Hacker working on laptop in the dark PHOTO BY ADOBE STOCK

Editor, The Beacon:

An elderly woman I know was recently hacked, and had the potential to lose thousands of dollars. I know computers can be frightening for people my age, let alone those who may be 20 or 30 years older. Here is some wisdom from my professional experience:

1. If you get a message on your computer saying you’ve been hacked and call a number for help, this is most likely a scam. Unplug your computer, and take it to a reputable shop for help.

2. If you get a call from your relative saying they are in trouble and need your help, hang up and call that relative. This is a common scam that plays upon your feelings. These people are masters at manipulation.

3. If someone calls you saying you owe them money, hang up and call that institution. This is a common scare tactic the scammers use.

4. If you get a call saying you won a sweepstakes/lottery/whatever that you don’t remember entering, but says you must pay taxes upfront to get your prize, hang up. This is another scam.

5. If you are ever asked to pay with gift cards, hang up. No reputable institution is going to ask you to pay this way, but the scammers love it, as it’s all but impossible to cancel or track these payments.

6. When you get an email from a business you recognize, go over the email to see if it makes sense. Look for grammar and spelling errors. I promise you, banks know the difference between there, their and they’re!

Also, it’s very easy to tamper with caller ID, so just because your phone says it’s the IRS or your bank calling, that doesn’t mean it is true. Hang up, and call them. They will be more than happy to help you.

Tim Patton

— Patton, a DeLand resident, is an IT professional in his mid-50s.


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