Beware of this scammer! Note: Microsoft does not call you out of the blue!

ID-10060832-2I received a call today that I’ve received a few times before… from a scammer who wants to hack computers or worse, have you pay to remove something from it that isn’t broken — before they hack you!

According to what I’ve read online, they make many calls to the same people, all over the country, and they don’t stop even if you tell them to.

The caller says they are from Microsoft and asked for me by name.

He said that my computer has a problem. He knows about the problem because Microsoft monitors my programs (note, they do not unless you give them permission to do so).

Once he calls you he asks if you’re in front or your computer or if you’ll get in front of your computer.

Since I know my way around computers, (I’ve used one since my first job at Merrill Lynch in 1973) the first time he called, I went through with almost everything he told me to do. Most of it wasn’t a problem or anything sinister.

Then he “finds” the problem. Some files need to be fixed (etc.) at a cost of bla, bla, bla.

Sometimes they actually tell you that they’ll fix the problem if you give them access to your computer and pay them to do it!

What he found wrong with my computer really isn’t a problem.

BUT if you get him to fix things you’ll be hacked.

So be aware.

The hacker does give you his phone number which was the same number on the ID: 727-498-0504 but it’s to an unused phone number.

Remember Microsoft never will call you back if you’ve made a service call. Or since I’m on their usability team, I’ll get a call — but it’s most often from a contractor who works with MS.

Are You Paying for Virus Protection Twice?

If you are paying for Internet and you are paying separately for virus protection, you (or your clients) might be paying for virus protection twice.

My clients complete a personal as well as a business budget, which I scrutinize.   My goal, of course, is to find ways they can save money.   Often I find that they’re paying for virus protection and malware.   Cost of which is $30-$160 a year.

While these services are necessary, often paying for them means you’re paying for these services twice.

You see, many ISPs (Internet Service Providers)  include virus protection services with the package of services you already pay for.  For example, I know that Comcast, CenturyNet, and Optimum include either Norton or Mcafee downloads on their websites.

Why pay for it twice?  It’s part of your monthly fee already!


Log into your ISP account and look around for the virus protection.  Download it to your computer and set it up.  If you have a service on your computer already, it should ask you if it can remove it.  Say yes!

Cancel your paid subscription to virus protection.

You can also call your ISP to have them walk you through the system.  In fact, Comcast’s Norton will (with your permission)  take over your computer, download the files, and then get the program up and working on your computer.

(c) 2015 Elevating Your Business


If after reading and taking action on this blog post, you find that you are paying twice… I’d love to know how much you’ll be saving annually.

Maria’s Musing: Don’t Make This Technology Mistake!

It’s one that I made this year.

While attending coaching school, one of the many lessons I learned was to do as I tell my clients to do.  My clients create systematize to improve their firms operations and marketing.   They also review each planning system yearly and other systems after one year and then every 3 years for efficiency.  I do the same.

This was the year I updated my own virtual workshop system.  I began by looking at the various technologies I have used over the last 16 years:

The resources I’ve been using for years now include many new features.   I found resources from companies that didn’t even exist 3 years ago.

ID-100313645It’s important to always keep clients in mind when upgrading any system.  So, I asked my clients what technology they preferred using to attend virtual workshops and what their concerns were about each technology.

They preferred a webinar format over teleconferences because watching the workshop as well as listening to it helped them retain more information.  This format also makes it easy for them to rewind and listen to areas again.  If they live outside the USA, they especially liked the webinar platforms where they weren’t required to call a US-based phone number to listen to the workshop.  They preferred to watch, participate, and listen to the workshop online.

Everyone also wanted the option to listen to the workshop again or to read the transcription.   None had attended a teleclass where breakout sessions occurred.

Because of this feedback, I thought, “OK, I’ll go with a webinar service.”

What a friggin’ disaster!

Some participants couldn’t hear the event on their speakers.   Those who had a microphone got a lot of unwanted feedback because they didn’t have a headset, too.

Many attendees didn’t pre-register or test whatever digital device they planned to use.

Most people got to the call late.   Helping people with their technology problems delayed the workshop by 10 minutes.

I offered local phone numbers — even international numbers for participants to call in — but there was so much noise on the phones, I had to mute everyone.  That prevented people from asking me questions.  Half the participants left the call early.

Oh my!


After every project, I write out “Lessons Learned”  My clients do the same, often with their team.  What’s are the lessons I learned in this case?

When I included my clients in my decision-making process, I forgot that when they were new clients, they used very little technology!  After all, I was the one who set up Skype for them so we could meet “hands free” for sessions.  And while they have since incorporated the use of Skype in their businesses, I often push them to use more technology and social networking than most financial advisors use.   I was speaking to more advanced technology users in my niche.

I’ve always advised that it’s necessary to get clients’ opinions when considering a new process for your business.  But I’ve learned that it’s also important to speak to or survey others in the financial industry and conduct more research before making a big technology change in my business.

This October, when I run the “Count on Success Summit for Financial Advisors”, each of the workshops will take place via the teleconference platform.  I want to conduct the program in webinar format, but a teleconference is the best platform to reliably reach and help masses of financial advisors grow their firms without experiencing any technical problems.  In order to help participants who learn better with a visual component, each of the 20 speakers will provide handouts that listeners can download before the program and view as they listen in.


What about you?  Have you ever made a change, thinking it would improve your business process, but it blew up in your face?  What conclusions did you come to?  Please share!


(c) 2015  Elevating Your Business


Photo by Boians Cho Joo Young.


OFFICE 365 Training for Financial Advisors

Microsoft Office 365 contains numerous features that help an advisor run a dynamic business practice while continuing to meet and maintain compliance requirements.

Stop running your business with a "personal" email account.  Office 365 Email is secure, reliable, and professional.
Office 365 Email is secure, reliable, and professional.

It’s said that we use between 10-20% of the features of the software we own. Through this Office 365 course you’ll learn how the software can help you run your business more efficiently.  You’ll also leverage features and practices that are essential for compliance.  Affordable at $29 each or all 12 for $99.

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P.S.  Let Robert know that Coach Maria sent you.

Image copyright:  123RF Stock Photo/alexwhite

What’s Special About My LinkedIn Connection, Robert Clark?

Robert is just another Microsoft Partner. Or is he? Robert is special because his niche is the financial industry. He’s also the first MP I’ve ever come across that “gets” the industry.

RClark 2 sq gray cropAn Microsoft (MS) Partner is an independent company that provides MS products, offers services that back up those products, and helps customers with IT solutions. Here’s more on MS Partners:

In addition to what I described above about MS Partners, Robert teaches RIAs, advisors, planners, etc. how to best use the products. One of his virtual courses is called “Office 365 and Compliance”  

If you don’t yet have an IT specialist on your team, I recommend that you contact Robert.  While his office is in the Tri-State Area, namely Connecticut, he can easily link to a computer or your firm’s IT system and work virtually with your firm, too.  Learn more and contact him today through his website

P.S.  Tell Robert that Coach Maria sent you.