Today was a very good day. I played EverQuest 2 for a couple of hours and I was having a ball. I was video chatting with a friend of mine with Google Plus Hangouts when the phone rang. I looked at the Caller ID and it said Unknown Name Unknown Number. I never answer the phone when it says that, but Darrin does sometimes.
The phone first rang at 6:38pm and I guess Darrin answered it, but then he hung up on them. They called again at 6:41pm and Darrin ran into my room and told me not to answer it, but I did anyway. He whispered to me telling me that it’s a scam. I was trying to hear what the guy was saying, but I had Darrin whispering to me while my friend was talking on my computer and I had to go into the hallway just to hear what this guy was saying.
Whoever was on the phone was asking me if my computer was on and at first I thought yeah yeah yeah and my refrigerator is running too, I guess I better go catch it, right? I thought it was a crank call, so I asked “Who is this?” He told me he was from Microsoft Service Center. I asked him what he was calling for and he told me that I had viruses on my computer and that I can turn it on now. I told him that he must have the wrong number because I don’t have a virus, but he insisted that he had the right number. I couldn’t understand why he was telling me that I had a virus and that I had to turn my computer on, I mean, it was on because I was video chatting with someone.
I was getting a bit miffed with having people trying to talk to me while I was on the phone and with this guy telling me that he was from Microsoft and that my computer had a virus. I asked him for the phone number where he was calling from, and he gave it to me. (213) 221-3528. I told him that I would call right back, but I was really going to Google the number so I could find out whether anyone else had gotten a call from that number before, but I didn’t find anything credible because it wasn’t on the caller ID so nobody else had complained about it. I remembered that he said he was calling from Microsoft Service Center, so I Googled that and got a toll-free number 1 (866) 587-1775 and called them.
I spoke with an Indian man who I explained what happened to me when we got a scam phone call from “Microsoft Support Center” and he told me that Microsoft will never call me. I agreed it sounded a bit suspicious, I figured he would tell me that there was nothing to worry about and that I should be fine, but instead he told me that they probably put a virus on my computer. He asked me to open the Internet Explorer browser and go to a specific website, which now I can’t remember and for some odd reason it isn’t in the history. He had me enter a code and run a program that will allow me to text chat with one of their operators named Deborah. The program window said “My Tech Guru’s” on the top.
The man I was speaking with told me to continue the conversation online with “Deborah” and hang up with him, I assume so he can take another phone call. She told me that she would use that program to take over my computer so she could find any viruses that I might have gotten from these people who had called me. I really don’t know how that would be possible considering I never click a pop up ad and I never read or click links in spam emails. The only thing I ever do is go on Facebook and Twitter, check my emails, and play video games. The only time I ever click a link is in Twitter and Facebook when I’m reading news articles or signing petitions. I don’t really see how I could get a virus.
I asked “Deborah” several times if this was going to cost me anything and she wouldn’t give me a direct response. She asked my permission to control my PC and I kept asking her if it was going to cost me anything and again, she skirted the issue. She told me that she had to find out what was going on first before she would respond. I think I asked her 2 or 3 times before she took over the computer.
She clicked Start and Run and typed something, but I can’t recall what it was. A window took forever to load and she ran it twice and the window she was waiting for finally came up twice. She looked around and then closed the windows. Then she clicked run again and typed cmd and opened the command window and typed a few things, then finally opened an events window which she scrolled through and found all these things that had errors like Bonjour and Chrome. I’m not sure what Bonjour is, but it’s always been on my computer. I know that the Chrome errors are probably from every time it crashes. I’m sure Bonjour is constantly crashing, but she told me that those were viruses. Yeah, Chrome is a virus… whatever.
She stopped poking around my computer and began talking to me about what she needs to do to fix my computer. She told me that it needs to be fixed today, like right this minute and I began asking her again, how much is this going to cost me? I think I asked 6 to 8 times before she finally told me that it was going to be $117 for a quick fix or $199 for a whole year. I told her that I had around or about $50 in the bank and that there was no way I could afford that. She tried getting me to change my mind for about 5 minutes and I explained to her that I had no money, so she gave me a better deal, $69.99. I told her no way, I have less than $50 in the bank. She asked me how much I could afford and I said $20, and even then I still can’t afford that, I have $50 in the bank. She lowered it down to $39.99. I said Deborah, we are in the middle of the month, that will leave me with $10 for groceries for the next couple of weeks. You can’t do this to me.
UGH! She tried getting me to pay her $40 but I kept telling her it was not easy to feed 2 people on $10 in 2 weeks and I told her maybe when I get more money, but I can’t promise anything. She was having trouble letting me go, but I had to tell her that I had to go. I revoked her permission and closed the window.
The phone call started at 6:38pm and then I called Microsoft Service Center at maybe 6:50pm and by the time I exited the chat with Deborah, it was probably 8:15pm. I had wasted so much of my time on this issue for nothing.
After I got off the chat with her, I was going to Google Microsoft Service Center, but then as I was typing, the auto thing dropped down to finish my sentence with Microsoft Service Center Scam. I clicked that and it showed me a list of things. One from Microsoft itself… Avoid Phone Scams is from the Microsoft website. They also have this Microsoft Safety Scanner which is FREE! Although, it’s probably not going to fix anything, but at least it might tell me what’s going on. I’ve been scanning my computer with that for the last 3 1/2 hours and it has found 6 infected files. It’s not even halfway done so I expect it’s going to run all night before I finally find out what’s going on and what my options are.
I was Googling for more information that I could use for this post and guess what I found out? I Googled that phone number that I called and found that THEY too are a scam, and I let them take control of my computer. 866-587-1775. Then I found them again on the Microsoft website. Well, so much for a search engine giving me credible information.
My suggestion is that if you get a phone call from someone saying they are Microsoft and telling you that you have a virus on your computer, hang up! Don’t call Microsoft Service Centers, just go directly to the Microsoft website and scan your computer. I’ve been using Avast Antivirus because I can’t afford to keep paying Norton every year for their updates, but now I see I’m gonna have to get another antivirus because this isn’t showing me the 6 viruses that the Microsoft Safety Scanner has found so far.
I hope this will all be fixed by tomorrow so I don’t have to worry about it anymore. We’ll see.
Update: I forgot to mention that “Deborah” told me to change my email and bank passwords. I did, and I also changed my Facebook password just in case.
Update: Last night when I wrote this, I said there were 6 issues. When I got up at the ass crack of dawn I noticed that it had finished scanning, but it wasn’t at the scanning screen anymore so I didn’t know how many issues were found. As far as I knew there were still only 6, and those were just on the C drive. I have 2 hard drives, my old 320GB hard drive which won’t work with my new motherboard as the main hard drive, so I use it as my backup drive. Then I have my new hard drive which is my main hard drive and is the E drive. The window said that there were 3 issues, 2 of them were on the C drive and they were a Scooby Doo theme which I haven’t used in more than a decade, and then the E drive showed 1 issue which I can’t even remember the name now, but it had the word fun in it so it must be evil right? LOL. I let the Microsoft Safety Scanner remove all affected files and then it rebooted. As far as I know there aren’t any issues, but I will keep that scanner around and do quick scans from time to time. I’m not really worried about it anymore.