Is That For Real?

  • Published: Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020

We’ve all gotten those calls, texts or emails. Either a robocall or email purporting to be from a popular institution like Microsoft, Apple, AT & T, Mastercard or others. Or maybe you got a pop up on your computer notifying you to call an 800 number due to a detected threat.

  • There’s a problem with your computer and we need to help you fix it
  • Your iCloud account has been compromised.
  • We’ve noticed suspicious activity on your credit card
  • Your Social Security number has been compromised. 
  • Your package is waiting for delivery information.
  • COMPUTER SCAN ALERT! Suspicious activity detected on your computer. Contact a live technician now. 1-800-xxx-xxxx

When should you be concerned, and when do you dismiss the alerts?

The first thing you should ask yourself is if this is a company that you do business with. If not, ignore it. Otherwise, do not reply to emails or respond to calls that request a login or personal information. Call the company or open a browser and visit the website directly. Do not use the links, attachments or robocall directories to respond. 

For those irritating robocalls just hang up. If a real person is on the other end do the same. If you didn’t contact them for assistance first then you don’t need their assistance. Never trust caller ID. Attackers will spoof a company’s number to make you think they are legitimate, or they will make it look like a local area code. Screen your calls by letting unrecognized numbers go to your voice mail. 

Don’t succumb to a sense of urgency or threats. If you are being pressured to act immediately, you should question it. 

Remember, many companies and organizations will NEVER call you and ask for personal information. That includes credit/debit card numbers, Social Security numbers, passwords. Here are a few:

  • Apple
  • Microsoft
  • Netflix
  • Medicare
  • The Social Security Administration
  • The IRS


As far as those pop ups, don’t call the number. If you have anti-virus software on your device and it finds malware, it will let you know. And there will not be an 800 number to call. If you think you may have an infection, do a manual scan with your anti-virus. 

In general, if you receive any of these messages, don’t give up any personal information. Take the time to make direct contact with the company to ask questions. Ignore unsolicited calls and messages.

Resources:
How to Recognize and Avoid Phishing Scams
IdentityTheft.gov
Report phishing attacks