Beware of a new scam involving computer software updates

By | March 9, 2019

Many people think they are savvy about phone scams, but some are hard to detect. The latest one involves computer software updates. In these instances, a targeted victim is contacted via text message regarding renewing a subscription for computer software. When the victim calls the number back, the caller convinces them to provide remote access to their computer so the caller can review the software. 

The scammer then promises to credit the victim for the subscription amount but ask that they first wire a certain amount to them before they can process the refund. They get the victim’s money, but the victim gets nothing in return.  This most recent hoax stemmed from a land line in San Antonio, TX, but it could be from anywhere. Typically, the number looks legitimate. 

Northville Police Chief Alan Maciag advises people not to give out any personal information to people who contact them by cell phone or on their home line. “One common practice by the scammers is to use wire transfers or pre-paid cards as an avenue to send them money.”

Sometimes their pitch seems plausible: the utility company has overcharged you and needs to credit you money; the IRS made a mistake on your return and wants to send you a refund; or you won an inheritance but first you must wire money to claim it. 

Maciag said, “If you are unsure about a transaction, call the police department first. We can reference reports. Don’t give them access to your computer or account information.” 

Another one making the rounds is from someone claiming your social security number has been compromised, and asking you to provide the number or the last four digits. If this happens to you, do not divulge any information. Instead, call your local Social Security Office directly and inform them of the phone call in question. 

If you have been a victim of a phone scam, you are encouraged to contact the police and file a report. 

Below are links to information regarding the social security scam.  

https://oig.ssa.gov/scams-involving-impersonation-ssa-employee

https://www.fcc.gov/social-security-phone-scams

https://www.freep.com/story/money/personal-finance/susan-tompor/2019/02/07/social-security-scam-drug-bust/2742178002/