I had to wait until I cooled down enough to write civilly about this.

I was scammed.

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person (yes, I know, some would beg to differ), and I’m aware that scammers are everywhere and will try anything to cheat you.

But, I got scammed anyway.

I’m writing about it, not for vindication, but so that you don’t get sucked into the same or similar scam. I wouldn’t want this to happen to anybody – not even the guy down the block who consistently lets his huge dog do its job on my front lawn without ever cleaning it up.

Nope. Nobody.

I’d been having a severe problem with spam mail at my business email address. That’s not an exaggeration. I was getting upwards of 150 spam mails per day and that was with the spam filters turned way up. It was so bad, I’d have to log into my account several times a day just to delete all the spam and search out the “real” messages.

It was time-consuming, to say the least. And frustrating.

Then, I received a warning email that contained a diagnostics report. The email said to forward it to customer service as soon as possible. With all the stress I was under from dealing with all the spam, I found this believable. Since I use Outlook for Windows 10 as my email app, I went online and found Microsoft’s website.

At least I thought it was Microsoft’s official site.

I couldn’t find an email address, but I did find a phone number for customer support, so I called it.

The tech assured me that the diagnostics report signaled serious problems and that he needed remote access to my computer to solve them. You guessed it, I allowed the remote access (keep in mind, I honestly believed I was dealing with the real Microsoft company). I’ve actually used remote access tech support in the past on my laptop, so this didn’t seem unusual to me. Plus, I called them, not vice versa.

Once in, the guy “proved” to me that I had a destructive worm that was working its way through my files and that I was at high risk for identity theft and to have my financial accounts hijacked.

He really got me shook up.

Before you roll your eyes, listen to this. I asked the guy at least three times to verify who he was and he guaranteed that his company is contracted by Microsoft to carry out Microsoft’s tech support. He did. He furthermore sent me some initial documentation and promised me full documentation of everything once the worm had been destroyed and their protective software installed to keep it away.

Of course, there would be cost - $249.99 worth of cost. To be nice, he gave me one year additional coverage free of charge. Then he took my credit card info and reiterated the urgency in order to protect my identity and bank accounts. From there, the tech support guys would work on my computer. I was to hang up the phone, sit back, and let them chase all my worries away.

About this time, my husband came home from work. In relaying to him what was going on, it all started to sound very wrong. He called our local computer shop who spoke those four horrible words:

It is a scam.

They instructed us to immediately unplug the computer and bring it in. They ran a diagnostic (a real one, this time) which revealed that nothing was wrong with my computer in the first place. They removed all the fake tech support’s software and I was good to go. The next day, we contacted the credit card company and explained what had happened. They vied for us and refunded our money. Then my computer shop helped me move my business email account to their server and the spam flood dried up.

I was lucky. Or, rather, I was very blessed that there were no real consequences to the ordeal other than a few extremely nerve wracking hours.

It could have been far, far, worse.

What galled me most about the whole deal was that, the tech support faker closed our phone conversation with, “God bless you.”

Seriously?

Well, in the end, God did bless me. He saved me from my own gullibility and poor judgment. I want you to be blessed as well. Let my goof help you to avoid one of your own.