At this point, most everyone has probably heard of the Microsoft tech scam, in which someone says you have a computer virus or other sort of problem that requires you to part with your money — immediately.
Now, it’s the Apple tech scam that’s becoming increasingly popular, brought to you by a fake “AppleCare technician.”
In this one, a caller will claim to be a technician with the legitimate AppleCare, which provides services for Apple products. He or she will say there’s been an unauthorized use of your Apple ID and that you’re going to have to take security measures so your account isn’t infiltrated by a bad actor.
He may even say the hackers had IP addresses from China or Russia (or fill-in-the-blank country) and he needs your help in tracking them down.
The point is to sell you tech support, which you’re told to purchase with Google Play cards, or sometimes Bitcoin. One person reported losing $500. In some cases, the bogus Apple rep will ask you to log into your bank account, and you can imagine what happens after that.
The Federal Trade Commission recorded 143,000 reports about tech scams last year, with a total reported loss of $55 million. The agency found that people 60 and older were five times more likely than other age groups to report losing money to tech support scams between 2015 and 2018.
The best way to avoid them is to simply hang up on anyone who claims to be a tech support person. If you need help, contact a computer store or technician whom you trust.
Don’t believe Caller ID, because scammers can spoof a number so that it appears to be from Apple.
And, as always, don’t click on links or pop-ups that show up on your screen warning of a problem. Never give your password or control of your computer to anyone who contacts you.
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The New Mexico Medical Board has issued an “urgent scam warning” to its licensees, warning about someone falsely claiming to be a board investigator.
The caller asks for personal information, such as verification of Drug Enforcement Administration numbers, the warning said.
“If an investigator from the medical board needed information from any of the board’s licensees, the initial request would come in the form of a letter, never over the phone,” the warning said.
Those who receive a suspicious phone call like this are asked to call compliance manager Amanda Quintana at 505-476-7230 or preferably by email at AmandaL.Quintana@state.nm.us
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Beware of a grandson named Michael.
Several callers have reported getting “grandparent scam” calls, in which a fake grandchild tries to get grandma or grandpa to send them money because of some concocted emergency.
The latest calls start with “Hello, Grandma,” and the caller identifies himself as ‘your grandson.” When the recipient says “What is your name?,” it tends to be Michael.
Easy enough if you have no grandson with this name (or any grandson at all), but be careful if you do have a grandchild named Michael.
Double-check with the real Michael or his parents before you even think about following the caller’s money-making instructions.
Contact Ellen Marks at email@example.com or 505-823-3842 if you are aware of what sounds like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Consumer Protection Division toll-free at 1-844-255-9210â€‹.