It's a SCAM
I posted the following on social media over the weekend, but wanted to expand upon it and share it with a greater number of people. (At least I hope a greater number.) I encourage you to share this with everyone, especially older folks who are not as social media savvy. I'm just heart sick at all the scamming that I've seen go on.
If you are reading this, you may not know me. You have no reason to trust me. For that I alone, while I hope you will take my words and advice, you SHOULD research me and ANYTHING that you read online before making ANY decisions or doing anything when it comes to your computer or financial well-being...
Microsoft DOES NOT need access to your computer. They are NOT going to call you (and you shouldn't call them.) The same goes for the IRS or a multitude of other agencies. THESE ARE SCAMS!
Let me be upfront here. My husband, Steve fixes computers. He's an honest guy...so honest that he doesn't make a lot of money fixing computers because if your computer is seriously damaged and it would cost you more to repair it than buy a new one and start fresh, he WILL tell you. (Of course you also have the option of having him help you with this, which means a little more money in the family coffers.) But I'm not here to plug his services. (At least not yet!) For the 3rd time a friend's mother has gotten her computer compromised because Microsoft called her and told her she had a virus. She came very close to losing a great amount of money as a result. DO NOT LET ANYONE ACCESS YOUR COMPUTER! That's worth typing out again: DO NOT LET ANYONE ACCESS YOUR COMPUTER! If you get a call or think you have a problem, contact a TRUSTED professional. (Ok, here is the plug for Steve’s service. If you need help; contact me and I’d be happy to hook you up.)
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE: Be smart and be aware. If it's too good to be true, it probably is (as in Facebook is not giving away anything and Kohl’s is not providing $100 off coupons). If it sounds "off" (like your grandchild is in jail and needs you to send gift cards from CVS to get him/her out.); it is. If someone "official" calls you and says they need something from you (like access to your hard drive), STOP!
SCAMMERS ARE EVERYWHERE. They are preying on your emotions. They are counting on you to panic. It's scary to hear that you could be arrested; that a loved one is in trouble or that all your personal data could be compromised. Hearing or reading that puts your brain into overdrive and makes your heart pound. It's a normal reaction and one they are counting on. STOP! DO NOT open yourself to trouble. Take a minute (its okay) and compose yourself. THINK. Why would a giant corporation be giving away free stuff? Why would your loved one email you and not call? And if they did call and they needed something, would they really ask for gift cards?
Ask for more information. Get a number to call back the person. Do your research. Call in a trusted expert, or at least a friend who will be there to be a sounding board. DON'T get caught up in the moment.