A Travellerspoint blog

Just To Add Insult

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Things have been going pretty well until last Thursday 16 July 2015, I was taken in by a scam which indirectly cost me about $1500 and a lot of time. It started with a phone call from a smooth-talking 'technician' from "Windows Security". I hung up on him three times, convinced it was a scam. I'd had a few problems with the laptop over the past month and when he rang again I figured that it couldn't do any harm to go along with him a bit.

Within minutes he had me convinced that my Microsoft Software licence had been hijacked and was being used illegally on hundreds of computers world wide. By following his directions I was shown a log of events that illustrated his assertion. He continued to flood me with a lot of words implying there were grave consequences for failing to rectify this problem including no further updates from Microsoft thereby leaving my machine open to vulnerabilities.

Next came the promise to 'fix' the problem. He directed me to the 'run' command window and I typed in a few cryptic DOS commands after which he had remote control of my computer and left me a spectator as he proceeded to launch a series of tasks to "fix" my machine.

There was a short pause and he handed my call over to his "supervisor" who proceeded to launch a sales pitch for a remedial service that would protect my computer for the next two years. When he started talking costs of over $500 I realised I'd been had well and truly. I disconnected from the Internet and shut down the machine. On restarting the first and only thing to appear on the screen was the need for a password. They had simply set a startup password which I obviously didn't know. For all intents my machine was dead and all my data lost. There were two or three more calls from the scammers, intercepted by Jenny who politely told them that the police had been called in. Although I don't think her threat was taken seriously.

I sent out a 'mayday' call to my son-in-law for a recommendation on a replacement machine. We were due to be in Canberra for the Friday and Saturday so we arranged to buy a new laptop for $1500. Meanwhile he generously agreed to look at the corpse of my older laptop.

We returned home on Saturday afternoon and I have been very busy scouring my external drive for any hint of a back-up copy of software and data. Most of the essentials have been restored or rebuilt but there's a considerable gap that may never be filled. Meanwhile the son-in-law informs me that he's managed to retrieve the data from the corpse. No idea what to do with it and the computer, the data may be useful and the laptop, reinstalled, will no doubt find a loving home somewhere.

To some extent, the meltdown has been a breath of fresh air but it has come at an enormous cost of time when there is already lots to be done with regards to the move to Coral Park. On that front, settlement on our sale has finally occurred and the Coral Park Unit paid for. We still have two weeks 'squatting' in our old home, thankfully with permission of the new owner. While a variety of services are scheduled to be turned off this weekend we have some fallback options with invitations to spend time with a number of friends.

The final bit of bad news is that I have an existing medical condition that will cost a considerable premium to cover with insurance. Still, better to pay the insurance than to take the risk of a hefty medical bill in the USA if something were to befall me. 8-)

Will get back to the basic topic of the cruise tour soon.

If you want to look at what I've been up to you can view my latest photo by following this link to my main album

Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony

Posted by greynomadm 23:10 Archived in Australia

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