shelter me from scammers


strong limbs

You never know what might happen. A storm, a stock market crash, a scammer stealing your life savings. Oh sure, it’s sunny now, but watch out — you don’t know what kind of trouble will appear on your horizon.

Yesterday I picked up the phone to hear that my computer had supposedly been sending error reports indicating serious performance issues that needed to be addressed right away. The caller from some outfit called “computer maintenance services” obviously thought I didn’t seem concerned enough and kept repeating himself, trying to impress on me the need for urgency. I asked a few questions, and found out that they were claiming to work for Microsoft. The caller started asking me for information about my computer operating system. I said goodbye and hung up. Then I looked up information about this scam on this internet.

Apparently people from England to Australia have been getting these same phone calls, where the scammers are trying to get people to go to their “support website” and give them permission to fix their computer by remote access. They end up with a hefty service charge as well as the high probability of someone stealing their personal information.

But if I was not so computer literate, if I was older or more trustworthy, would I have let these strangers talk me into giving them access to my computer? Would my father or my elderly aunt have believed them when they claimed to work for Microsoft?

What really riles me is that these criminals can roam the internet and the telephone lines with no fear of being caught. And yes, there is a whole industry built up to protect you, but no firewall or anti-virus program can help if you open that email attachment or give away information or open the door to strangers. The only thing you can do is say no.

Photo taken on November 11, 2010

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6 thoughts on “shelter me from scammers

  1. Yes! It irks me to no end that I PAY for a service that makes this type of nonsense possible + all the marketing calls. The latter, I wouldn’t complain about if I’d had a FREE phone service.

    I can very well imagine some elderly person becoming like a deer in the headlights, when they get a call from ‘Microsoft’…not reflecting at all upon how MS got their phone number or anything.

    • “Deer in the headlights” — yes, exactly. And I’m sure the stories in the news about defrauded seniors are only the tip of the iceberg; how many people would be willing to admit they are gullible? I used to work with someone who kept getting viruses on her computer because her friends kept forwarding all these jokes and videos and she opened every attachment. And she wasn’t elderly… just careless.

  2. I had a called like that awhile back, saying that they received a “notice” from my hard drive manufacturer that I was about to loose all my data on the hard drive. The problem they got from me is I told them what I do for a living, I’m a computer technician. They hung up.
    Great photo, I like how the shadowed tree covers the house. Beautiful light and composition.

    • That’s a great response, Don! As a computer tech, do you see problems caused by people who fall for this kind of underhanded trickery? Is there anything people should be doing to better protect themselves against scammers?

  3. Haven’t heard of that scam, Eyegillian. I get requests for my banking info regularly, and recently got a request from a “relative” who had lost his wallet while on vacation to send him cash to get home. He must still be sitting in the airport!

    • Alas, poor relative… not. And how ironic that these scams help us learn how to say no! It drives me bonkers to think of all the people who are apparently relying on my gullibility for their livelihoods, like a flock of vultures waiting for me to lose my grip on reality. Or one of those horror movies — don’t answer the phone! — aieeee… etc. etc.

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