Computer scams can happen to anyone

Donna Stocker shares her experience with being scammed through the computer

To the Editor:

I’d always scoffed a bit at people who get scammed and wonder how on earth they could be so gullible. Well, it happened to me!

This is an extreme embarrassment for me so I kept my mouth shut about it but I got a pretty amusing phone call a couple of days ago and thought I’d share it and maybe save someone else the same embarrassment.

So, I guess I have to fess up about my own idiocy.

One morning I got a big important-looking message on my computer that I was under attack and my computer was going to be shut down. I looked at the domain address and it said Microsoft so I assumed it was coming from them. When I heard the company name they told me they were contracted out by Microsoft.

I did all the things I scoffed at others for doing. I called the number. I allowed them into my computer! They said I needed a virus protector and it would only cost $600. I said I couldn’t afford that so they said, as I was a senior, they would give me a discount. Then I made out a money order and was going to send it! (This is getting more embarrassing all the time.) Thank heavens for our post mistress who questioned me about it, so I went back home and phoned them again. Somehow I got a different number and called a different company, ALL AMERICA TECH. They told me that the other company was charging too much and they could give me a much better deal. But the company I bought the virus protector from was a different company again, the one that supplies the virus protector for the other company. That one was KEEPSAFEOS.COM. So I paid them with my credit card! (I changed my number since then). And let them into my computer to install it.

After that my computer did all kinds of annoying things. It put tons of stuff in my trash box in my emails that had to be deleted individually; it wouldn’t close some programs or save things, and generally acted up.

My friend gave me the number of a person in Kelowna that I could phone and he was kind about it but told me in no uncertain terms that I had been scammed so he uninstalled the “virus protector” and cleaned up my computer for a minimal amount of money.

My phone call:

Hello Donna. I’m calling from Corporate IT and we like to take care of our customers. I’m calling to let you know that your email account is being used by multiple computers in Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina, and I think he even said New Zealand, and your identity is being stolen.

ME: What company did you say you were with?

THEM: Corporate IT USA LLC.

ME: And you say I’m under attack?

THEM: Yes and we have to get into your computer just for 10 minutes and I promise you it won’t cost you a thing.

ME: Well, I think first I’d like to talk to someone about this.

THEM: Donna, listen to me. We like to take care of our customers and need to fix this for you. No money is involved and it will only take 10 minutes or so.

ME: Well, I didn’t buy the virus protector from your company; I got it from KEEPSAFEOS.COM.

THEM: What! They are a bad company. Why did you do that?

ME: Well, I got confused and called the wrong number.

THEM: You never let us know about it. You’ve broken a contract and we could sue you but we won’t.

ME: I did try to contact you but your phone was out of order and I got no response to my emails. Since then I’ve had everything uninstalled from my computer.

THEM: Who did that for you?

Told him.

THEM: I’m looking them up right now. He isn’t even in the computer!

ME: Of course not, I live in the boonies and he just works out of his house.

THEM: Out of his house! He can’t be trusted. We’re a big international company that works all over the world. You’ve broken your contract with us.

ME: I never had a contract with you so how could I have broken it? So we have nothing to discuss and you don’t need to phone me anymore.

I’m hanging up on you now.

Donna Stocker

Cawston

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