Native son - SCAM, act one

by Charles D Novak

My column on January 19 was about scams. Well folks, guess what? On Saturday February 9 while I was checking one of my accounts on the Internet this loud beeping sound came out of my computer. My screen froze and a voice said “do not turn off your computer. This is Microsoft and we believe a number of your functions are not giving you maximum results. We are going to take over your computer and correct this problem.” The cursor disappeared from my screen and the voice continued telling me and showing me different screens with all kinds of different configurations which I couldn’t understand.
After about ten minutes of these flashing images the voice came back on and said “we have found a number of weak points in your system that need to be brought to maximum working strength. The fee will be $500.” Naturally Microsoft has a great reputation and they must know what’s best for their customers.. I still thought it strange that I had to pay a $500 fee to fix something that seemed to be already working at peak performance.
The voice then said “we will need your bank account number to get paid for this service.”
Warning signals immediately flew through my head. When I started protesting the voice said I had to open a “pay plan” for him in my checking account. I told him I was going to sign off and check a few things before we continued with this conversation.
He warned me not to turn off my computer but I signed off anyway. I immediately called the fraud department at Wells Fargo and reported what was happening. They immediately closed my accounts.
By Monday they had new accounts installed for me. In a final desperate attempt “the voice” called and said I still owed him $500. I politely told him to get lost and hung up.
The lady I spoke to in the Wells Fraud Department could not have been more helpful and assured me everything had been taken care of.
What’s also strange about this is I hardly spend any time on my computer unless I am writing my articles for the Ely Echo or making a purchase on Amazon.
I don’t aimlessly search the Net, go on chat lines or receive and send endless numbers of emails.
I’d rather read my books. I wanted to share this experience with you to let you know bad things can and do happen on computers and to be constantly vigilant.
If it doesn’t look and sound right, it probably isn’t.