Security

Watch Out for These Offline Technology Scams

By April 9, 2015 2 Comments

We all know that there isn’t really a prince in Nigeria just dying to funnel millions of dollars into our bank accounts, or that there isn’t “one weird thing” you can do to instantly drop 30 pounds. These online scams are so well-known that it’s easy to spot them. You might be familiar with the common online scams, but we have recently uncovered a few dubious offline scams that aren’t so well-known.

1. Fake Invoices

A client recently called in asking about a suspicious “invoice” they received for a website backup service. She had never heard of the company offering this service. She emailed us the invoice, and it was almost impossible to tell that this was not an invoice, but an attempt to sell her a service by making her think it was an invoice. We Googled the company in question and immediately found several complaints.

This is also a common practice for companies trying to sell you domain names and other website-related services. If you have a question about suspicious invoices like these, contact your IT provider or website developer. In many cases, the invoices are legitimate, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

2. Calls Asking About Your Printer

A family member told me that someone called her office a few weeks ago and asked for the model number of her printer. When she asked why the caller needed that information, he told her that “his boss told him to do it” and ended the call shortly after. After an online search, she found that this is another scam. The caller gets the printer model number and ships cartridges and toner to the office with an invoice, making it seem as if you ordered the supplies.

3. Tech Support Scams

(From Lifehacker)

“If you ever get a call from a technology service asking you to confirm your information or to help you install an update, tell them you’ll call back. Fraudsters can easily impersonate technology support staff and sound official. For example, Fraudsters have frequently impersonated Microsoft technology staff in order to con people into sharing control of their computer.”

These are just a few offline scams to watch out for. If you’re ever unsure about an invoice, a phone call or a suspicious letter in the mail, trust your instincts. A quick Google search with the company name + “scam” will often reveal if there is foul play involved.

2 Comments

  • grace says:

    Good thing you brought this! Several of these calls have been reported in my neighborhood. They were different types of calls but the were almost identical, except for the last digit. I wonder if these phone numbers are legit, or if they are spoofed. I read from https://www.callercenter.com/blg/articles/spoofing-caller-ids/ that scam artists can easily fake the caller information that appears on people’s caller ID. If this is easily possible, why is it even allowed???

    • Nexxtep says:

      Hi Grace,
      Thank you for your comment! Although I’m not an expert on the legal implications behind call spoofing, from what I gather, it is illegal. Unfortunately, as with most illegal activities, it doesn’t mean that people won’t find ways to do it anyway. It might also be an issue of technology moving much faster than legislation. I would bet that the calls you heard about in your neighborhood were spoofed. I have received a few scam phone calls myself where the phone number appeared to be using my area code. -Anne

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