I'm not sure why I don't think about things like computer scams very often. They are still out there, ransomware attacks are pretty common, and of course, there are email scams that regularly seem to show up in our inboxes daily. One midwest computer expert just posted about a scam that cost one of his customers $100,000!

My friend Val Kwale, who works for Minnesota Workforce in Southern Minnesota, shared Patrick's post about the computer scam that he recently assisted a customer with.

Val had some great insight into the scam, "Heed the warning. It's real."

I Googled 'Microsoft Popup Scam' and the first result came from Microsoft itself.

"Scammers might also initiate contact by displaying fake error messages on websites you visit, displaying support numbers, and enticing you to call. They may also put your browser in full-screen mode and display pop-up messages that won't go away, apparently locking your browser. These fake error messages aim to scare you into calling their "technical support hotline".

Important: Microsoft error and warning messages never include phone numbers.

When you engage with the scammers, they can offer fake solutions for your “problems” and ask for payment in the form of a one-time fee or subscription to a purported support service."

Some important things to remember when it comes to staying safe from scams like the Microsoft one that took the victim for $100,000:

  • Don't call the number on the screen, many companies like Microsoft won't have you call for issues.
  • Don't send payment in the form of cryptocurrency, or gift cards, this should be a red flag if they are asking for payment in these forms.
  • Don't download third-party software that is recommended to 'fix' the issue. Many times the software is something malicious or lets the 'tech' person on the other line access your computer.

Microsoft has a bunch of stay-safe tips for you, so you don't end up like the person who is now out $100,000.

H/T to Val Kwale and Patrick Palmer for the idea.

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