Microsoft Support Center Scam

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.

New Video Card

In 2006 or 2007, now I’m not quite sure when, I got money for helping Darrin and his brother refurbish a house that was left to them by their mother when she past away.  I did a lot of work and didn’t get paid until the house sold.  I believe I got $2000.

When you get $2000 and you have an old computer what do you think you do with that money?  You buy a new computer!  Well, since I build computers I didn’t buy a computer, I bought all of the guts to build a new one.

Well, first I bought the hard drive from Tiger Direct but then when I went to turn my computer on nothing happened.  I think the mother board was too old for that hard drive.  The computer I was trying to install the new hard drive to was one that I built in 2004.  So I figured it was only a few years old, it should work.  But it didn’t because technology had already surpassed that computer.

So, I was forced to buy all new stuff so I just put the old hard drive back in there and gave it to Darrin.  I bought myself a new case, motherboard, cpu (w/heatsink), dvd burner and video card.  New computer!

A week ago we went to San Diego to visit Chips brother for his 50th anniversary party.  My computer did an update (which I could only assume was a Windows update) and suddenly I’m getting these strange blue screens (of death aka BSOD).  I didn’t worry about it because I didn’t want to stress on anything while we were gone so I put it in the back of my mind.  When we came home I was having the same problems.

Someone told me that I might have gotten a virus but I’m not convinced that is true.  I don’t visit websites on my desktop, I only visit websites on my Chromebook, I use the desktop for my Microsoft Money program and playing Lord of the Rings Online.  So there is no way I could have gotten a virus from visiting websites because it never happens.  I don’t even read emails on that computer.  My desktop is strictly for video games and Microsoft money, that’s it.

I got a couple of BSOD and accidentally allowed Microsoft to report the issue.  I have a jerk reaction to click no but for some odd reason I clicked yes.  When the report was sent a browser window popped up explaining to me that the issue was with my video card software or hardware.  Then suddenly another BSOD.

After that last blue screen I was done with being in regular mode so I went into safe mode.  I figure if I could download the driver update I might be ok.  How wrong I was.  I downloaded and installed the update and my monitor didn’t come on.  I plugged my monitor into the chromebook and everything I look at on the chromebook showed up on my monitor.  Ok so it’s not the monitor.  I plugged it back into the desktop and it turned on.  BSOD.  I turned it on again and the monitor wouldn’t even turn on.

So that is where I am at now.  I haven’t had a desktop in a week and I’m starting to go through LOTRO withdrawals lol.

This is my current configuration.  Well, I can’t turn it on so I can’t tell you the full details now can I?  This I do know.  I have:

  • MSI K9N4 Ultra motherboard – AM2, Nforce4 Ultra, 2*DDR2, Gb Lan, 5.1ch Audio, 1.
  • Gigabyte Tech GeForce 7600 GS 512MB DDR2 PCIexpress video card (I dug the boxes out of my closet)
  • Windows XP
  • I’m not sure about my CPU but I think it’s an AMD Sempron, don’t know the speed.
  • 1GB DDR2 memory

So this is what I’m looking for.  Any brand video card with 1GB DDR2 memory, PCIe.  I’m looking at Tiger Direct again for this new card and this is the one I have chosen.

Visiontek Radeon HD 4650 Video Card – 1GB DDR2, PCI Express 2.0, CrossFireX, (2) Dual-Link DVI, S-Video (Refurbished) – it’s $36.99 which is what I can afford.  My other video card was over $100 in 2007 and I just can’t afford to spend that kind of money right now.  I’m going to be paying for shipping which means I really can’t afford to spend any more on it.  So… is it a good one?  I won’t have the money to buy it until August so hopefully it will be on sale by then and they will hopefully still be in stock lol.

I think it’s a good video card but I’m no expert so I would love some feedback.  I’m choosing 1GB because I play Lord of the Rings Online and sometimes I get a lot of lag and I’m hoping that more memory will help that but you tell me, will it?  I would love some feedback on this.

So… until August lol.  By the way, I am not hung up on Tiger Direct so much that I want to wait 7 to 21 days for it to ship to me.  If I have to go to the computer store and pay a few extra $’s then I will.  As long as it’s not over $50 that is.

Nook Replacement

I picked up my Nook on July 1st to load up a new e-book to read and was a bit confused when I noticed what looked like a little bug icon on the screen.  When I turned it on it started doing a system update so I thought that maybe that wasn’t a bug but an asterisk (*) but when the update completed, the symbol was still there.  Then I thought, maybe I have a virus and for some odd reason its showing me a bug icon (LOL).  I haven’t been online with it besides going to the Nook store.  How could I get a virus?

