Four Signs they’re Dirty, Rotten Scammers

Posted: January 14, 2016 in Identity Care, identity theft, Scammers, Top Tips, Truth
Tags: , ,

How to Protect Yourself. Part 1.

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2016 got off to a rocky start. Seven days into January, and I had already fallen victim to a phone scam. Dagnabit!

However, unfortunately, I am not alone.

In the research I’ve done since this “identity theft” happened, I have been truly appalled to find out more about this “growth industry.” 1 in 6 New Zealanders got a call from scammers in the last six months.

My sister, who works as a lawyer in the U.K. tells me the scammers could ruin my credit rating, scam more people through me, and that they will sell my personal details to those dastardly people (my words, not hers!) who compile “sucker lists.” Happy New Year to me!

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I’m not an idiot. So, how did this happen? I know, like every other adult who owns a computer or a phone line these days, that you never give people your financial details or anything else over the phone or the net. And yet, within ten minutes on the line with these people who were allegedly from “Microsoft Global,”  I was giving them everything. That’s how slick they were, so be warned. This is what to watch out for.

*First Warning Sign: they will say they’re from a big reputable company, because you’re more likely to take them seriously. Microsoft was the most commonly-used ruse by the scammers I heard about in my few days of reading up about it, because most people trust a giant corporation.

*My Tip: ask for the phone number of their office as you just have to quickly go, do whatever. Then, ring the number. And also ring Microsoft and ask them about it too.

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I hope that by sharing my story, it may perhaps prevent someone else from being sucked in by scammers, as I was. My sister and I listened to a talkback show that had been recorded from our National radio station, which was on this same subject. I noticed that all the stories from people who had been scammed had similar veins or threads. That was when it hit me that it might be helpful to others to tell my story in its entirety, as the same points were echoed again and again.

This is our version.

The phone rang at 7.30 p.m. I said to the nice lady that it was right upon story time and bed time for the boys. But she was insistent that Microsoft Global (MG) were getting alerts that our computers would be accessed by hackers if we didn’t act immediately.

*Second Warning Sign: they want you to act immediately.

*My Tip: ask them for a physical office you can go into the next morning. Any sizeable business like MG will have a physical address in your town. Ask for their address so that you can do so. If they hedge at all, they’re dirty rotten scammers.

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This lady told me our computers would crash within two days.

The callers to the National Program’s talkback on this subject had similar scary stories, something that would get their “fight or flight” mechanism activated. People were told that their computer ‘had a virus that would spread to every other computer and device in their neighbourhood,’ or that their computer ‘had a virus that would spread to every contact in their email account,’ and so on. Therefore, urgency is placed upon the situation, and fear of what could happen, which puts you on the “back foot.”

They made me feel afraid. I felt impelled to follow the steps provided by the comforting rescuer being in this case, “Microsoft Global.” When I asked their “technician” a question at one point, he replied, ‘Yes, of course, anything – I’m here for you.’ He was such a sweet young guy.

*Third Warning Sign: they will scare you, then offer to rescue you.

*My Tip: again, see the tip above. Whatever it is, it can wait till morning. If they say it can’t wait, then, you know that they’re dirty rotten scammers.

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I told these people all my details. They got everything. We even signed me up for an account with Western Union and I tried to pay for a new “warranty” for our laptops, but by then my bank had closed and the payment wouldn’t go through. I arranged that the folk from MG would ring me in the morning.

*Fourth Warning Sign: they always want money, too. It seems just a small amount, at only $100-250 for three years warranty. But if they’re harvesting a few hundred dollars on each phone-call, they’re making a small fortune on the bogus repair work, as well.

*My Tip: Say you don’t want a warranty, and the reaction will probably be a stepping-up of the pressure on you to buy. This is where you will start to see the lack of professionalism. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized the people I had spoken to had at times acted less-than-professional. You guessed it, they were dirty rotten scammers.

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The man from MG requested remote control of our computers. A sign popped up on my screen which said, “The service from us here at TeamViewer is free. Thank you for playing fair.” He assured me they would do the necessary scanning and repairs on our computers while we slept. Meanwhile these criminals were harvesting all the rest of our personal details. Horrible isn’t it.

