From the errors of others, a wise man corrects his own. ~Syrus, Roman writer
Earlier this week, I was listening to music and reading blogs when suddenly on my computer screen four popups appeared warning me that Microsoft had detected hackers breaching my firewall and trying to hijack my machine.
I know what you’re thinking — ignore them. But a voice was reading the warnings — over and over — and I couldn’t “X” out of the ads. My heart started racing, and logic flew out the window.
Adding to the believability, I was advised not to enter personal information (online banking or shopping), not to turn my PC off, and to call a toll-free number so a certified Microsoft technician could remove the virus and Trojan horse, to free my machine.
I knew better. But I didn’t listen.
I called the number and connected with a foreign-sounding technician who assured me he was there to help.
Two hours later, the ads were gone — and so, sadly, was $150 of my hard-earned money.
I started kicking myself immediately. Buyer’s remorse, guilt, anger.
Fortunately, it was late in the day. I turned off my computer, unplugged my office phone, and started fretting. When my son Domer called that night and I confessed my stupidity, he wished me luck getting my money back. In fact, he predicted they’d probably clean out my entire account.
Of course, I didn’t get any sleep.
The next morning, I went to my bank, explained the situation, and learned I wasn’t the only one. The good news was the check hadn’t cleared, so they flagged it and told me I wouldn’t lose my money! They also closed the account, leaving just enough to cover my outstanding legitimate debts.
Then I called my Internet service provider and had them scramble my IP address.
Then I got a trusted computer technician to do a thorough cleaning of my laptop. He assured me I got off easy — some folks lose a LOT of money, in addition to personal information. And typically, these criminals insert malicious programs deep in the belly of a computer so they can attack again and again.
Guess my habit of not allowing Windows to store passwords for me paid off.
Anyway, all’s well once again, but I wanted to warn you about this aggravation. Don’t let yourselves get so complacent that you aren’t watchful of online dangers!