Online phishing scams are a bit passe these days, and organised crime is still keen on traditional methods for getting their hands on your identity and credit card details. This is simple economics (even criminals have to keep down overheads in a tough economy) , based on who is likely to fall for the scam and target audience size. This is in part because the IT industry has done a pretty good job of raising awareness around on line fraud.
So what really annoys me about this is that this often means specifically targeting the most vulnerable in our society, such as the elderly and those with mental health problems. To get these peoples’ attention the hoax usually purports to be from a well known charity, which has the potential to damage their reputation as well.
Fake calls from utilities and banks are also common and even Microsoft’s name has been used before. However no one from Microsoft or anyone on behalf of Microsoft will ever ask you for your credit card details, be that to help you upgrade Office or Windows, as part of a technical support call or to inform you you have won our lottery, (BTW there is no Microsoft lottery).
This sort of scam can obviously apply to any respected institution, and so my approach to any call from anyone asking for my personal details is simply to phone them back on the number I trust. I have had some bizarre conversations with my Bank about this as I won’t entertain going through their security verification process without verifying them first, but they usually get the point even if they think I am odd.
I mention all this because while it is second nature to you, and you could probably be doing a little more to educate your relatives, and your neighbours.