I looked at it in the light and turn it so I can see the screen and I see a little dot on the outside.  What I think happened is that something fell on the screen and that little black bug like image is e-ink from the tiny crack in the screen.  I don’t remember anything falling on it.  I usually have it sitting upright and not laying down on the desk so I don’t know when that happened.  I did have it laying down a few times but it’s not always laying down.

So I called Barnes & Noble and they have me do some troubleshooting.  She has me turn it off then hold the button for 20 seconds 6 times (twice).  Nothing happens because it’s not a software error, it’s a crack on the screen.  I told her that and I guess they have to troubleshoot just to make sure.

Thank goodness I have a warranty to cover this because if I didn’t I’d be stuck with this forever.  She told me that since it is covered on my warranty I’ll get a replacement and it will only take 3 days to get to me.  But before they send a replacement to me they have to take my credit card number so that if they don’t get my Nook within 14 days they can charge my credit card for the replacement.

That was July 1st which was a Friday.  They didn’t actually ship the Nook until July 5th and I’m supposed to get it today, July 8th.  So there is 1 week, I have 1 more week to get my Nook to them.

I had to unregister my Nook and remove everything I put on it like screen saver and wallpaper images and ebooks.  While I was at it I deleted my contacts (which I never did anything with) and all of my shelves.  It’s all ready to go.  It’s basically all in the box waiting to go out.

My replacement Nook finally arrived today and it wasn’t a refurbished one, it’s brand spanking new.  Wow, that was surprising.  I thought for sure it would have a few scratches on the case or there would be some blemish but it’s shiny and new.  It even smells like it just came off the production line.

I waited until now to call UPS to pick it up because I was under the impression that UPS was going to be delivering it.  They sent me a UPS tracking number to track it and it said it was in Bakersfield yesterday.  I figured, I could open the box, take the Nook out and replace it with my Nook, tape the label on it and give it back to the UPS driver to ship out.  But instead, UPS handed it over to the post office to deliver to me today.  So, that went out the window.  I had to call UPS today and they charged me $8.16 on my debit card to pick up despite the UPS label that Barnes & Noble emailed me to print with its own tracking number.  I thought for sure they were paying for the shipping.  Oh well.

I scheduled the pick up with UPS and they are going to come get it on Monday.  The cut off date is Thursday, that will be my 14th day so if they don’t get it by Thursday then I may see a charge on my checking account.  But I’m sure once they get it, they will remove the charge so I’m not worried in the least.

I am very satisfied with my Nook and with the way they handled my situation.  I highly recommend anyone interested in buying an eBook to get theirs from Barnes & Noble.  It doesn’t matter which Nook you buy, know that if anything happens, even the slightest problem, if you have bought a warranty with them you will get a new Nook.

So now I get the fun task of hooking this new Nook up to my computer with the USB cable so I can put my books back in there and my screen saver to match my skin.  Fun times…

PSP

I’ve been really thinking about it for the last month and I really want a Sony PlayStation Portable aka PSP. I’ve been looking at all these websites trying to find a good price and where is the best place to buy one, online or at the store. Well because Christmas is this month all the stores are out of them.

Last night and this morning I saw the Wal-Mart in Bakersfield (2 of them) had them still but then all of a sudden they sold out. But they still had some at their website and so I decided to just get one.

I know I could have waited or you know, I don’t really NEED one but I want one. I didn’t want to buy a used one because I’m too afraid it might have a virus so I chose to buy a new one.

It’s the one with Daxter and the Family Guy freakin’ sweet collection and also it has 1GB of memory. I wanted the Star Wars one but that didn’t have a memory stick or a movie. Just the Star Wars game plus Darth Vader silk screened onto the back which I can almost guarantee will rub off.

So I bought it and it should be here next week between Monday and Wednesday.

Safe Holidays

I just wanted to wish everyone very safe holidays. There isn’t really much going on here. I’m knitting stockings for Christmas and I want to make some ornaments for the tree which by the way we haven’t decorated yet hehe. I put it up but it hasn’t been decorated.

I want to buy a PSP for myself because I deserve a treat, however, I can’t find one anywhere, not even on the internet. I don’t want a used one because my neighbor told me his has a virus, yes a virus. They can go to websites and you can catch a virus from a website so if you go to a website with a PSP you can get a virus and I’m sure used ones are at risk. I have a 50/50 chance of buying an infected PSP so I just feel I might as well buy a new one.

The Core ones which are $165 or something. The ones that come with a game are $199. I could buy a Nintendo DS but those don’t go to websites nor do they play movies or let you view your photos or work as a mp3 player. I also saw a PSP with GPS capabilities, I assume you can buy the GPS for any PSP. I will have to wait until after the holidays to try to buy one. I’m sure they will be on sale after Christmas and/or New Years Day.