Reader Celeste G. recently needed help upgrading an Apple device. She wrote, “I couldn’t get into my contacts list because they were in my device and it was closed until I upgraded. I thought AHA! My laptop! I’ll look up Apple on there.” Celeste had the right idea, but this is where she got anxious and called one of the first numbers she found.
“I called it and there were so many red flags, yet I was so desperate for help I ignored them all!! The guy never asked my serial number (which is usually first question) but he told me to let him in my computer using that virtual help, but where they see and can mess with your computer. He kept telling me reason I couldn’t download the new upgrade was that I had all these ‘hackers’ using my wifi.”
Things went from bad to worse and Celeste found herself in a bargaining session with the person on the other end of the phone. He lowered his original price to fix her device from $300 to $125—another red flag—but it was too late. By this time, Celeste had lost control of her computer. She said, “I refused to pay him, hung up phone, and in the meantime he messed with my HP laptop. It was so messed up I never could have figured it out.”
Celeste was fortunate because the person she was talking to didn’t lock her computer and she was able to contact HP. She said, “HP talked me through the fix in about 5 steps—free of charge.”
There were other people talking in the background when Celeste was dealing with the “tech.” They, too, were being quoted prices to have computers fixed. When she said something about it, the man replied, “No, they’re not fixing computers, they need something else. I don’t know what you heard.”
Celeste says she’s pretty sure of what she heard, others being scammed, just like her.