Our friend was badly scammed the other night. She’s been super-busy recently and therefore felt overwhelmed and exhausted. At a vulnerable time, she was attacked. An extremely plausible scammer called her in the evening, purporting to be from Microsoft. He told her she’d been hacked and said he was trying to “protect” her. After she turned on the computer and did what he told her to do, he took control of the computer and protected her right out of access to it. As a computer, it was now a great doorstop. Then he wanted to charge her hundreds of dollars to give control of her computer back to her. She told him she wouldn’t pay him, because he killed her computer, and he said, “No, ma’am, you killed it.”
Nothing too bad can happen to people like that. Boiling in oil? An eighth circle in hell?One of the worst aspects is that he made her feel so stupid. None of can know everything and most of us use computers without being tech-savvy. A scammer’s playground.
The story ends fairly well. It was time for a new computer anyway (hers was 8 years old). Another friend who is very knowledgeable about computers went shopping with her, helped her choose a new desktop computer, and got it set up and working. The other good news is her major files were backed-up on thumb drives. Later, a technician can help her recover her remaining data.
It’s a sad commentary that we can never rely on the good will of people who cold-call and want to “help” us. Microsoft does not call; it sends Windows updates. Though a sucker may be born every minute, apparently a scammer is born every 30 seconds.