Last week, I had an up close and personal experience with a cyber-criminal ! I was home alone, reading Face Book posts. I clicked on a picture to open the link and read the text, when all sorts of messages popped on my screen. I tried to X them out but was unable to do so. Then as I began to panic, I started reading the messages. DO NOT POWER DOWN as you will destroy your HARD DRIVE and/ or FILES. More messages popped in when I noticed a phone number to reach a CERTIFIED MICROSOFT TECHNICIAN. I have to say I was suspicious but also very near panic for a “lifeline!” I fit the victim profile perfectly.
First I heard the robo message about “message being recorded for quality control”. This obviously was to further draw the computer owner into the web. Next, a very polite and extremely proficient English speaking foreigner came on the line. He was reassuring and said he would help me save my computer. He asked for my first name, and that was the only information I gave him. He said that he would check the computer and LET ME KNOW THE COST! My ears perked up. I said I thought I should wait and talk to my husband and thanked him for trying to help me as I turned the computer off. Within a few minutes I received two calls with UNKNOWN CALLER that verified my decision. I declined them both!
When David came home he looked at the messages and said two things: 1. Don’t DO FACEBOOK 2. Contact Andrew, my computer friend who is away in college.
Good old Andrew responded quickly and got access to my computer. He checked everything pronouncing it safe. He reassured me that with only my first name, my information was safe. I was sure I had given him nothing else!
Within a few days the CBS affiliate in Albany did a segment on MICROSOFT TECHNICIAN SCAM in the area. Aha, I knew that!
I am writing this to warn people who don’t have the help I had. Andrew told me if this happens again to POWER DOWN THE COMPUTER by holding down the POWER BUTTON even if it says it will harm the hard drive.
His parting words were, “Don’t believe everything you read on the Internet!”
It is very scary for someone who is very gullible and believes that people are truth tellers! I seem to have to learn and relearn that truth! My experience with the computer is also pretty limited. Just remember that it is imperative never give out personal information on the Internet and to POWER DOWN if something seems suspicious or uncomfortable. Always be prepared to be surprised.
If other readers, much more experienced than I, would like to “SHARE” cyber safety tips, please do ! And if possible . . . . find an Andrew~