A reader had a question about scams.  “I just came across a new(to me)scam-received an automated message that my Windows key had expired and my computer will no longer work! They gave me a toll-free (844)# to call. My questions are-1)my computer is obviously still working so how do they hook someone? 2) I’m tempted to call them for entertainment purposes to hear their pitch/con; any thoughts?”

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That’s a great question!  I think the number one reason that people fall for scams like this is panic. They see a notice that says there’s a problem with their operating system or a virus infection, or even that they’re in trouble with the FBI and the panic response clicks in. Adrenaline begins to rush through their body .They want to hit a button or call a number or do something, anything, to correct the problem.  It’s the same response that causes that causes someone in a panic to run into a wall while look for an exit.

Part of the issue is that a lot of people don’t feel they are very tech-savvy and they’re willing to accept that. Instead of making the effort to learn about things like viruses or how operating systems work, they’re content to see technology as something they’re at the mercy of. And computers aren’t the only thing people take this attitude towards, for some people, it’s vehicles or managing their finances. They think it’s too hard, so they just give up.

If more people took a minute or two to take a deep breath and really think, a heck of a lot fewer of them would fall for scams like this.  Seriously, your best defense against scams it to just take five minutes to think it makes sense.

As for calling them back, if you’ve got the time, you certainly might enjoy yourself. And you’ll be keeping them from calling someone else.

Have you ever fallen for a scam? Why do you think you went for it? Why do you think other people fall for them? Let us know in the comments.

~  Cynthia