Computer Scam!

This is serious. Please read.

A few moments after opening my laptop today a “Microsoft” web page popped up.

It came with a dialogue box that stopped me in my tracks.

My computer had been hacked.

My credit cards, my passwords and Facebook were at risk.


I was told not to close the page.
If I did, I would lose access to my computer.
I was to call the 800 number on the “Microsoft” page right away.

What do I do?

At first, I panicked.
I did not want someone to steal my credit card information.
I did not want my bank account emptied.

But, I knew better than to call the 800 number on the “error message”.
I googled the 800 number. It was not a Microsoft number.

I also examined the webpage.
The Microsoft four color icon did not seem right.
The date of the website page in the bottom right hand corner read “Microsoft 2016”.

Microsoft Help

I found a number for Microsoft on my phone.
The nice tech guy John Paul at Microsoft helped me to delete the offending page.
He also advised me to clear my history.

He then advised me to buy Trend Micro Internet Security-3 User for $79.95.
His rationale was that my computer was still at risk even though we had deleted the offending pop-up.

I told him that I would wait and talk with my son.

Here’s the follow-up email from Microsoft.

Hi Lori,
Thanks for reaching out to Answer Desk.
Come back if you need more help. There’s help here too:
· Microsoft community – To find answers for questions others have asked (yours might be similar), or to ask a new one.
· Microsoft Support site – For step-by-step instructions and getting started info.
Report a scammer :
We’re also sending you a short survey, and we’d love your feedback. It’s completely anonymous and helps us give you better service.
Have you heard about Microsoft’s newest operating system, Windows 10? Learn more.
Thanks again for choosing Answer Desk. We’re here when you need us.
Answer Desk Team
John Paul

Microsoft:  1-800-426-9400 or 1-800-642-7676.

My Phd Son

While I was on the phone with Microsoft, my daughter-in-law called my son.
He advised me to wait until he came home so that he could assess the situation.
My son has a solid background in mathematics and computer science.

While waiting for him, I looked up the Trend Micro Internet Security software.
It had good reviews.
However, it was available for less through other retailers.
Also there were were other software programs that did the same job for less money.

The Result

My son’s advice was that since there was little risk at present, I should let my company’s IT experts evaluate and resolve the problem.

As this is my work computer, I never use it on “public” networks and I never open questionable, emails, attachments or websites.

I am not a computer expert. However, I am not a babe in the woods.
Yet, I was almost taken in by this scam.

Lesson Learned

Don’t panic.
Assess the threat.
Be skeptical.
Get expert help.

37 thoughts on “Computer Scam!

  1. That’s great you didn’t act out of panic and click anything and call the 800 number. It amazes me how many scammers are out there. My 88yr old dad was tricked into something like that, but thankfully nothing major went wrong. It certainly could have. Scary!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh seems this has also arrived in Stateside. Over here in Asia there has been so many of these phishing mails and pop ups coming through. For mails, remember to label them as junk. For the browser, try to set your security settings higher

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks Lori and well done – you did all the right things here. 🙂
    Am wondering how this got on to your pc though as you seem well informed and careful in avoiding the usual traps?? I have noticed a particular wordpress user that frequently likes my photographs but changes his name on a regular basis (while still keeping the same http address: logical-quotes.worpress??) Not sure why they do that but it makes me suspicious. These days simply clicking on a blog page can allow malicious material to be uploaded to your pc. A good Anti-virus program is essential. I use AVG which has both free and paid versions and i have found to be very reliable, albeit with a rather large and sometimes time consuming application.
    Good luck with your virus/malware removal and have a very safe and happy Easter break. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks for the heads up Lorie. I had so many computer issues at my office this past week that I thought a gremlin was living in the office and coming out every night to wreck havoc on my network. It took days to resolved the problem. Have a good weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post, scary reality..
    I get these on my smartphone and it will freeze the back button.. So I hit the home button on my phone, clear history, cookies and cache from settings for internet in applications, then I scan with Lookout to be sure nothing unwanted stayed behind..
    There is also a renewed surge of a phone scam that just made the news the other day that is terrifying.. Your phone rings once and hangs up.. When done like this, the scammer is banking on curiosity to get call backs.. Or the phone rings, you answer, this can be done several ways.. Anyhow, the first question they ask is,
    “Can you hear me ?” ..which is a pretty normal question on cell phones.. You answer “Yes”, at this point they have all they need from you, because they likely already have your name, address and past addresses from public record data sites that data mine your info and place it all together on their site.. The yes in your voice is recorded and is intended to be used as a legal signature by the scammer for purchases and contracts over the phone ..
    In my not humble opinion, these sites should be taken down and made illegal with really harsh prison and financial penalties.. For a small fee, all your info is conveniently at the fingertips of a stalker or scammer.. This info are from public records, however, it’s many records scattered that have no charge to look up and only contain the record that is applicable to that govt office.. All people search sites have a limited free peek.. And some have a bunch of info for free.. Since there is no viable privacy laws that protect us, we have to be suspicious of known and unknown emails, phone calls and snail mail.. Phone numbers and emails can be spoofed.. Web pages can be made with no typos or logo imperfections.. Our privacy is already not safe.. We have to deal right with the scammers and not be fooled.. My advice, do not put your passwords in an online “safe”.. Do not answer the phone for an unknown number (if they have something important they will leave a voicemail)
    Do not answer “yes” for any question, even for a known number, until you are sure that it’s the voice you are expecting.. Example: A known number with a voice you don’t recognize ask if you are (your name).. Don’t say yes.. Even if they claim they are law enforcement.. just insist they state their business and deal with the real or fake issue they are claiming..
    Unfortunately this is where humanity is at.. The more new tech we acquire, the more vigilant and aware we must be.. One of my coworkers just today had to get to the bank because his debit card has been compromised.. The 3 numbers on the back of your credit card and debit card give access to anyone making purchases online.. Be careful when in any checkout line.. A short cell video from a few feet away can later be paused for screen shots and zoomed in to reveal both sides of your card for the numbers and your identity as you use it..
    Some people are just rude and stand too close but some have an agenda standing too close, as you make your purchases..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Thanks for all of the tips and good information. It really is scary and sad. I did not know about being in a check out line. So important to always be on guard. I will read your post a few times more to make sure that I remember all of the information you shared. Have a great weekend & thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry it was so long.. Theft is a pet peeve to me and there are just so many new ways to scam people, if you can put my tips in a more fluid and easier to follow manner, I’d be happy for you to make a new comment a then delete both mine 👍 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Thank you Lori. Here in Oz it has been Microsoft pretend fixers of Windows 10 that swept all states. Not only ‘on-line’ but phoning as well. It was a blatant attempt to get credit card details I believe. Many, sadly mainly elderly, paid relatively small amount to ‘fix a problem’ which did not exist and then discovered more money that specified was take from the account. You handled you situation well. I have heard that being panicked into a decision is what they are trying to achieve. Take Care!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been “computer guru” to a number of people for quite a while now, since my experience goes back over 30 years. However, even I’ve been caught once! (Just once, however.) The “social engineering” malware is often the most successful, and there’s an awful lot of it out there (adjective selected carefully). I personally like Webroot SecureAnywhere for anti-malware software, It’s not as good as some others for cleaning existing infections, but it’s rock solid for avoiding new ones.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As soon as you get a ransomware message like that, you should calm down and relax. If you know nothing about computers it can make your head spin. My mom had the same problem. She told me about it after she called the number speaking to some indian guy saying it costs alot to fix (lol). You should first google the message. Similar to a sketchy .exe file, if you google it, it will almost always tell you if it is malicious or not.

    Liked by 1 person

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