I’m tired. Not the ‘I did so much stuff’ kind of tired though. Wish it was. It’s more like the ‘I’m emotionally drained’ kind of tired.
Lately, my computer has been getting tons of popups. The kind where you see some creepy guys face on your screen and it says you can check to see if child molesters are in your neighborhood. No thanks. I’ll remain blissfully ignorant.
So when I got a message from (supposedly) Microsoft telling me my computer was at risk I called the number indicated. BIG MISTAKE! I ended up sharing my screen with the ‘tech’ from PC Guard and he had me convinced if I didn’t buy his support plan my thighs would turn to jello. I told him that shipped has already sailed and he’d have to do better than that and I ended the call, but not before coming dangerously close to giving him my credit card and buying the plan.
But I still had the popup issue, so I called a Microsoft number and to make an unbearingly long story as short as possible, gave the techs from Protech my credit card and they did a two hour scan. Everything seemed legit. They gave me a customer number, two phone numbers to call in case there were any problems, and they called me during the scan to ask pertinent questions. They also sent me two emails. One to confirm the credit card purchase and the other I’m not sure what it was because I never opened it. The next day when I wanted to open it, I couldn’t find it, nor could I find the other one. They weren’t on my ipad or my desktop. How strange is that?
So I called one of the numbers they had given me and got a machine. Starting to get worried, I called yet another number that I had Googled and this time I got someone who told me the other guys (Protech) weren’t legit and that I should call my credit card company and do a charge back and that they would fix things. When I did a screen share with them I noticed it was the same company from the first call (PCGuard) and in fact they were the ones who were scam artists! I knew this because I had done a Google search and there was more than enough information out there about them pointing in that direction. I hung up pronto.
I finally was able to get through to Protech but I was not able to stay on the phone long enough to get the email issue resolved. This happened to be at 3 a.m. Saturday morning, and I didn’t fall asleep until 4 and woke up at 7. Besides, I was still a bit jaded about this whole experience and was not trusting them 100%. We left for Massachusetts and recently just got back. I did a search on them and I’m happy to say they seem to be legit. Whew! But I still don’t know what happened to those emails!
Edited to add: I called Microsoft and found out Protech is also a scam. I spent 2.5 hours on the phone with Microsoft while they removed monitoring software that Protech installed.
It wasn’t so much the money that concerned me. I know I could do a charge back no problem. It’s the vulnerability I felt (and still do) from having given someone access to my files. I’ve also since learned there are other ways to get popups resolved that are safer and free and as I’m writing this on my iPad I’m running a full scan on my desktop because I’m STILL getting those annoying popups!
The scam guys are good. Really good. They will do and say anything to make you believe they’re really Microsoft employees, and they have their gig down to a science.
So this weekend I zoned out and instead of working on any projects, I was super lazy and did nothing more than kayak on the lake, take naps, watch tv and surf the internet. The stress from all of this really took its toll, and it’s not 100% over yet.
If you have had any experiences like this and have gained some knowledge along the way that might help me or anyone else, do share.