I was using my computer in the condo we had just moved into when a pop-up appeared. It was from "Microsoft" (or so it claimed) and said they'd detected a virus and I should call the phone number listed at once to have one of their techs remove it.
I called, like a jerk, and a man with an Indian-sounding accent answered and basically repeated what the pop-up asid. He DID get me to allow him remote access into my computer. He was a very smooth talker and obviously had been doing this for some time. He never once stuttered ort hesitated when I asked a question. He seemed very knowledgeable and I was ALMOST convinced. Right up to the part when he said it would only cost about $200 US dollars.
That's when the thinking part of my brain finally woke up and I began to suspect I was being had. When he asked for my credit card numbers I was damned sure I was right. And I was. I know because his demeanor changed quite a bit.
Realizing he now had access to my computer, I didn't want to call him a thief outright and make him angry. God knows what he may have done to my system if I had. SO i said that I didn't have the card. I told him my husband did and he was at work. This guy didn't break for a second. He immediately asid, "OK. Go call him and get the number and I'll wait." Thinking quickly I responded that he was a police officer and didn't carry ID of any kind on him. Even if I COULD find him and get in touch, I doubt he'd know the numbers by heart. Would he please leave his name and number and I'd call him back as soon as my husband returned from work that afternoon. I acted very upset and said I really needed to fix the computer because I worked from it.
This guy actually said to me, "Oh, Come on. YOU HAVE the numbers someplace. Just go and get the credit card numbers and we can fix it now."
This fellow would not let up. We went back and forth like that for what seemed like and hour but was probably only a minute or two. I finally convinced him that I'd call and got his name and number. This Indian man's name, by the way, was --get this: John Smith! That sounds like a name for someone from India, right? He gave me a number that I threw away. I should have reported it to the police but I didn't think of it at the time--I was just so happy to finally to get him off the phone and out of my computer which I immediately shut down (just in case he had second thoughts). I also ran a couple of anti-virus programs afterwards when I rebooted it later. Thankfully, it came up clean.
But the pop-up was a really good facsimile of Microsoft's logo and looked perfectly legit. I'm not generally an easy target and don't give info to anybody over the phone unless I absolutely know who I'm speaking with. But this guy and his attitude, and the perfect-looking Microsoft logo and number all looked too good. Ands there was no muffled voices in the background. That's another tell-tale sign your caller is sitting at one of those call banks with a room full of desks with a person at each one on the phone with another potential sucker! The legitimate guys have their own spaces and work quietly, not in a room full of conmen (and women).
I told a friend about it a few days later and she told me that she'd been 'hit' to9o and it cost her over $200 dollars for some guy to do absolutely nothing to "fix" her computer.
So, my advice is to watch out for foreign-sounding accents and/or names, and listen for noises, especially several people talking, in the background. And if they ask for any money or credit card information, it's definitely NOT legit! I DID contact Microsoft and they aid they were aware of the problem and were working on making things harder for these people to get into their computers--That was about 5 years ago. They also said they NEVER ask for any type of personal or credit information by phone. SO beware cuz they are out there.
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