Offered by: John Wilson, B.S., BC-HIS – Blue Ribbon Hearing & Tinnitus Center
Normally we would provide an article specific to hearing, hearing aids, hearing protection, or earwax. However, due to the prevalence of scam calls and our connection with many who are part of the scammers’ targeted demographic, we have decided to provide our patients and Brighton Buzz readers with important information on this subject.
For many years we have received varying scam calls on both our business and personal phone lines. Recently we have seen an uptick in the calls and some days get more calls from scammers than from patients. We have even had patients receive the calls while in our office.
Receiving unwanted scam and spam phone calls has become the norm for almost everyone with a phone. Some calls are very easy to recognize as nefarious, while others sound legitimate and can ensnare even those who are able to identify typical scam calls. Call centers filled with multiple scammers have become wiser and more sophisticated as their tactics have evolved to try to deceptively take money from unsuspecting victims.
Scammers rely on contacting vulnerable individuals who are often lonely or confused in order to trick victims into ultimately sending cash, gift card numbers, and/or access to their computer or online accounts. Many calls will begin with an automated message while others start with a live caller. The caller will often call claiming to be from a well-known company such as Amazon, AT&T, Geek Squad, Microsoft, or other technology related companies. While the basis of the call varies, some common scams involve notification of a potential fraudulent purchase or some other charge that needs to be refunded or credited to potential victim’s account.
Once a victim is convinced the call is valid, the scammer explains they will help them get a refund. e scammer then has the victim download an application to their computer and that will allow the scammer to gain remote access to the computer in order to get a refund form filled out. At some point, while the scammer has remote access to the victim’s computer, they will then have the victim log in to their bank account. The scammer will have the victim fill out the refund form and will trick the victim into believing too much money has been refunded into their bank account. The scammer then compels the victim to send the overpayment back in the form of cash or gift cards (by having the victim
purchase the gift cards and then give the numbers to the scammer.) Usually, the scammer keeps the victim on the phone for the entire process in order to control the situation and to prevent the victim from letting anyone else know what has happened.
Other variations give the scammer access to the victim’s online account, such as Amazon, which will allow the scammer access to saved credit card information that is then used to complete fraudulent transactions. We have posted a video from YouTube star Mark Rober on our Facebook page that has much of this information and more (it includes how they managed to get at least one person involved with a scam arrested.) Please take time to become educated so you can protect yourself and your family members from potentially becoming a victim.