Phone scammer takes down a favourite Aunt
I want to tell you about an experience that happened to one of my aunts.
A so-called Microsoft representative contacted my aunt by telephone. It was a ‘courtesy call’ to inform her there had been suspicious activity on her bank account. Naturally this worried my aunt, so she agreed to let them have remote access to her computer to fix the problem for her while she stayed on the phone with them. She patiently and very carefully watched her computer screen for nearly two hours while, via remote access, she allowed them to check her computer settings and bank account details. She was relieved when she was told that no money was taken out of her bank and the problem had now been fixed. Phew!
No, you don’t get a prize for guessing… the friendly and well-spoken woman who called her was certainly not from Microsoft!
After the call was over and still unaware, my aunt again checked her bank account only to find that $10,000 had been transferred out. She rang the bank immediately. Her quick action enabled the bank to stop the transaction while it was passing through an account in Hong Kong. We are told that the scammer will usually try to keep you talking on the phone until the money is transferred out by an accomplice, so my aunt was lucky in this case that she quickly noticed money missing. Yes, she got her money back! But she had the awful task of changing all her accounts and virtually every password she had, and she had to remove all the banking related data off her computer and then reinstall it.
As a warning to others to be aware of phone scammers, she asked me to pass her experience to you. If you are ever asked to allow a caller to have remote access to your computer, you should immediately hang up. If there is a legitimate reason access is required, then you need to verify details very carefully.
CAUTION: This article contains general information of public interest only and is not intended to be, nor should be relied upon as, legal advice specific to the reader’s personal circumstances. Should you have a legal matter, please seek professional advice before acting or relying on this content.