Hook, Line, and Sinker


Here’s the thing, I’m an idiot, apparently. Okay, my bank person said I’m being too hard on myself but still, it happened. I fell for it. And I paid the price. Here’s what happened: On Saturday I was preparing to teach my monthly writer’s class in my home. I was going over notes, rereading manuscripts, tweaking some comments, vacuuming, dusting, taking out the garbage, cleaning the litter box, putting clothes in the dryer etc. etc. when a very authentic, true to Apple’s slick graphic look, warning popped up on my laptop informing me that my computer had been hacked and a terrible virus is running rampant through her little brain. At first I clicked out of it thinking, “that’s weird.” I didn’t even know I had a virus protection program on my system—a computer condom I suppose. But then it happened again. I click out. It happened again and I was twenty minutes away from my students arriving. I clicked out and restarted the computer. This time, not only did the little virus warning boxes pop up but there was also a disgusting porn page staring at me. I panicked and felt rattled.

All I could think was that maybe I really did have a virus. It never happened before. MAC has been stellar at dealing with this. But then I thought, maybe the virus program came pre-installed on my MAC and I’ve never needed it before. It didn’t ask for my administrator password which seemed even more official. So, and this is the IDIOT part, I went ahead and gave the program permission to “clean” my computer. But first I had to purchase the virus programs. It looked so Apple official. So I signed up, gave my credit card info and BAM! I had been scammed. The RATS. But I had a class to teach. So I tried not to think about it

Four hours later all I could think about was the $59.95 I had just spent. Not a huge amount of money but with cataclysmic consequences. I felt sick to my stomach. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t know what t do. How could I be sure? It was just a feeling. My computer was running well. No more pop-ups. No more porn.

Then I went out—errands and such, still feeling sick, worried and like my whole financial life was about to drown. Not that I have much money. Saturday night was awful. I couldn’t sleep. So Sunday morning I got on the computer and investigated this MACDEFENDER program and sure enough. IT’S A FRAUD. A SCAM. There was info all over the internet about it. Reports of people falling victim in the same way.

The result of all this: I had to cancel my card, lockout my checking and savings accounts and file a fraud report. Then wait until 11:00 when my bank opened (it was Sunday). I went to church first. Then the bank. The woman who helped me was so sweet and gentle. She changed all my accounts, had me sign the fraud claim and gave me a new debit card. Fortunately no more money was siphoned from my accounts. But it wasn’t over yet. Next I had to get the virus off my computer. Apple had a very easy solution which I followed—about six steps including resetting my browser which knocked out all my bookmarks, and other vital info which will need to be re-filled over the coming days. It was a harrowing experience but I weathered it. My bucks are safe but I have to tell you I’m a little nervous about using my card online anymore. Is there such a thing as post-traumatic scam disorder?

1 comment:

Pam Halter said...

That had to be terrifying!!! You are not an idiot. I would have probaby done the same thing. I'm so glad your accounts weren't emptied out.