Are they really here to help? Probably not.

How many of us have gotten those calls in recent days? The caller is usually claiming to be from Microsoft (or some other technology company), calling to help you with a problem on your computer, network, etc. All you need to do is give them your user name and password and they will fix whatever dire problem they claim you are facing with your technology. Are they really calling to help you? Chances are excellent (particularly since the onset of the pandemic) that they are not.

How do you avoid such scammers – particularly when you get multiple calls, emails, etc. a day, week or month? Well, a big tip of the hat to Jim Calloway, my practice management colleague at the Oklahoma Bar, who suggests that you can test that premise by telling the caller that they have reached an FBI agent and see how quickly they disconnect. But these folks are bold and that may not do the trick.

Remember, unsolicited help calls are likely scams. And calls that ask for your user name and password are as well. Nope, the IRS will not call you to resolve an issue on your taxes, and they will not call you to tell you that you are going to face criminal penalties unless you call a number (where a scammer will try to get your personal information such as your social security number).

Here are some tips from Microsoft on how to avoid the fake Microsoft Tech Support scammers. And look for my Let’s Practice column in April’s Arizona Attorney for more tips on avoiding scams.

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