Seems like the scam artists also geared up their game on Cyber Monday. In the first two days of the week, I received two calls from people who sound just like those at the call centres in Asia where our calls for assistance with just about anything get directed. One was a man, the second a woman, both well spoken but with a much more aggressive approach than the generally very pleasant people at call centres who are still pleasant even when they can’t help you.
These two were both reading from the same script, they tried to tell me they were from an internet security company (they spoke too fast for me to catch the name) and that they were phoning to help me solve a windows operating system problem that they had discovered.
There have been cases in our area of people unfamiliar with computers getting conned into handing over control of their computers by these calls and then finding that their bank accounts have been accessed, or that they have been victims of identity theft.
Unfortunately, I answered both calls when I was away from my desk on a phone that does not have a window to display caller id. There was a delay between the call connecting and the caller starting to talk, almost as if an autodialling programme was being used.
The give away was the call being instantly terminated when I asked for their Microsoft extension number so that I could call them back.
I am sure that most people will not get caught by these scammers, but it is important that we warn children and older friends and relatives who may not be as familiar with computers, about them.
It may sound far fetched to think that people will fall for this trick, but when I think how many normally astute business people have been caught on variations of the Nigerian Bank Letter scam, it is not surprising that these scammers are finding enough victims to make their calls worthwhile. That old scam is still doing the rounds with Hong Kong and other variations thrown in and now of course emails replacing the original airmail letters.
The first one I got must have been 40 years ago, I still remember that most of the early ones were typed on typewriters with worn keys so that the centres of the letters “O, P, D, B and sometimes C were completely punched out and the traces of ink from exhausted ribbons very faint.
It is worth reminding our more susceptible relatives again about the injured or in-trouble-grandchild stranded in a far away city call or email, there are also variations on this theme, particularly when gmail accounts get hacked. The give away with these is that the grammar is definitely not typically North American – certainly not in the two that I have received supposedly from acquaintances that live in Canada.
Interestingly, both of those claimed to be from people who did not know me well enough to expect that I would transfer money to them at Heathrow Airport or anywhere else for that matter without checking.
Lets remember to watch out for our vulnerable family members and friends this holiday season and warn them so that they do not fall victim to the scammers and ruin their Christmasses.
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Wishing you success in all your endeavours.
Typewriter art from dreamstime
Grahic from artvex.com