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true confession - I was scammed
Life in General,  Technology

True Confession – I was Scammed

I’m so embarrassed about this, I almost hesitate to write about it.  But if sharing this saves just one person from the same mistakes I’ve made, then it’s worth my shame.  I let myself be scammed.

How it started

I was working on my laptop one late afternoon when a screen popped up and this terrible noise started.  The popup said I had an issue and I needed to call this company to get it fixed.  I think it was the noise that unnerved me and made me make the call.  I was in a hurry and this distraction was really messing me up.  I was trying to finish something before Tim and I went out to dinner.  Suffice it to say, we never made it to dinner.

I spoke to someone that tried to tell me he was a certified Microsoft technician and therefore, the only one who could fix my problem.  He told me I had “bad” files that needed to be removed.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know how these files were supposed to work, so I had to take his word for it.

Then I made the biggest mistake.  I let him access my computer remotely.  Yes, I knew better.  How many years did I work for a company that stressed cybersecurity???  I have no valid excuse.  I simply wanted the “problem” gone.

I was able to watch what he was doing on my computer.  It appeared he did nothing, which is probably true.  That’s the OK part.  The scam comes when they want to charge you for it.  I ended up spending around $250 to have this “fixed”.  I honestly don’t think he did anything malicious to my computer; I think the scam is convincing you he did something so he can charge you.  I seriously considered disputing the charge but I did call them and they supposedly did something.

I chalked this up to experience and assumed that was the end.  Boy, was I wrong about that.

Offering me a refund

A few months later, maybe six or so, I got a call (or email, I can’t remember which) offering me a partial refund.  I can’t remember why they were offering this.  Me being one to jump at the chance to recover money I felt I threw away, fell for it.  This is when they say you have to be at your computer to submit a form to request the refund.  It seemed very strange.  Why would I need to do that?  Can’t you just send me the form?

So, stupid me, I installed software that allowed this.  Even more stupid, they required that it be sent to my bank account.  She emphasized that they would not be accessing the account directly; I just had to provide some information so she could EFT the money to my account.

I fell for it and let her do this.  So, here’s where they try to get you.  They put too much into my account and claimed it was a big mistake and I needed to send them a check for the overage.  Yea, right.  I can’t remember why, but I had to terminate the call before it was resolved and that money was still in my account.  She said she’d call back in an hour.  In the meantime, I checked my bank account.  I could see the money they put in, but I also saw that they’d taken it back out.  Sneaky.

They were very persistent and she called me back as promised, still saying I needed to send them a check for the extra.  I said, “Why?  You’ve already taken the money out of my account.”  She hung up.  I monitored our bank account for days afterward and nothing has ever happened.

After the first refund related call, I was worried about them continuing to access my laptop while I was away from it, so I shut it down.  Unfortunately, something they’d done made it so I was unable to open Windows without a password.  I ended up taking my laptop to our local computer shop and luckily, the technician was able to guess the password that allowed us to get in (it was 12345).  I also had him do a thorough checkup and delete anything on there that they’d added.  I hated to have to admit to him what I’d done, but I don’t think I was the first one he’d seen.

If you live in this area and ever need help with your desktop or laptop, go to Little Dog Tech.  I’m going to get a new laptop soon and I plan to take it to them to transfer everything and make sure it’s set up correctly.  I trust them.

There’s more

Wednesday, I got an email from this company – Global Tech Solution – that stated I was up for auto-renewal of my “contract” and if I didn’t call them to cancel, they’d charge me $800.  If you try to find this company, you’ll mostly see Global Tech Solutions, which I’m positive is NOT them.  And I’ve found some information on the internet about this scam.

But I felt I couldn’t completely ignore the email, so I called.  These calls are always so frustrating.  First, they must be in a room with several others because there’s always so much background noise, not to mention a delay.  Second, it’s always someone that’s hard to understand anyway.  Third, no matter what you say, they keep repeating the same thing over and over.  And talk without letting you get a word in.

Here we go again – I need to be at my computer to access the form that allows me to cancel my “contract”.  They can’t send it through email.  I said that’s crazy.  No one requires you to cancel a service this way.  He tried to tell me he needed my IP address in order to cancel it.  I finally asked him, what is it you’re actually providing me anyway?  He rattled off some stuff about Microsoft and Windows, trying to sound technical.  I wasn’t buying it.  I’m getting nothing from them.

After about 15 minutes of this back and forth, I finally said, “I’m not installing anything on my computer again.  If you try to charge me anything, I will dispute it with my credit card company.”  We hung up.

I will obviously monitor all my accounts every day now, but I have a feeling the real motive here was getting access to my computer so they could create more problems for me.  I’m speculating I won’t be charged anything.  But I could be wrong, so I will check.

I wish I’d found this article before today.  This is practically word for word what I experienced.  If I do find anything has been charged to any of my accounts, you can bet I will be contacting the FTC (Federal Trade Commission).  In fact, I may contact them anyway.  I’m just glad I finally listened to my head and didn’t fall for this yet again.

If this ever happens to you and the company claims to be Global Tech Solution, hang up.  Don’t even talk to them.  Each time this happens to me, I think it’s the last time.  I’m sure they think they found a sucker and they’re going to continue to try different approaches.  I’m sure you’re all smarter than I am.

It’s so stupid.  I knew all along while I was opening up access to my computer that it was wrong.  I’m smarter than that.  So what made me go along with it?  I honestly don’t know.  I do know I’m gullible and far too trusting.  I guess that’s what they plan for.

4 Comments

  • Linda Throckmorton

    Linda, thank-you for sharing your experience so others could learn from it. I’m sure most of us have had a few moments in our life like that when we wish we could have a “do-over”! I know I have a lot! This happened because you were trying to do the right thing and bad people take advantage of that. Thanks again for having the courage to share.

    • retired introvert

      Thanks for understanding. I feel like a complete idiot that I allowed them to scam me, not just once, but twice. I’m just lucky it hasn’t cost me more than it has. I do hope sharing this means someone else won’t let it happen to them.

  • Nickie Lukehart

    OMG, In February Kirk fell for a scam like that. His refund was $499.99. They put $9,499.99 in his account. (And took it back out. )They talked him into buying $9.000.00 in gift cards for the reimbursement.
    We managed to recover all but $2,000.00.
    Crazy. I won’t go into all the names I called him.

    • retired introvert

      That is exactly the situation with my refund experience. However, I didn’t lose anything as a result of it. Why do intelligent people fall for these things? Well, maybe I shouldn’t put myself in the intelligent category after this. 🤨

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