Sunday, February 8, 2015


I never (hardly ever) pick up the phone when my called ID shows an unfamiliar number.  But three weeks ago I did.  In my defense, I was distracted, trying to find my business checkbook which seemed to have disappeared, getting ready for a medical appointment while scrambling around hunting the checkbook so I picked up the phone.  First mistake.

The caller identified herself as a person from Microsoft.  I didn't believe her, of course, but she was persuasive, insisting my computer was overrun with viruses and was about to crash. "Look me up on Google," she said, and sure enough, she was  "Click on Control R and I'll show you the viruses," she said.  Second mistake: I did.

Next thing I knew I had clicked on another place.  I felt like I was being hypnotized. A guy who identified himself as a technician came on and announced he was now connected to my computer and could help me get rid of the virus. Time to hang up, but I didn't. Third mistake.

 "Oh," he said.  "You don't have a firewall."  "I don't want one," I said.  "Just put me back on my computer."

His voice turned ominous.  "I've blocked your computer,  You have to buy the firewall."  I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience, watching myself from across the room, doing exactly what he told me.  "Stupid, stupid, stupid," my "other" body told me...but I didn't know what to do.  I was afraid if I hung up, he'd still be on my computer.  Soon I saw myself giving him my credit card number and mumbling, "Okay," as he said he'd clean out the viruses and it would take about two hours  "Bye bye," he said in a snarky voice..  Little green lines appeared on my computer as I left for my doctor's appointment.

When I got home, of course the computer would not boot up. I closed my credit card and then  I put in an emergency call to my IT guy, whose name is, appropriately, Angel Eden, and when he called back he told me this was a common scam, "Often," he added apologetically, "targeting older people."

The next day Doug, Angel's technician was here, working with the computer when my scam buddy called back, wanting to know how my computer was doing.  "I'll let you talk to my husband," I said and handed the phone to Doug.  Doug made him provide the syskey to get back on the computer and then shouted at him that he was scum.

Unfortunately, Doug couldn't fix the computer right then.  He took it to the office.  I was computerless for two weeks.  And of course, it was an expensive mistake.

Do I get the prize for being the most utterly stupid person in the world?  Probably I'm not the only one who was "hypnotized" by these people.  That doesn't make me feel any better.



Lidy said... [Reply to comment]

That's horrible. That's the very reason I don't answer unknown callers (they're either scammers or telemarketers). Something similar happened to me but I was the one that called. I was trying to find out info for a charge I didn't recognize and dialed the wrong number. I thought it was my bank representative and they talked very professional. But still it felt wrong and before they got anymore out of me, I hanged up and dialed the number saved on the contacts. This time it went to the right place and just in case I canceled my card and had them issue me a new one. Of course the person I talked to before called me back and was very upset. But oh well too bad for him.

diedre Knight said... [Reply to comment]

Ugh. Don't you wish these kind of things were punishable? I'm glad it's in the past now - and sorry it happened. So far, I've been lucky though I've been called overly skeptical. A lot.


Template by: Bright Sunshine Designs by Mary - Affordable Custom Blog Design © 2011