Yesterday the phone rang and a recorded voice informed me that my Windows License had expired and it was necessary to call an 800 number to renew it. This is a new version of an old scam but an old scam it is. It’s actually kind of clever because it “pre-qualifies” the person about to become a fraud victim. Those who call are ready to believe. It’s unlikely that the intended “mark” will waste the scammer’s time by “pressing 1” or waiting for the human con artist to pick up the line in the hope that there is “a live one” on the other end.
These thieves rake in millions of dollars from credulous people. Don’t be one of them! And pass the word to your friends and neighbors so that they are aware of this new tactic for stealing their money. Remember: “Neither Microsoft nor our partners make unsolicited phone calls (also known as cold calls) about your computer security or software fixes” is the official word on Microsoft’s blog.
A completely different, and more worrisome, notice arrived as an email alert that there had been too many failed logon attempts for a brokerage account of mine; an account that is very real and may have been the target of a cyber attack. A word to the wise: the crooks have a list of the 500,000 most common passwords, and they use it. Make your password one they can’t guess easily: “b@rn3y_G0rin-1$-W()nder#uL” is an example of something long enough (26 characters) and complex enough (lower case, upper case, numbers, and special characters) to be very tough to crack but (relatively) easy to remember.
Well, it’s an easy password for ME to remember …