Friday, December 11, 2015

Paying attention to scams

Photo by Peter Kratochvil
I had a conversation with one of those Microsoft technician scammers from India today. You know, the ones who call to let you know that you have downloaded a virus on your computer and they're calling to help you resolve the issue. Normally, I just hang up on them. This time, I talked to him for awhile. I was surprised to find out he really did have my correct address, knew I had Comcast Internet, and even had my IP address. That bothered me. Of course, I didn't take it much further than to find out what they knew about me. They never did refer to me by name. And there was no way I was going to give them access to my computer. It wasn't even turned on at that point.

Later, I did some research. Like I said, it bothered me that they had my IP address. Sure, they can look up my physical address based on my phone number, but IP address... Hmmm. Oddly enough, about a month ago I received one of these calls on a particularly bad day. I had some not-too-nice words to say to the scammer. Later that day, my computer crashed. Even though I never gave them access to it, I have to wonder if they had something to do with it. I might be way off base here, but it seemed like more than a coincidence. 

While most of you would never fall for a scam like that, I just wanted to put this out there in case one or two of you is caught unaware. Maybe you can share this with your elderly parents who are on the Internet. It's important that none of you are taken with this scam.

Here is a link for a webpage that fully documents what happened to one individual who decided to see how far this would go. He stopped just short of paying the $299 and when he did, they wiped out his files, his pictures, his programs, and his access to the Internet. Scary stuff here. Scary, scary stuff. 

I ended the call by saying, "I'm sorry that you don't have more pride in yourself to work at a job that isn't ripping people off. I can't imagine what your children will think of you one day when they find out what you did for a living. What a sad life you have." Then I hung up.

Wishing you a life free from scams,

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