In my previous, very family-oriented discussion on online safety, we talked about how all generations in the family need to be aware of, and vigilant, about online safety. We also provided some easy-to-remember tips for your family members. Now we would like to dig deeper into the various scams you need to be aware of, and the resources Microsoft is bringing to you and your community. This is critically important due to the staggering amount of questions and concerns about online fraud. Since May 2014, Microsoft has received over 200,000 customer calls regarding tech support fraud. From those calls, customers have completed over 110,000 surveys to provide additional information about their experience. Although our survey does not collect demographic information, we share the view of the FBI, FTC and U.S. Senate Aging Committee that these scams disproportionately impact seniors. To quote U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, “[T]hese fraudsters…cling to a seniors’ insecurity about technology to swoop in under the guise of assistance.”
Our guest author today is Courtney Gregoire, Senior Attorney in Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, where she fights technology-facilitated crime against vulnerable populations including children and seniors. Please share this information widely with those you love and care about.
— Shelley Stern Grach
As part of my position in Microsoft’s Digital Crimes Unit, I witness digital scams that affect our most vulnerable users on a daily basis. In our technologically-driven world, those who are not digital natives are directly targeted for technological fraud and scams. In fact, tech support scams are one of the five most prevalent scams impacting aging parents. Our education efforts seek to combat this by advising consumers how to stay safe and use the internet wisely.
NBC Connecticut recently shared a story on thegrowing trend of tech scams, highlighting a common trend of scammers claiming to be from Microsoft. We worked with NBC Connecticut to provide consumers tips to stay safe — including our #1 tip: “Microsoft, other trusted partners, do not cold call you and ask for remote access or your credit card information or payment information.” If you receive a call from someone at Microsoft asking for access or your personal information, hang up and immediately report this issue here.
While we encourage those dealing with scams to contact us directly, our Microsoft Retail Stores are also offering in-store trainings on Avoiding Digital Fraud and Scams. These classes offer training on how to stay safe online and on your personal devices, as well as inform you of common scams and fraud to avoid. In the next two months, over 100 workshops will be held in 80 Microsoft stores nationwide. Find your local class here.