My Scam-tacular Valentine’s Day

I received an unwanted Valentine’s gift from some scammers. Let me tell you what happened, so you can be on the lookout in case something similar happens to you. I was using Google Chrome. In fact, I was writing a tutorial about Google Chrome. Then it happened. Suddenly this popped up on my screen!

My computer also started talking to me. It said that Microsoft had detected a virus and that I had to call them immediately. If I didn’t call them immediately, I would start losing files. My credit card details were now being transmitted to hackers and my Facebook information was now being shared publicly. Fortunately, I’m familiar with these types of scams, so I knew that it wasn’t legitimate.

I was told to call the number shown on the screen.  The copy also warns that your computer access will be disabled if you try to close the window before calling the number displayed on the screen.  The pop-up uses Microsoft’s colors and the Microsoft logo. And the recorded message keeps on screaming at you that your PC is in big trouble.

And there’s this, it’s impossible to close the browser by just shutting it down the regular way.  It does appear that your PC is locked up. Your PC is not, it’s just the browser, but it sure seems that way. It also screams an unpleasant sound at you if you try to shut it down.  I closed it down with Task Manager, but it opened right back up to the screaming warning.

Just for the heck of it, I called the number and played along for a little bit as the guy tried to get me to give him access to my computer. I eventually told him I knew he was a scammer and I would be writing an article about his scam. Then I hung up.

He called me back, not once, but twice. He wanted to convince me that it wasn’t a scam and that he was indeed from Microsoft. I imagine this harassment is standard procedure if they don’t get your credit card number. I ended up blocking the number.  I ran my anti-virus, Malwarebytes, and Bitdefender and they didn’t find anything on my PC. I ended up just restarting the PC to take care of the problem. Chrome was just fine after that.

But this is certainly a scam to be on the lookout for. For some folks that screaming warning is enough to induce a panic which leads to them calling that number before they even think. Don’t be fooled.  Make sure you warn your friends and relatives about this scam.

I did enjoy letting the dude have it when he called me back.  But that was the only enjoyable part.

~ Cynthia

4 thoughts on “My Scam-tacular Valentine’s Day

  1. I had this one happen to me, more than once! First time I totally panicked, knew it wasn’t legit but getting rid of that sound over took my brain. It was also freaking out the four legged family members so I yanked the plug. Calmer mind had me boot up in safe mode, do all the scans, checks and like you, found nothing.

  2. Thanks. I thought I had gone insane. This happened to me this last week. I had decided to add Chrome to my computer (I use Firefox/foxfire, I can never remember which is correct). Anyway right after I downloaded Chrome and having been very, very careful that I was on a correct place to download so I did not get all those little add on’s, I got the warning about a problem with my computer. Scared the hell out of me when I could not stop it or shut it down. I finally out of desperation just turned off the computer. When I reopened in Chrome it happened again. Shut down the computer again. And I reopened in my normal browser (FF) and took Chrome off my computer. I ran numerous scans but nothing was found. My problem was connected to Chrome. For reason I cannot identify I do not like “e” so I guess I’ll stay where I am. Thanks for all you do. You are loved and appreciated.

    ….. Got some information for everyone. I got a call from HP. They said that my IP Address is being used for crimenal activity and they were going to stop my internet.

    Well, as soon as I heard that they were “HP” calling me — a voice said to me —- SCAM ALERT. So I told them that my computer was broke. And they asked me if this was my serial number of my computer. And it was correct, verbatim. I told them that I would like his name, phone number and his address, which he did give to me.

    Here is the information he gave me —
    Danny Archer – ??? ??? ???? – I’ve blanked out the phone number because it’s my home phone number.
    11372 78 Roosevelt Ave.
    Manhattan, New York
    My caller ID showed this number — 866-756-0309

    I told him that I will be calling the police and the Attorney Geneal for my state, to see if this is legit. Then I asked for his badge number, he said that he cannot give me that because of compnay policy and I said, “That’s stupid”. He he said. “Your stupid” and promptly hung up on me.
    I have called HP and the Ohio Attoney General about this scam. And it seems HP was hack.
    I’ll be contacting Channel 8 to give them this information. Maybe they can check it out and put the word out to all their viewers. Becasue this is the first I’ve heard of this SCAM.

  4. This happened to my friend, but it was with IE. She turned off her computer using the “nuclear method” (press and holding the power button). She then called Microsoft and they found this – Babylon (adware) Microsoft got rid of it for her.

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