A friend related this story to me and wanted all to learn from his mistake.
The voice on the other end of the phone said, “Our company monitors web traffic and we’ve detected a virus on your computer along with a lot of malware. We can remove it for free right now if you like. “
I certainly didn’t want a virus on my computer.
“Great,” I said as I granted them access. After half an hour, they said they would need to finish the job tomorrow but not to worry.
The next morning I received another phone call.
“We have a problem.” The voice said. “We need you to drive down to Walmart and buy three one hundred dollar app cards. We will reimburse you once the job is done.”
Strange I thought. But I agreed and later give them the codes from the cards. After all, I would be reimbursed. Direct deposit in to my checking account since I had given them my account number.
An hour later I got another call.
“I’m sorry, but we need one more $100 card.”
Another trip to Walmart. Surely my computer would be virus free soon.
Two hours later I received yet another phone call.
“I’m sorry, sir, but we made a mistake. We accidentally added a zero on to the deposit to your checking account. We put in four thousand dollars, not four hundred. We need you to refund us $3600. You can wire the money to us from the Miracle Mart. It’s right down the street from where you live.”
Finally the red flags started going off. “Where will this money be going?”
More alarm bells. I got a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I politely agreed to pay them just to get off the phone. Then I drove to my bank.
The teller actually confirmed a four thousand dollar deposit in to my checking account. My relief was short lived however.
“Oh, I see what happened”, said the teller. “The money was transferred over from your savings account.“
I immediately closed the accounts and opened a new one.
When I got back home I got another phone call. The voice asked if I had wired the money. After I said no, it said if I was worried about making a payment to China I could make two $1800 payments here in the USA.
When I told them I had no intention of paying them anything, things took a nasty turn.
“We will report you to the FBI. They’ll throw you in jail and fine you $5000.”
“I don’t believe you. I know what’s going on now.”
“The FBI is on their way to arrest you. Your F’d now.” Except he didn’t say F’d.
“I’m still not paying you anything.”
“You’re just a stupid old man. Your computer will never work again.”
I hung up and turned on my computer. Big red letters proclaimed “This is the FBI. You are under arrest unless you pay your debt. Agents are on their way.”
Then a text window popped up. “Your F’d,” appeared over and over again.
I turned off the computer and took it to Best Buy Geek Squad. After 6 days they had cleaned up my computer. The scammers had changed several of my passwords but the Geeks recovered them and the malware they added was removed.
I was out $400 to the scammers plus the cost to fix my computer, but it could have been much worse. But at least my experience can be a lesson to all. Don’t get tricked by this ploy like I did.