Monday, August 23, 2010

Beware of the scammers ...

The other day I had a phone call. There was a man with an Indian accent on the other end. I'm afraid that we get so many phone calls from Indians trying to sell things that I'm instantly on guard. The conversation went something like this
"Esther A.......?"
"You have a computer?" Darn stupid question I thought.
"Our company work for Microsoft and your computer has been sending many warning messages. You know that computers send warning messages, right? And they tell me that your computer is full of viruses and malware and trogans..." (there was a whole lot of other mumbo jumbo in there that was unintelligible because of the poor line and his accent and my impatience)
"Can you turn your computer on, please."
"It is." (but I disconnected it from the Internet just in case)
"Can you tell me what operating system you use?" (here alarm bells started going off)
"You should know from the error message"
"Madam, your computer is sending error messages and they tell me that your computer is full of........" (more mumbo jumbo that went on and on and most of which was unintelligible)
"Madam, I just want to show you the viruses and trojans and malware that you have on your computer. Can you hold down the Windows button and press R for me."
"Have you done that?"
"Can you see a text box you can type into?" (of course, how stupid does he think I am?)
"Now type 'prefetch'"
"P R E F E T C H"
"Was that 'REACH'?"
"No, P for Paul, R for Roger, E for Elephant...." ...I think you get the idea.
He had me there, I don't know what prefetch does and I was starting to feel stupid. He claimed it showed me errors but they didn't look like errors to me. Then got me to do the same with  'eventvwr'. Supposedly more evidence of errors.

Then (and call me slow, but this is where alarm bells were going off madly) he asked me to type
a www.... into the run dialog box. I told him that there was no way I would do that. I expect he was trying to trick me into running some malicious program.
Since I was starting to get obstinate he warned me that these viruses and malware and trojans were damaging my computer and needed the help of an expert to remove. He gave me the website as their contact point.
Aha! They wanted me to pay big dollars to repair a problem I didn't have.
At that time I politely said I needed to think about it, took a name and phone number an hung up.
So, David Jones, of 02 09 1234 784, I will NOT be availing myself of your services.
In fact after a 1 minute search of the web (is Google the most amazing and empowering invention of the decade or what?!) I was able to ascertain that this was, indeed, all a scam - I was even able to match the spiel he was giving me.

I felt ill for the rest of the day. But I did run some extra virus scans and did fresh backups just in case. What sort of insane world do we live in that people do this?!!

Find out for yourself - and beware!


  1. Brother. Thanks for the heads-up!

  2. YIKES!!!!!!!!! Sorry you had to go through that! CRAZY!

  3. Esther I had just read about this scam on the weekend. How worrying that there are people out there doing this. At least they met their match with you!

  4. Now if only the man who rings up and tells you that you've won first division in lotto could only be the next call you get!

    How scary. And so invasive, the fact he even knew your name, phone number, etc. Is your phone number in your name or hubby's? If it's in hubby's that's even more scary he knew YOUR name.

  5. Hmm you have to be on your mettle all the time these days, thanks for that bit of advice, worth knowing just incase. Though I have asked some of "these people so many questions and said run that by me again and they have hung up and waled away from from me and down the steps . How rude !


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