Taking Stock

How to Manage Being Royally Scammed

First and foremost, when you’re cruising through maybe Facebook (likely on a family member’s site) and you innocently click on a picture of something unexpected and all of a sudden the screen flashes red! red! red! and a woman’s voice booms, “Hacked! Hacked! Virus! Danger! Alert! Call Apple at once for technical support! Call 1-888-629-3821immediately for help!” DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES MAKE THAT CALL!

Secondly, should you call and connect with “Apple’s technical support” and the person (likely a sympathetic young woman) says, “This virus has infected all your Apple products–which do you use the most?” DO NOT TELL HER IT’S YOUR IPHONE.

When the sympathetic “Apple technician” instructs you to open your iPhone and go to the App store then download a particular app, DO NOT DOWNLOAD THAT APP!

Thirdly, once you’re in that invasive app (which gains access to everything on your machine) and the sympathetic young woman guiding you tells you to “Choose ‘broadcast,’” you do it and then when she says, “Your line keeps breaking up, you need to go back and download it again…” DO NOT DOWNLOAD THAT APP AGAIN!

Fourthly, when after what seems an hour (maybe it is, maybe it just seems that long and deadly) and the sympathetic young woman says, “I must hand you on to my colleague in technical support–” When you think to ask, “Where are you located anyway?” and the woman says, “Cupertino,” (as though that’s the silliest of questions, where else would an Apple technician be?) and her colleague comes on, “Hello, this is Jacob,” DO NOT SAY, “Oh, I have a grandson named Jacob…”

After another quarter-hour of doing who knows what Jacob tells you to do, when he says he has to call you back and you ring off, at which point when your beloved partner enters the room and you collapse in a heap and tell him/her what’s happened, try to sound as unruffled as possible so as not to ruffle the feathers of your beloved…

For supper, pour yourself a generous glass of wine, watch the news, empty your head of worry, heat up last night’s vegetable soup (fortunately your beloved loves your vegetable soup, so easy at the end of a nasty day), go to bed early because tomorrow’s going to be another doozer.

Day 2–or maybe if you’re able before bedtime on Day 1–change the Username and Password on your online banking account(s). Write the new name and password on a sticky and attach it to the front of your computer.

When as promised, “Jacob” calls back, perhaps because he’s on overload with so many scams to monitor, poor guy muffs it saying, “Hello, this is Jason, your technician from Windows,” hang up without a word. It would be funny if it wasn’t funny.

When another “Apple technician” calls, same thing. No more Ms/Mr Nice Guy.

But quickly check to be sure there’ve been no purchases on your banking or credit card account(s). If there have, of course, report them at once as fraudulent.

Now off you go to your bank to ask to speak to a banker…say it’s urgent. Tell him/her you have “Compromised Accounts,” he/she will freeze the accounts and change the accounts’ numbers (thereby opening fresh accounts–but mercifully all necessary connections such as automatic payments remain intact). Will also help you order new checks.

Returned home, make a peanut butter sandwich with your fave bread, sit down with a fresh cup of coffee or tea and call a son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter/ niece/nephew/friend you know is a techie, someone who will help you defang your phone/laptop/pad, whatever machine you compromised in your basketcaseness…

When said blessed person has guided your jumping through all the hoops and told you which excess or suspect extensions to delete, ask which is his/her favorite beer or wine or candy and arrange to send as a thank-you gift.

Afterward, go through your apps again and open up and check any financial ones remaining… Apple Pay for example might surprisingly list an address for the scammers on the line “Where to deliver packages.” Whoops! (Partner may want you to send this address to the FBI…good idea when you’ve got your groove back.)

Day 3–hang up on more calls. If you look up the numbers they called from (registered on your phone) there’ll be no name attached…interesting (awful) the scammers call from all over the country. From the sophistication of that initial break-in, it’s clear these people have quite an operation.

Time to take your phone/laptop/pad to the nearest Apple/Windows store and have a technician check it for anything at all that shouldn’t be there.

Reasonable answer from the tech at the Apple store to Why do they keep calling? “Because they want your money, and they’re hoping you’re frightened enough by all this to buy their program that will prevent more hacking scamming.” Ah so…

Which brings up a very sore point: if you had one or two of the subscribed-to “Protection” programs installed on your computer and it was / they were dozing when the horrid clever giants invaded so spectacularly, DO NOT BE GULLED INTO DOWNLOADING ANOTHER PROTECTION PROGRAM…

And bear in mind a useful piece of information from the techie at the Apple store: all our brilliant machines need a rest once a week or so, want to be turned off for a minute then given the chance to reboot. Maybe make a note to do it on Sundays, just after you water the African violets in the kitchen…

Also on Day 3 on your way home from the technical store, do something for yourself: get a pedicure and/or a haircut. Make yourself feel beautiful (replacing gullible and stupid).

Then for supper, if you’re able, time for another reward. Into the garden to free a marvelous stout zucchini from the plant–maybe the seed came from Italy! Slice it in thinnish coins and saut√© in avocado oil with minced garlic…meanwhile boiling up fettuccine for you and Partner. Add the pasta al dente to the zucchini skillet with a good swirl of cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil and a handful of chopped sweet basil or rosemary…have ready freshly grated pecorino (like me, you may prefer the sheep’s milk cheese to cow’s parmesan). Serve with a tossed salad (a few bitter leaves added to tender sweet?) and a luscious glass of red wine…from Kermit Lynch we’ve discovered a Malbec from Cahors–Clos la Coutale, complex, delectable, affordable.

After supper, time to relax and watch a movie. Do treat yourself to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers–and Randolph Scott and adorable Harriet Hilliard (later in “Ozzie and Harriet”), pert young Lucille Ball and Betty Grable–in 1936’s Follow the Fleet. Fred sings to Ginger Irving Berlin’s, “Let’s face the music and dance…” Perfect perfect perfect.

Day 4. Start to unwind. You–like me–are sadder but wiser.

It’s just that it was so swift. Came so forcefully and convincingly.

Anyway, lessons learned. Never will be scammed again.

I don’t think.

8 Comments. Leave new

  • Indeed! You learned your lesson well. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  • bea ammidown
    July 20, 2023 9:55 pm

    thanks sooooo love you…

    Reply
  • OK.
    1. Next time that happens, and it will, Force Quit Safari, Hold the Shift Key down and relaunch Safari — done.
    2. Save your money, do NOT d/l cleaner, keeper, blah blah blah.
    3. Do download and install Malwarebytes, free edition, that will find any Malware that might have snuck in while you weren’t looking.
    4. Remember, Macs do not get viruses.

    Reply
  • Wow! That was an adventure. I hope all is resolved. I think (unless someone has a good reason not to) that I would offer up a very loud F-U before hanging up and pouring myself some more wine. Sadly, you can assume it will happen again. When I get hit, I just shut everything down immediately and then contact someone who knows more than I do (not hard to find, sadly–everybody knows more than I do) and let them help me. They are preying on the fact that we know bad things can happen and that we don’t know how to respond. Anyway, good job on thorough follow-up. I likely would have had a nervous breakdown.

    Reply
    • You silly girl, not in the least bit true that “everybody knows more than I do.” You are the Heart and Soul of Knowing What Matters.
      Thank you as ever for your lovely support…

      Reply

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