Recently I noticed my elderly father had gone downhill, was very quiet and was looking a bit depressed.
When I asked him, he told me that he was on a website he ‘probably shouldn’t have been’ on when the screen started to flash “YOUR COMPUTER HAS BEEN INFECTED WITH A VIRUS — DO NOT SHUT DOWN AS YOU WILL DAMAGE YOUR COMPUTER PERMANENTLY”.
He was directed to ring an overseas number to remove the virus. When he rang, they sounded professional and said they could certainly help him. He gave them remote access to his computer and requested his credit card. They charged him around $800 for the ‘virus removal’ and a further $1,200 for ‘repairs’.
Naturally he was distressed. The next day on reflection he decided to cancel his credit card. For a couple of days thereafter he was suffering from guilt and worry about any further money he might lose. Luckily, Commbank were great — they got the bogus charges refunded and gave him a new credit card. We also got his computer checked over. I always feel sorry for the oldies that don’t have someone to protect them.
I wonder what website he was on that he ‘probably shouldn’t have been?’
Though on second thoughts, I reckon he was looking at birds … but maybe not magpies.
I included this question because of the sheer number of people who wrote to me who’d been caught out on similar websites. (Another version of this scam happens via email, where you’re instructed to deposit a substantial amount of money to a bitcoin account within 35 days or they would release video of you watching porn, to your entire contacts list).
This scam exploits the emotion of shame and humiliation.
The scammers hope you’ll pay the money, and never speak about it again, which I assume some people do.
After all, can you imagine how embarrassing it would be to tell your daughter you’re a Collingwood supporter?