Friday, May 13, 2016

Everybody does it once.


Last Saturday morning I was feeling a little under par with a touch of hay fever.

The phone rang and a worried sounding lady with an ethnic accent said my computer was about to crash.  I grumpily told her I didn’t wish to take her call and hung up.


Almost immediately the phone rang again and the same lady – now quite incensed asked me why I had cut her off when they were trying to help me and stop my computer from crashing.  It was Windows and if I didn’t listen my computer would die and I would lose everything.


Alarm set in as I visualised my recently edited thirteen chapters of an ’An Imperfect Life’ being obliterated – as well as over ten years of my life.  I had spent the last ten days with ethnic sounding ladies who were kind, charming and lovely and I had been a bit rude to this one. 
Before I could apologise we started on one of those tutorials you get when you ask for help with various on line sites and I was lulled into a hectic sense of security – concentrating like mad and trying to follow her instructions.


Then she said she would get her supervisor to help me further and Mr Charm came on – also with an ethnic accent.


He spent quite a lot of time telling me I was right to be suspicious there were so many frauds on the internet but my computer had been attacked with so many viruses – he brought them up on my screen, named a particular virus and brought up Wikipedia to see their definition.  I knew my computer had been playing up daily since I had Windows 10 so I didn’t find it difficult to believe.  Also My Security Norton also has a moan from time to time but still happily accept my annual payment.


This went on for quite some time and then he said what they would do to counteract this so that my computer would be free for the rest of my life.


“And how much is this going to cost me,” I asked?

He brought the figures up on the screen:  £300 for three years and £400 for the rest of my life.


“Oh I couldn’t possibly spend that amount of money without consulting my sons!”



He continued on a bullying rant and as I told him I was going to hang up but I was going to write about it on my blog his ranting and raving only ceased when I put the phone down.


Shaken and upset I phoned my nearest son in Wiltshire and after a few comforting words he told me to phone my Bank, phone the Police and then get our local computer engineers to pick up my computer.


The Bank was very helpful and I spoke to the Internet Banking Team who froze my account.  The Police –a sweet girl told me the Action Fraud Team were ace but as it was the week –end they weren’t there but there was a very comprehensive  internet form and we could do it together.  It took us half an hour but when she read it back to me it was a pretty accurate account and I was so grateful for her help.  It is important to inform the police as they give you a number and pass word which is helpful if you need to claim money from the bank.


These thugs target the old and the young; one young student in his twenties was convinced enough to give his bank details and lost money – half of which was refunded by his bank.


Five days later my computer is back – they found – very well hidden what they had left in the computer, my bank is back to normal and my self esteem is helped by my Hertfordshire Grandson telling me:

”Everybody does it once Grandma.”

P.S.  If I were one of you I would be shaking my head and declaring “I always hang up!” 
Just be warned!


kenju said...

I am sorry you fell for that, Pat, but I understand how they an make you think doom is approaching. Glad it is back to normal now.

sdc said...

Anyone can call and say anything at all. Anyone can call and claim to be from your bank and talk in urgent and caring tones and all they'd need to hear is a bit of uncertainty in your voice and know you're a chicken waiting to be plucked. The people doing this know that you don't know. That is their weapon. Older women in particular are prime targets for catfishing. I am not a trusting soul, so I haven't been victimized yet, but I see how easily a smooth talker could find an opening if he/she were to probe relentlessly enough. My only advice that has worked for me is that when I see an email, a number on call display or a person at my front door I don't recognize, I ignore them all and contrary to what they try to tell me, disaster has not befallen me. You did the right thing. You realized something was up and in the end you weren't a victim.

Pat said...

SDC: thank you. That makes me feel less of an idiot.

Judy: at least I saw the light in time thank goodness and hopefully helped to prevent anyone else having a doddery moment.

Kim Ayres said...

So glad you spotted what was happening. How stupid of him to start shouting and bullying - no support line would ever do that.

I wonder if his mother knows he does this for a living? Evil.

Pat said...

Kim: actually his rage was a crumb of comfort. It made me think his efforts had ben fruitless. Angus said they were evil also. And shameless.

angryparsnip said...

Good for you for seeing what is happening !
So happy your son and the police were able to help.

First of all I would want to know how they knew my computer would crash ?
I always ask for their name and say I will call you back at the national number.
That is if I don't hang up first.

How was your trip ?
cheers, parsnip and thehamish

Pat said...

Parsnip: on a normal day I would have done similar but we all have off days and that is when out guard should be well to the fore.
I hope people can learn from my witlessness. I hope to write about the cruise and be able to post photos. Fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Pat I had one of these calls a few days ago, I knew there was nothing wrong with the computer so I told them I would take it to an engineer and thanked them for the call, they actually swore at me and I burst into fits of laughter. They hung up before I did.

Ms Scarlet said...

I'm always being caught out by free trials and before I know it I seem to have signed up for something totally silly for the next five years.
Anyhow, live and learn, Pat, I'm pleased you saw them off in the end.

Mage said...

Did they tell you how to back everything up? Sure glad you got that whole mess straightened out. I did it by sending lots of money to a nurse in Africa. Everyone told me he was a scammer, but I didn't believe them. Now I do.

How was the trip. I so hope ok as I saw one trip had a horrid bout of the Norovirus and I was hoping it wasn't you.

Pat said...

Scarlet: glad I'm not the only one:)

Mage: it is a sad lesson to learn - not to trust people but in this day and age it is self preservation.
The trip was great and one I could happily repeat. We were on Boudicca and our captain lectured us twice every single day re hygienic washing of hands and it really worked thank goodness.
Balmoral - a sister ship was the unlucky one. I have a cruise booked with them next Christmas so I hope they get themselves sorted.
I'm hampered writing about the cruise because I can't seem to post my pics. I'll keep trying.

Granny Annie said...

My neighbors also went for this and lost $250. They did not get their money back and it cost even more to get the computer fixed. One more reason I NEVER answer any calls from unknown numbers.

Exile on Pain Street said...

It could've ended much worse, as you know. Please make a back-up of everything on your computer. Get yourself an external hard drive--they're not difficult to manage--and make periodic back-ups. That stuff is irreplaceable. I wish I lived nearby. I'd do the entire operation for you for a proper cup of tea and one of your stories.

neena maiya (guyana gyal) said...

Yes, they're back, having found new ways to con people.

A woman here almost got conned by a love-scam but a friend who asked many questions kept her out of trouble.

About Last Weekend said...

You had me at "rang back" A service person rang back? That's amazing.
I always just wait for my 12 year old to come home and help with all this nonsense, I am the most staunch luddite there ever was...

Pat said...

Grannie Annie: you have the right idea. Well done:)

Exile: would that you could. You would be most welcome. I'll consult whichever son comes next- failing that.

Neena: we just have to keep our guard up and be wary of people we don't know.

ALW: Luddite or no - it doesn't matter if you are blessed with children living at home. Lucky you!

rashbre said...

We've got one of those phones that blocks incoming spam calls. It's not perfect but it does cut down on the number of PPI and 'broken computer' calls that somehow evade TPS.

If I pick one up now (by accident) I always ask them for their name, where they are based and the name f the company. It is surprising how many will hang up just based on that.

Regarding your chapters etc...As well as backup to a separate disk (or even a cheap dongle put into the USB port) another tip is to email the chapter to yourself. That way it is also on the email system as a further backup.