Taking the byte out of a viral phone call

Penticton resident warns others to keep their guard up of computer scam.

Just thought I should put it out there again, although I’m sure many are aware of, but, at the same time, not everyone who has a computer knows how to recognize a telephone or internet scam when they encounter one.

I received a call from a man who claimed he was calling from Microsoft and that my computer had been infected with a virus and will be shut down, unless I allow him remote access to my computer to get rid of the virus before it does me any harm.

I knew it was a hoax when, after he finished his spiel about knowing my computer was infected, he followed with, “Do you have a computer, ma’am?” He was pretty quick in an attempt to cover his slip-up, but I wouldn’t let him get away with it.

Rather, I played a bit of a game with him for a few minutes, asking him where he was calling from, what his name was, who his manager was, what the name of his company was, how he new my computer was infected, why he asked me if I had a computer after telling me it was infected.

I scrambled his brain up so bad, I could hear that he was going into panic mode. Then asked him what his badge or operator identification  number was.

He said for me to hold one moment while he conversed with his manager. He wasn’t too bright of an individual because he didn’t cover his mouthpiece or put it on mute and I could hear what was going on in the background. I could hear him physically removing his headpiece and passing it to someone else.

I asked the manager for the same information as I did the other fellow. The first guy tells me he’s calling from Tampa, Florida, and the manager tells me that he was in California.

After that I said to the manager, “It’s a modern miracle that someone in Tampa can physically pass his headpiece to his manager in California in less than a minute. Do you guys have a time-machine, or something, and, if so, can I borrow it?”

Then, the manager said something that sent me into an almost uncontrollable hysterical laughing episode. He says to me, “You’re a pretty stupid lady.” and hung up on me.

If you’ve got anyone answering phones in your house who isn’t savvy enough to recognize a scam when they hear one, make sure you school them to never give out any information to anyone claiming they are from Microsoft and that your computer has a virus. never give out any names, addresses, banking or credit card information over the phone or internet, unless you are the one who initiates the contact and are positive you got the right people at the other end, and, especially, never allow anyone to have remote access to your computer to fix it, unless, of course, you had initiated the contact.

It’ll just end up causing you a heck of a lot of banking and credit card grief that no one can really afford in today’s financial crisis.

Keep your guard up!

Today’s communications world is a very, very scary place to get lost in! Arm yourselves with knowledge.

Natalie Leffler