to commonly asked questions.

The Scams Continue. Don't fall for them!

  I continue to work with people who are falling victim to scams they accidentally come across on the internet.  A couple weeks ago I sent out a heads up to everyone warning to be very careful when visiting websites or clicking links in email.  There are many fake ads out there that appear to be very convincing.  These will often tell you something is wrong with your account and that you should call them or that your credit cards have been compromised and the only way to restore your security is to interact with them.  None of this is real!  You may be saying to yourself, “I never fall for that stuff.  Who would be such a sucker?”  But more and more I am working with highly intelligent clients who are becoming victims to these strategies.  There are many reasons that could result in letting one's guard down.  It’s easy to become flustered or overwhelmed in the moment if you think something may have happened to your accounts.  These scammers are using that sense of panic and confusion to get you to make bad decisions.  Several times I’ve seen clients pay these scammers with gift cards or check routing numbers.  They will allow the scammer to remote in to their computer and cause more havoc.  It could also be as simple as your child clicking things and entering your password.  
Another strategy they’re using is to get you to install software they can use against you.  This can look innocent.  An ad claiming that you need to update
Flash or some other software.  Then you type your admin password in and the next thing you know, you’ve installed their garbage software.  
Here are a few general rules to follow:
enter your admin password unless you have a good reason to do so.  
Do not
  • allow someone you don’t know to remote in to your computer.
    Do not
  • legitimate company allows payment of any kind via gift cards.
  • use non password protected wifi networks.
    Do not
  • call a number you see on a webpage that is warning you that something bad has happened to your accounts.  If you are concerned, call your bank directly.
    Do not
  • strong passwords, not a word that can be found in the dictionary followed by numbers.  Tarheels1 or Rolltide are not good passwords.
    Do use
  • and account for every small charge you see monthly.  A dumb thief will try to steal a large amount all at one time.  A smart thief will steal a small amount from lots of people hoping no one will notice.  
    Monitor your bank accounts
  • A couple other scams of note not related to internet use:
    Inspect the credit card slot at Gas stations or ATMs before you insert the card.  Bad guys will sometimes place false card readers that fit over the actual card reader just so they can harvest card numbers.
    Once a bad guy has your card number a new scam they’re running is to order things using your address and info and have it shipped to you.  You realize it’s fraud and cancel the card.  About a week later you receive the item you didn’t order.  Within a day or so you also receive a letter apologizing for the mistake and a shipping label to return the package.  Actually, that shipping label or return address is going to the original bad guy that ordered the item in the first place.  Basically, they’re using you to launder stolen items.  Of course the bank will probably credit your account back of the fraudulent charges so you’re not really hurt so badly in the process but getting a new card is always a drag.  The proper thing to do is write “refused, did not order” on the package and return it directly to the post office.  Do not ship it back using some address that was mailed to you separately.  
    If you feel you may have installed any malicious software accidentally or would just like a security checkup with all your devices, you can schedule a session directly on my website at  I also work with people outside the Charlotte area remotely so if you have a relative who you think may have or could fall victim but they don’t live in the Charlotte area, I can help there as well.  
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