We need to protect ourselves from these people by sharing our stories. Because there is strength in numbers and power in information and networking.

I’ll share Part Two next week with tips on what to do if you are scammed. Call it “the before and after” advice column!

Here’s to halting the growth industry of scamming in its tracks. How do we do that? By talking about it, as I have done through this post.

Have you ever been rung by a scammer? Share your stories below!

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Keep Creating!

Happy New Year!

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Talk to you later,

Yvette. K. Carol

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“Magic is believing in yourself, if you can do that, you can make anything happen” – Goethe

 

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Comments
  1. Catherine Johnson says:

    Yikes that is scary. We get potential phone scammers and I am just about on to them. I’m afraid I’m less vigilant with emails. Thanks for the info.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Good for you, Catherine!
      When I was telling my middle sister about this, she responded with a story that yes, someone had rung her, too. My sister cottoned on to the scam and yelled at them to leave her alone. I believe she said something along the lines of, ‘How do you sleep at night?’ Which I wish I’d said!
      However, I have to admit, I just wasn’t as savvy as you guys. Until now, that is. Never again!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. yvettecarol says:

    p.s. as to the emails, I know what you mean. The only thing we can do is try to be more and more vigilant, by asking questions, and not jumping through their hoops by hitting reply straight away.

    Like

  3. Oh, Yvette, that is AWFUL! Those horrible, horrible people. 😦 I hope there is something you can do to salvage your credit. Ugh… I hope the year gets much better from here on. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog and commented:
    Stay Alert and Be Aware folks 😱

    Liked by 2 people

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Chris. You’re my favourite ape 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Welcome Yvette – I hope you informed your bank immediately and changed all your passwords – especially to any WIP’s on your computer 😎

        Liked by 2 people

      • yvettecarol says:

        My bank was the first phone-call. While I was talking to the bank manager, the scammer was calling through my laptop, “Mam? Are you there, mam, pick up the phone.” It was a close shave.
        As to my works-in-progress, I’m a little concerned. Yes, I have changed the passwords to everything. However, I worry that during the two hour original phone conversation with these guys, one of them asked whether I had any books for sale on Amazon? The next day, when I realized what had befallen me with regards being taken in by these scammers, I thought about all the unpublished work I have stored on my laptop, and I felt fear.
        In the “clean up” process afterwards though, part of that is about “making a digital footprint” of the steps you’ve taken to fix things. That way, if someone takes an illegal action with intellectual property they’ve purloined from you, you can demonstrate, I was scammed here. I did this, this, and this. And it gives you a legal leg to stand on.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Glad you caught on and took the necessary actions Yvette…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I received a call this afternoon from a lady saying my computer was, unbeknown to me spreading spyware. She then asked whether I was sitting in front of the machine. At this point I hung up without ceremony! Sorry you got scammed. I don’t know how scammers got hold of my number as it is not listed in the telephone directory so the only way someone can get it is if I give it to them. Kevin

    Liked by 2 people

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks for commenting, Kevin.
      Yes, your call was a classic, whereby they suck people in by making them feel they’re to blame for putting other people’s computers at risk. Sneaky, huh?

