In this type of scam, fraudsters knock on your door or call you and claim they are selling services at bargain rates. These could be telecommunications, Internet services, software, financial, medical, air duct cleaning, or energy services like electricity or natural gas. Some include offers such as extended warranties and insurance.
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How it works
Everyone likes to get a deal and scammers know this. The offer may be presented as a great deal, or the scammer may try to scare you into thinking you will be at risk if you don’t purchase a service. The scammer may try to get you to buy something or to give them your personal or credit card information.
How to spot it
One of the most common is the antivirus software or tech support scam. The scammer promises to repair your computer over the Internet if you give them remote access to your computer or download their software. Payment for the software or repair is typically made by credit card.
Downloading software from an unknown source or allowing someone to remotely access your computer is very risky. Scammers can use this opportunity to put malicious software on your computer that will capture your passwords or bank account or credit card details and other personal information.
Another common trick is the credit card interest rate reduction scam. In this scenario, the scammer impersonates a bank or other financial institution and claims to have negotiated with credit card companies to lower your interest rates. They guarantee they can save you thousands of dollars in interest, but you must act now because the lower rates are for a limited time only.
Sometimes, the call will be automated and prompt you to “press 1” and provide personal information, such as your date of birth, social insurance number (SIN), mother’s maiden name, and credit card number. You may also be asked to use your credit card to pay a one-time service fee. The scammers will then use this information to charge purchases to your credit card or make cash advances.
- Remember: Only your service provider, financial institution, or credit card company can give you a better price for their services.
- Be wary of unsolicited calls from people offering a great deal for a limited time only.
- Don’t give out your credit card number over the phone unless you made the call and the number came from a trusted source.
- Ask yourself: By providing the information they are requesting, am I putting myself at risk?
- If a caller claims to represent your bank, call the bank and find out if the offer is genuine.
- Most legitimate software companies won’t call you to tell you that your computer is compromised. If you get a call, it’s fake.
- Protect your computer with antivirus software.
- Update your software. Most web browsers and computer operating systems include integrated security protections, so it’s important to keep them up to date.
- Many web browsers have an integrated pop-up blocker that prevents pop-ups from appearing on your screen. Turning this feature on can help protect you from fraudulent offers.