warn your folks!
Yesterday, I took my parents out for a lovely lunch as part of my mum’s Christmas & birthday presents. More on that later though, first of all I promised them that I would blog about something that they experienced recently as they were worried about someone else being scammed.
My parents are pensioners (as you would expect at my vast and lofty age).
So, on Wednesday, my dad answered the phone and a (foreign-sounding) man asked him
“Good afternoon, is that Mr P?”
“Mr P, I am calling from Gold something-or-other, affiliates of Microsoft and I am sorry to have to tell you that you have a virus on your computer”
“Yes, we can see from here that there is a virus, but I can talk you through the steps of how to get rid of it”
“Are you at your computer now?”
“Yes” (even thoguh he wasn’t, good old dad!
“OK, can you see the icon that says XYZ etc etc………..”
After a while, my dad cut him off.
“Look, you might as well just stop there, I’m not going to be doing any of this.”
“But Mr P, we need to get rid of your virus”
“Thank you. Goodbye”
And my dad hung up. Immediately, the phone rang again.
“Mr P, you must not put the phone down on me. This is very serious. Do you not want the help with your computer?”
“No, I don’t. Can you give me the name and number of your supervisor?”
“Yes, I can, but only AFTER I have gone through these important steps with you to get rid of this virus”
“No, if you do not give me your supervisor’s details, I am putting the phone down again. I will not be talking to you, please do not call me again.”
“I can’t do that Mr P”
So my dad hung up again. And the guy immediately called back again.
“Mr P, you are a bad, bad man, you must not hang up on me again. This is vital.”
“This is harrassment, do NOT call me again.”
“I will keep calling you until you listen to me Mr P.”
So my dad hung up. And the phone rang again, but my dad didn’t answer. And the guy left a mesage saying what a bad man he was, and how the virus was very nasty and he didn’t know what he was doing.
The guy rang another 5 or 6 times, and then eventually got bored. No number showed up, 1471 didn’t work, and my dad hadn’t caught the supposed name of the company.
I was horrified. My dad said that the only reason he hadn’t actually fallen for it was because ages ago I’d told him about VPN etc and how you could access one computer from another as long as you entered codes and protocols etc giving them access. I am SO glad I told him about that, as my dad does all his banking online and has a load of stocks and shares that he maintains too. I am NOT the most tech-savvy person in the world, and I hate to think what they could get access to.
Then my mum said “This isn’t the first time either”. A woman called in December and said that my mum had a virus on her computer, and to go to it now so that she could talk her how to get rid of it. When my mum asked how she KNEW that she had a virus, the woman said “Well, when you first turn the computer on, do you get a little egg-timer appear before you are able to use it?”, “Erm, yes”, “Yes, that is how you can tell that you have a virus.” My mum just said “Oh, go away.” and put the phone down.
Now, I hadn’t heard of this before, and all I can think of is that my parents are somewhere on a list of PC-user pensioners. I really think that this is targetting older people who are more likely to be less tech-savvy than younger people, as I don’t know who would get away with saying that an egg-timer is the result of a virus!
I know that WE wouldn’t fall for it, and you probably wouldn’t either – but please, warn your parents/grandparents not t0o fall for such a scam! I have promised my folks that I’d spread the word – and I have now done my duty, like a good daughter.
In my next entry – food!!!