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Computer “Pop-Up” Scams

Scammers use a multitude of platforms to prey on older adults, with many of them using phone calls and texts to lure in potential victims. Although it may sound safe to use your laptop or desktop to surf the internet or even just play games, this provides an additional platform many scammers use for “Pop-Up” scams.

Also known as “Tech Support” scammers, these cybercriminals want you to believe you have a serious problem with your computer, such as a virus or malware attack. A box or window will pop-up in your browser requesting you to follow a “link” or to call the number listed to fix a problem that likely doesn’t even exist. They will likely ask you to pay them via wire transfer, gift cards, prepaid card, or even cryptocurrency.

Additionally, tech support scammers may try to trick you by creating an error message from your antivirus software, using real logos from legitimate computer companies to bolster their credibility. According to the Federal Trade Commission, to avoid being victimized by these scams, please make note of the following:

  1. “Legitimate tech companies won’t contact you by phone, email, or text message to tell you there’s a problem with your computer.”
  2. “Security pop-up warnings from real tech companies will never ask you to call a phone number or click on a link.”

If a tech support scammer contacts you, report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov – or call your local Area Agency on Aging to find support with an Elder Rights Specialist at (866) 468-7887.