Scams to Watch Out For

by Robin Bush, ISR Communications

There are several technology scams to watch out for these days.

The first is a phone call scam. You get a call from someone telling you your computer is infected with malware. If you have caller ID, it looks legitimate, as if it is from Microsoft, Dell, or others. HANG UP IMMEDIATELY! These companies will never call you about malware threats. It is a scam. 

The second is an email scam. You get an email that appears to be from a payment service you use (Zelle, Paypal, Venmo, etc.). The email says your account will be debited for a gift card and provides a number for you to call for more information. DO NOT CALL! Delete the email. If you have concerns, contact your bank directly, and never call any number provided in the email. 

The third is a screen pop-up on your computer. It says your computer has a serious problem and provides a phone number to call for help resolving it. Also, the pop-up won’t go away. DO NOT CALL! If you do, you will be asked to allow the stranger to take over the operation of your computer. They run a harmless program that is a series of numbers and symbols that makes it look like they are doing something. They tell you these indicate corruption of your files. They offer to repair your computer and require you to give them your credit card information so they can charge you for the “repairs.”  That often begins a series of fraudulent charges to your credit card, and they may install malware on your computer that will result in actual serious issues.

If you have trouble closing the pop-up, you must force close your browser. If you’re using Windows, hit Ctrl + Alt + Delete, open the Task Manager, select your software, and click on end task. If you’re on a Mac: hit Command + Option + Escape.

Here are a few tips for avoiding tech scams from Senior Planet’s Digital Skills Ready classes:

  • “Never give remote access control to anyone you don’t know.
  • Computer and government tech support specialists will never cold call. If you get such a call, it’s a scam. Hang up.
  • Legitimate computer companies don’t put their phone numbers on pop-up warnings asking people to call.  If you get such a warning, it’s a scam.”

For more ways to be “digital savvy,” go to and search for Digital Skills Ready to see their classes.