This morning I got a phone call from “Windows.” This is how I remember it. I’m not including many of the technical terms. Also, the caller had a strong accent so I didn’t catch everything.
Caller: (after introducing himself) We’ve noticed that you have a significant number of warnings and errors on your PC (?) We’d like you to allow us access your computer (PC?) so that we can correct these problems.
Me: Now what? You say you’re from Windows?
Caller: Yes. (He repeats what he just said.)
Me (suspicious): How do I know you’re from Windows?
Caller: (getting huffy) We can give you information about your computer. (He names specific identifying factors he can give me)
Caller: May we have access so that these problems can be resolved.
Me: (still suspicious) I need to verify that you are who you say you are. Do you have a number I could call back?
Caller: Yes. (He gives me a number)
Me: You know, this doesn’t sound right. I just had our computer cleaned and checked last week so I’m not sure why there would be problems already.
Caller quickly hangs up.
I dial my son to get his take on this. When it comes to technology, I am the child and my children are the adults. My son says the call sounds suspicious. He finds me the number of the official Windows and suggests I call it and report what happened.
Windows technician: (who has exactly the same accent as the earlier caller) Windows does not call people to alert them to problems. That was a scam. We have no record of any such call from Windows. May we get the number this party called from so I can report it?
Me: Yes, sure. It was from Texas. (I give him the number.)
Technician: While I have you on the line, would you like me to check the state of your PC and see if there have been any breaches.
Me: Okay, but there shouldn’t be any problems. I just paid a significant amount to have my computer checked and to make sure it’s protected.
Technician: There appear to be a great number of errors and warnings. In fact, your PC has been (basically violated and someone is about to have access to everything on your computer, all your accounts, and is about to take over your life in general) You will need to change your passwords, and I suggest you let us clear up these problems immediately. (He tells me what they can offer and the significant cost.)