Scams are a dime a dozen these days. Phishing emails, like farming, virus infections - they're all ways crooks use to strong arm you for money. And, if you're not careful, they can wind up costing you thousands of dollars.
Just take it from Kathy, a recent victim of an internet scam. She learned the hard way just how easy it is for someone to gain access to your computer and run off with your cash. Our sponsor, IDrive, wanted to share just how easy it is to be taken by a scam so you'll take the necessary steps to protect yourself.
After her computer stopped working, Kathy decided to purchase a new one. That meant she needed to go through some basic setup steps to get things working how she wanted. Little did she know, she was about to encounter some problems.
"When looking online for help setting up my new computer, I found a website offering to help and it began to make a very loud alarm sound," Kathy explained. "There was a phone number listed for IT help so I called."
Contacting customer support may seem like the right thing to do when you need help, but that's what scammers are hoping for. "The technician asked permission to access my computer," Kathy recalled. "I had never had anyone work on my computer before but I wanted the alarm to stop, so I gave him permission and he stopped the loud alarm."
Unfortunately, that wasn't where this "helpful" technician stopped. "He said all my firewalls were turned off and that I had problems other than the help I was looking for. He was the expert so I trusted him. Everything was fine for a while, but he began to ask me to do some jobs for him, like send money grams, he would give me names and addresses for those and said I would be reimbursed."
It was then that Kathy started to notice things were fishy. "I did what he asked because I was afraid he would steal my personal information and I knew I'd given him access to my computer. Then he began to ask me to buy iTunes gift cards and send him the codes. I did that several times. After a few times, I was out of money and told him I wouldn't be giving him any more money."
Things would have been bad enough had that been where it ended, but the scammer had other plans in mind. Kathy explains: "I realized I was being scammed and told him I wanted to be reimbursed. He asked if he could wire me the reimbursement so I gave him my account information. He put the money in my account and then asked me for more money and when I said no, he took all the money out of my account except $400. I'm no longer able to use online services connected to my bank account. I lost a total of $4,000 in three months. Money that I will never see again."
As bad as Kathy's experience was, it could have been worse. Had the malware infection been a form of ransomware, she would have lost her money, as well as her new computer and even her documents.
That's why we highly recommend that you back up all your devices with IDrive. You never know when the unexpected will happen, and you'll lose access to all your files. In this way, Kathy was lucky. But we hope this story shows you just how easy it is to fall for the lies of a convincing scammer.
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