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Friend and possible computer scam

(14 Posts)
pinkierose Fri 07-Apr-17 06:32:22


I'm worried about a situation involving a friend. Several months ago she was grumbling that she had paid Microsoft $500 (we're in NZ) to prevent her computer being hacked into. I was a bit "hmmm" about this so I asked her for a few more details. She said that the screen on her desktop computer had frozen and there was a message saying to ring a certain number - supposedly a Microsoft number. She did this and was told that someone living locally had hacked into her wifi and that if she paid a fee of $500 she would be transferred to a technician who would fix it for her. She did this. Yes, I know...

While trying not to make her defensive, I gently suggested that it could be a scam. She was VERY reluctant to believe this, but I persisted and I thought that I had at least convinced her to look into it further - to ring Microsoft (NZ) and ask about it and also to contact her bank. She was pretty upset and frightened at the thought that she may have been scammed.

She didn't mention it again (I thought perhaps out of embarrassment) and I didn't ask her about it, because she can get very defensive and a bit annoyed if you push her on things. I assumed though that I had got through to her about it being a scam and that even if she wasn't able to get her $500 back that at least she would have taken steps to protect herself.

Yesterday though she mentioned in conversation an early morning phone call she had had from a woman in England. She was laughing about it because she said the woman had been teasing her that she (my friend) hadn't asked for the security number as she was supposed to do. My friend said she told the woman that she didn't have to because "I recognise your voice".

I asked who she was and my friend said she is someone who rings her every two weeks to make sure her computer is safe and isn't being hacked into. I asked her if she had to pay for this "service" and she said no, the $500 she paid to stop her wifi being hacked into gives her "lifetime protection" and that she will continue to get these fortnightly calls! What the actual fuck?!!!!

Has anyone heard of anything like this? The follow-up calls, I mean. From googling, I can see that the original pop up was a scam, but what is the purpose of the regular phone calls to her? I really can't get my head around it. Is there any chance it could be genuine? I feel silly even asking that question!

I have spent hours googling for something I could show her that would convince her that this woman isn't genuine and there's something dubious behind the calls. I suffer from really bad depression and anxiety and I know that I will be met with a brick wall of resistance and disbelief (and possibly annoyance) if I try and tell her that she might be being scammed by her new "friend", which I really can't handle at the moment. On the other hand, I am very worried about her and can't in all conscience ignore this.

I can't get it off my mind and feel quite sick about the thought that she is being scammed in some way of which she is unaware. As far as I know, she hasn't noticed any suspicious withdrawals from her bank account. Any ideas about what these people are playing at?

StoorieHoose Fri 07-Apr-17 06:35:42

They will have installed keystroke software on her machine and will be logging her passwords for everything. Get her to take the PC into a reputable computer store to get them to save her personal data on it and wipe it and reinstall the OS. She will be lucky is she gets her original cash back but if she does nothing a lot more money could go out of her account!

pinkierose Fri 07-Apr-17 06:40:37

Thanks so much for your quick reply! Gosh that's frightening. I'll try and convince her to do that. She's very stubborn!

That's what I'm so worried about - future losses!

MongerTruffle Fri 07-Apr-17 07:01:57

Tell her to do what the PP said and also change all her passwords and get new debit/credit cards.

VivienneWestwoodsKnickers Fri 07-Apr-17 07:07:08

Massive scam. Very common.

HeyCat Fri 07-Apr-17 07:10:08

The woman keeps phoning because she's establishing a relationship, building up your friends trust in her gradually. That will make it easier for the scammers when they start saying "a hacker has got into your bank account, you need to give us your details and we'll sort it out" etc.

There's no way this is legitimate.

Could you put it to her that if it's legitimate, checking and protecting her details won't do any harm, but if it's a scam and she does nothing then she could lose everything? That way you can present it as playing it safe, rather than that she's done something stupid!

pinkierose Fri 07-Apr-17 20:22:32

Thanks everyone.

I copied the post from StoorieHoose immediately and sent it to her as a Facebook message. She read it last night (it's morning here now) but hasn't replied. I didn't ring her or go and see her (she's a near neighbour) because she gets irritable if she thinks you're "interfering". I found it really difficult trying to convince her that the pop up thing was a scam. I was sure that I had eventually got through to her, but it would seem not!

She's a very strong character. I can't believe she would fall for these (insert profanity of choice)! It makes me so angry!

Great post HeyCat. Thank you.

There's no way this is legitimate.
I needed to hear that. I thought not, but it just seems surreal that she is speaking to this woman regularly and is convinced she's genuine.

pinkierose Tue 11-Apr-17 03:48:46

Newspaper article about this scam:

Some quotes from it:

The alleged technicians told Jason he would need to pay a standard $US499 fee to complete the necessary repairs.

Jason said it was only after he had agreed to the additional $1498.99 "future proofing package" that he realised there was something "fishy".

"I was able to back out of the future proofing but was still duped into the $499 one-off fix," he said.

pinkierose Tue 11-Apr-17 05:06:33

"future proofing" my arse! FFS!

specialsubject Tue 11-Apr-17 11:56:46

She is the 0.01% which makes the crooks keep calling. If it was just stupidity, I'd say leave her to it. But as it is possibly mental illness, someone needs to protect her. Partner? Social worker.

She will lose every last cent to this crook and the bank will not help.

pinkierose Thu 13-Apr-17 05:21:33

Thanks specialsubject. I'm certain it's not mental illness. I've sent her a link to the newspaper article and I've also said to her (kindly) that the woman she has been speaking to is definitely a scammer and pleaded with her not to give her any more money. She won't engage with me about it at all, but I hope she has taken notice.

TupperwareTat Thu 13-Apr-17 05:26:49

Oh dear, definately a scam. She needs to stop answering these calls too.

Whowouldfardelsbear Thu 13-Apr-17 05:45:51

As you are in NZ contact the Department of Internal Affairs who help and deal with such scams. The correct number to contact will be on the DIA website.

pinkierose Fri 14-Apr-17 00:47:55

Thanks everyone flowers

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