The following was first published on Facebook and is reprinted here with permission. -SPN
I fell victim to a scammer yesterday.
Really, I should have known better, but I’m old and tired, and my variable eyesight affects my attention.
Got one—and more—of those warning screens on my computer about my computer being locked because my passwords (etc.) were stolen. I’m on a PC, running Windows 10.
Tried and tried to shut my computer down, FORGETTING the obvious – pull the plug! Got nowhere. Did a full scan with Windows Defender, which found nothing. An omission error for me – no ad-blocking, and no Malwarebytes.
I did what I KNEW I should not have done, and phoned the number on my screen.
Ended up paying nearly $200 Canadian—which I couldn’t afford, and then watched the guy (yes, accent of India, in case you wondered) making a great show—really, it was a very good show—of “finding malware” on my machine. Had a fight with my bank to pay the guy. GOOD WORK, BANK!
My musical cohort, Diana, asked me this morning—no, yesterday morning—if I’d been scammed. I said, yes, I had been.
I couldn’t leave it at that; though I went to bed, I lay there thinking, and shortly, got up again, and went to work. After an initial fumble with the idea of restoring from a backup, I realized that wasn’t quite the right approach. I had to get RID of the scammer’s stuff, showing in my task bar.
So, I did a System Restore, to the morning before the scammer hit me. Thanks, Windows 10, for doing automatic saves of the system information, because the most recent was late enough to include my last Windows update from this past Tuesday.
The other things I had to do were, change crucial passwords, so I did that; changed my Windows password, and changed my information for online banking (with phone help). Changed a few other passwords as well. Installed Malwarebytes; it found a few nasties, and I quarantined those.
My next job is to report to the local RCMP. I doubt I can get my money back – very expensive lesson. But at least, I won’t have further attacks of that kind, or, if I do, if need be, I’ll pull the plug.
Now I’ll be starting a new backup. Will delete the bad one I did after the scammer hit!
And then, to bed. Whew.