It's funny how sometimes blog ideas just come out of nowhere. I was sitting at the computer this morning debating whether to write about an unfortunate encounter with a very large goose or to tell the tale of how I recently got thrown out of an Alpharetta eatery, when I received a phone call out of the blue.
A gentleman with a very thick accent was on the other end of the line. I could make out roughly one in five words he was saying - I think he may have been speaking Vulcan. He told me he was from Microsoft and that they had received a report that my computer was running slow and that he was going to help me fix it. Well, that was nice of him. I have never had a call pre-empting my possible computer woes - how reassuring to know that Microsoft was on the ball. I told the gentleman that now that I think of it, my computer was a little sluggish - I could almost see him smiling all the way over in....wait a minute, let me check the caller ID...yes all the way over in India.
I asked him if he could wait a moment. I put the kettle on for a cup of tea and then let the dog out. I went back to the phone - he was still there - how patient he was.
My Vulcan is not very good but I tried to explain that I had recently given up my addiction to Farmville as I was having a heck of a time with the crops and my animals kept running away. He didn't seem to care a lot about my Farmville issues but insisted that I did indeed need help and that he was just the man to help me.
He asked me for my credit card number and told me that for a small fee he could have my computer running perfectly. At least I suspect that is what he said, can't be totally sure.
I asked him to wait again. I went down to the street and dragged up my garbage can.
I think he was still on the line when I got back as even though the line was a little crackly, it sounded like there were a lot of like-minded people in the background helping out folks such as myself.
I then accidently hung up. Sadly he didn't call me back.
It seems that this phone "scam" has been circulating for a very long time. The scammers continue to do it because people continue to fall for it. NEVER EVER give your credit card number to anyone who calls you unsolicited to fix your computer; they will want you to do one of two things. They will ask you to enter keystrokes which may give them access to your computer hard drive or they will ask you for a credit card number to fix the "problem." Either way this could be bad, very bad for you.
This scam has been around in one incarnation or another for several years. The scammers have a variety of different ruses all hoping for the same result; to part you with your money and/or personal information, which can then be used to part you with your money.
Remember Microsoft will never call unsolicited to fix computer issues!
If you have been, or suspect you may have been, the victim of computer fraud or wish to see the current list of frauds currently doing the rounds visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center. At this Web site, which partners with the FBI, you will also find useful tips on Internet security.