s most likely a scam. If you feel as if your computer is infected with a virus, bring it to a computer professional and seek out licensed antivirus software immediately.

Callers

Other scammers are more personable, posing as tech support from the nation’s most recognizable names in technology, such as Google, Apple, or Microsoft. These voices will also claim they’ve detected harmful scripts and viruses on your computer, and will ask for the same things as the bogus pop-up messages on your desktop: access to your computer and payment for their “services”. If they offer free scans for viruses, those are also most likely not real or helpful.

Online Shopping Scammers

Internet scammers don’t just pop up in tech support.  They also exist in common online marketplaces like Craigslist and online shopping forums. If anyone on the internet offers to do business with you but requires a money order or wire transfer, or if the figure you’re speaking to online seems to be dragging their feet in letting you know who they are, do not do business with them. In the growing sharing economy, transparency is key to maintaining a positive online trade experience, and being unable to find legitimate information about a seller or buyer online (like their real-world telephone number, for example) then it’s best to stay away.

You’re a Winner!

We’ve all seen this one before – a surprising pop-up message letting us know that we’ve won an elusive online prize. The unnamed company offering the prize requires our bank account information and other personal identification numbers to send us our winnings. Oh, how untrue all that really is.

In the end, if something online involves cash (outside of recognized and legitimate online retail spaces), your personal details, sounds like it’s too good to be true, evokes fear for your safety or the safety of you computer, or pushes you to act on a short timetable, it’s most likely a scam or something else to stay far away from.

At Rocky Mountain Computer Specialists, we offer a wide variety of IT support for all kinds of computer users. If you have any questions about scams or how to keep your information safe while online, give us a call today. 




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