In the latest push to stop ID theft among the elderly, Microsoft is hosting more than 300 AARP members to reveal how online fraudsters work. In the United States, it is estimated that over 3 million people will pay over 1 billion to online scammers. It seems that lately more and more elderly are being bilked out of their retirement money and becoming prime targets for ID theft.
It is common for online scammers to call your grandparents claiming that they have the solutions to fix their unknown computer problems through remote desktop access. Using official company names like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, scammers convince victims to needlessly spend money on online support services. Since May 2014, Microsoft has received more than 175,000 (and counting) complaints about technical support scams.
Ironically, AARP’s Fraud Watch Network Ambassador and identity theft expert is none other than Frank Abagnale, the legendary fraudster played by Leonardo DiCaprio, in the movie, “Catch Me If You Can.” Abagnale knows first-hand how scammers think and what they do to gain people’s trust in order to gain access to their computers and their personal information.
In addition to today’s AARP event in Redmond, Microsoft offers monthly tours of Microsoft’s Cybercrime Center for AARP members and partners with AARP’s Fraud Watch Network to help elderly people know the warning signs of a possible online scam. There are many ways that you can prevent yourself and your loved ones from being victims of online scams.
It is important to keep in mind that Microsoft would never call anyone to offer computer software or security upgrades over the phone. Here are steps that you can do to keep yourself protected if someone claiming to be from Microsoft support calls you:
- Do not provide your credit card or other financial information over the phone
- Do not give anyone the ability control your computer remotely
- Do not purchase any software or services over the phone
If you are an elderly computer user or want to know more information about how you can protect your elderly loved one, head on over to AARP’s Fraud Watch Network.