      Like

  6. We get a lot of unsolicited phone calls from various companies and now I just hang up on them. My husband did take one just the other week from someone claiming that they were from pc support and that out computers were compromised. My husband then told them they had come through to a police station. The line went dead.
    I was honestly surprised that he had been so on the ball because he doesn’t know all that much about computers and I’d have thought he would have been sufficiently worried to act on their advice. As it was though he had read something about just such a scam and was suspicious.
    It makes sense to share these stories so that others can be more prepared. I’m just sorry that it happened to you. It’s awful that our trust is so abused. Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope it helps prevent it happening again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks for the feedback. 🙂
      Yes, I’m hoping that by talking about it, maybe more people will become aware what to watch out for.
      My nephew was teasing me that he’d ‘heard I’d been taken for a sum by Prince Mubutu, as well.’
      As a matter of fact, the very first time I got an email saying I’d won a million dollars, I did ask my eldest sister whether she thought it was real! That’s how much of an innocent I was when I first ventured into the online world about six years ago. But, you live and learn. Sometimes the hard way.
      Now, that I have a blog though, I have a “forum,” a way of sharing my experience.
      The more we shine a light on these scammers, the better.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. We had emails and text messages from the bank saying our account had been put on hold. We went into the bank and told them as we didn’t have an account with them and wanted to know how they’d got our details. Further investigation on their part confirmed it was a scam with the hope that someone would click on to the ‘link’ in the message which would then open up their computer for all sorts of nasties.
    The other thing we get a lot of is PPI calls and I lost my rag after receiving three such calls in the same day demanding to know how they got our mobile number. I was told it was in their database so I asked under what name and they said ‘Yours’ to which i replied ‘Which is?’ Silence followed by the ‘You’re in our database’ again. I said ‘I don’t see how as we’ve only had this phone for three days and even I don’t know the number yet!’
    It’s one of the reasons we don’t want internet banking and insist that any correspondence from our bank is done by snail mail.

    Liked by 3 people

    • yvettecarol says:

      This is the thing, is that they’re so slippery, just as you think you’re aware of all the possible ways they can scam you, they’ll come up with a new way in.
      My sister works prosecuting the bonafide scamsters of the world, and as she says, if the bonafide trading companies are involved in all sorts of scams, imagine what the criminals are doing!
      Another sister said that that’s the reason she refuses to use internet banking. I must admit, I’m considering going back to trekking to the bank and letting the internet banking go, too.

      Like

      • I wouldn’t blame you. We’d never entertain it and with the recent computer hacking problems some of our major banks have experienced where customers cannot access their accounts or use their cards, we won’t be changing our minds!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Scary. I have a policy of not conducting ANY kind of business on the phone unless I have placed the call. I tell all callers that and they go away.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. diannegray says:

    I’m really sorry this happened to you, Yvette. I would feel sick to the stomach if this happened to me. Your sister is right, these are dastardly people. I had the same call a coupe of years back and hung up on them. They weren’t happy and kept ringing me back and became very rude (yes, they’re pushy). I finally left the phone off the hook.

    Another scam that nearly got me was when my bank rang and said someone had hacked my account. It seemed real because there had been an article in the paper about bank hacking a short time before that. I believed them, but because I was late for an appointment I told them I’d ring them back and hung up. When I rang the bank they said they knew nothing about it and I was SO GLAD I hadn’t offered any information about my bank details.

    I like John’s comment and his policy that no business be done on the phone. I really hope these people get caught and punished very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. BunKaryudo says:

    I haven’t been scammed (as far as I know!) so far, but I think that was just luck rather than great vigilance on my part. I think pretty much anyone can probably be scammed if the scam is clever enough.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I got caught in a variation of this scam last July. I haven’t banked online since. All I was looking for was a recipe when I got a loud warning on my computer, a banner covering my laptop screen and loud loud warning. I called the number on right bottom of my screen which said Microsoft. Call immediately! The woman said, yes, she was a trained Microsoft technician and it all went downhill from there. I had trouble understanding her on the phone–from another country–and had to leave to room to hear her properly. I called my credit card company and they told me to HANG UP. Still I had to change all my cards.
    Great post. These warnings cannot be repeated enough. I don’t know what made me suspicious but I began writing her responses to her questions at some point. I should have called the police afterwards, but didn’t.

    Liked by 4 people

  12. Jenni Legate says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you, Yvette. You definitely didn’t need this. Sadly, it happens everywhere and in every walk of life. Thanks for sharing your story and tips – I will share them on in hopes of helping prevent someone else experiencing this anguish.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Important information.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. lynnkelleyauthor says:

    I feel so bad for you having to deal with all this, Yvette. Scary and unnerving. Those people are schmucks through and through. We’ve had our credit card info end up stolen some way or another. One time it was when my husband was getting gas and used the card. Some one got our info and charged other things on it. Just two weeks ago, someone tried to charge over $300 in costumes with one of our credit cards, but it went over the credit limit and was denied. So haha! The bank replaced closed those cards and issued us new ones. I can’t figure out how they got our info. Seems so common anymore, but what happened to you is ugly and scary. They sure turned your life upside-down. I’m so glad your sis gave you good advice. Looking forward to part 2 of those dirty rotten — I want to call them something else, but I’ll stick with your term, scammers. Hugs.

