Protecting Seniors

Tech Support Scams: What Not To Do

October 20, 2021

Tech Support Scams: What Not To Do | Aspiriant Wealth Management

Everyday, people of all ages are connected via smartphones, tablets, and computers. While technology is a great resource, it can be frustrating when problems arise. Tech support is often required to resolve digital issues. Yet, for seniors, getting tech support can often turn perilous.

Scammers know that families rely on tech support. They have embraced this platform in order to access  personal information. It can be confusing, especially for seniors, to recognize the scam on its face. Perhaps they receive an email, phone call, or a pop-up message indicating a problem with their computer. Scammers are frequently behind these ruses.

Tech Support Scams: How They Work

Each scam is unique, but they share common themes.  First, the scammer introduces himself as a representative from a respected tech company, such as Microsoft. Then, they inform you about problems on your computer. They might even ask you to run a scan or open specific files. Or, the scam might focus on selling unnecessary computer software.

Here are common tech support scams to avoid:

  • Remote Access: The scammer will ask you to give them remote access to the computer. As soon as this permission is granted, it allows them to access all information on the computer and the connected network.
  • Software Purchase: The person might try to get you to enroll in a maintenance program or unnecessary software service. They are trying to sell you worthless services and/or gain access to your financial information.
  • Credit Card Information: They want to know your credit card information to bill you for services that you don’t need. Or, you might see fraudulent charges come through for services you didn’t receive.
  • Malware: When a scammer is able to access your device, they often try to install malware that allows them to collect sensitive information, such as usernames and passwords.
  • Website Link: Malware or stealing personal information often happens by directing you to visit a specific website where you are asked to enter personal details.

Protect Your Family Members

Educate loved ones about tech support scams. If someone calls telling you that there is a computer issue, always hang up.  Ignore pop-up messages or emails about tech support. If you think there is a security issue,  contact the security software company directly.

Paul Hynes
Paul Hynes

Director in Wealth Management, Partner

Paul joined Aspiriant in 2021 via a merger with HearthStone Private Wealth Management, the San Diego firm he co-founded with business partner, Wendy Wildey. Paul serves as a Director in Wealth Management and Aspiriant partner. Paul also directs the fiduciary investment services team at Aspiriant. He brings more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Prior to joining the firm, Paul served 11 years as president and CEO of HearthStone. Before that, he spent 22 years with a large Wall Street brokerage firm. During that time, the firm changed its name 13 times and is currently known as Morgan Stanley.

Paul earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from the University of Virginia. He earned the right to use the Certified Financial PlannerTM Professional designation in 2012. Paul founded Senior Safe & Sound, a non-profit educational resource and video library that seeks to educate and empower senior citizens and those they love to prevent elder fraud and abuse. He serves on the Investment Advisory Board of United Way of San Diego, as well as several other non-profit boards and committees.

Paul and his wife of over 40 years, Joanie, are empty nesters after raising two incredible and wonderful humans, Chris and Lauren. Together they enjoy sports of all kinds — currently golf, tennis and pickleball are favorites. They also enjoy travel, wine tasting and reading.

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