Weekly Thoughts 07 June 2013

The first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone – George Roberts.

I usually wouldn’t write about this sort of thing, because it doesn’t fit anywhere into the ambit of advice or thoughts from me. But seeing as I learnt this week of a client in Johannesburg who experienced the very same thing by the very same scam artists, I thought it may be good to write about in case I can help someone else avoid the stress and possible costs of the experience.

Two weeks ago some man calls our house on the land line and tells my wife, who answered the phone, that he is from a windows support company and that there is a problem on our computer (this is our computer at home) and they need to help us sort it out. He asks for the computer ID number, or whatever it was, to be able to get onto the computer and help us fix it. He is supplied this after explaining how to find it. He gets onto our computer and begins to show my wife all the problems we have. She is now watching him work on our machine. My son phones me on my cell phone and calls me home. When I get there I take over the phone and begin to talk to this person, all the while being able to see activity on our computer screen. He shows me what is wrong (stuff he is showing me from his side, not really problems on our machine – so my IT guy later teaches me) and tells me he can fix it forever for a fee of R2500. But he doesn’t factor in that I am going to be far more difficult to talk to than my wife was. I begin to ask questions he doesn’t answer well enough. I ask him, “Are we finished now because I’m doing nothing with you?” In the meantime I am sms-ing my IT guy who immediately calls me back and tells me to get off and close my computer down. And so I do.

The point is, if you also get such a call with an attempt to do this, put the phone down. Apparently they are going around. How they get our phone numbers I don’t know. Don’t let someone onto your computer. My IT guy checked the computer and it was fine. But it wasn’t a nice experience and my client didn’t enjoy it either. It cost me an hour of my computer guy’s time, but that was better than R2500. And the inconvenience.