    Liked by 2 people

    • yvettecarol says:

      Thanks, Lynn! I’m sorry about your credit card issues. They say the world is going over to a “cashless society,” no wonder scamming is a “growth industry,” huh. Funny you should mention the ‘limit’ on your card, that’s one of the evasive moves I took also, I reduced the credit limit on my card! Just in case anything else goes awry in future. Somehow, some way, we have to stay one step ahead of these shysters.

      One good thing about having been taken in by hook, line and sinker, is that I have a story to tell that may help protect others in the future. See “part two” 🙂

      I’m still laughing about what you want to call them! I took that phrase from all the cussing I did when it happened, and it was the cleanest, most sanitised of the lot. You should have heard the rest. Ha ha!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I have caller blocking on my phone which automatically stops recorded calls and any numbers I add that I don’t want to get through. If a real person gets through, I tell them we do not do anything on the phone and to take us off their call list immediately (this includes charities) and I hang up.
    My wallet is one that protects my charge cards against scanners and I don’t sign up for any freebie stuff on line or anywhere else.
    Those crazy emails telling us strangers want to share their wealth come through as junk and are immediately deleted. I don’t know how to stop them or I would.
    When we first set up our Mac computer, an alarm literally came booming through going on and off and supposedly from Apple, telling us we had to give them information to set up an anti- viral protection on our computer. New to computers, I began typing put the information until they asked for a charge card number, which I started typing and then stopped when asked for the security number on the back. I turned off the computer and a few minutes later got a call from the charge card company that they had stopped an attempted transaction, supposedly from us. We thanked them and asked them to send us a new card. We returned to the Mac store to ask about this and they told us it was bogus.
    I don’t think you can be too careful in any area. The other day a friend explained about deleting search history and cookies a regular basis to further protect our computer and phone from hackers. It’s imperative to always be one step ahead of these scammers and to share your stories.And make sure the seniors in your family are aware and diligent, because they can be too trusting at times and a target for scammers.(I’m a senior, so I can say that) Thanks, Yvette

    Liked by 1 person

  16. […] Source: Four Signs they’re Dirty, Rotten Scammers […]

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  17. I don’t want to seem unsympathetic, but none of this is new, so I DO NOT UNDERSTAND how anyone could give their information to anyone we don’t know for sure is safe and to whom we CHOOSE to give it, or let anyone “take control of their computer.”

    I’m glad you posted this so those who have been in caves in meditation retreats for the last 5 years could catch up and protect themselves, but everyone else should know better. Really.

    Liked by 1 person

    • yvettecarol says:

      Yes, my sister and my nephew both had similar reactions. I’d probably feel the same from now on!

      I knew not to give anyone my personal details over the phone, but I, for one, had not ever heard before the actual details, the “Microsoft” bit, etc. That’s why I got suckered in, because it was news to me. Hence, this post. I thought, well if I can be caught out then someone else could too, exactly as you’ve said.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Excellent tips, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Yvette, The wallets have aluminum lining which blocks the reading or scanning of the Radio Frequency Identification Chip that’s imbedded in credit cards and passports. (If a scanner gets very close enough to you, it’s not as effective- so you really need to be wary of people around you.) I think this may be how Lynn Kelly’s husband’s card was scanned at the gas pump.It’s called RFID Blocking Identity Card Wallet or Credit Card Holder and they have them in stores or on Amazon.Look at reviews to see effectiveness of the different products offered. And in spite of what Ms. Ember implies in her comment, anyone can get scammed or scanned (even PHD’s) and so this has been a great post all-around and I thank you. Clare

    Liked by 1 person

  20. emaginette says:

    Excellent post. Thanks for the warning. I’m pretty sure this is a global problem. 🙂

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

  21. […] post follows on from last week’s post, Four Signs they’re Dirty, Rotten Scammers. This is the “after” post for those poor, sucked-in folks like me, who find they’ve been […]

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