Tuesday, 3 March 2015

No, my computer is not broken (and I don’t want your millions)

They haven’t gone away – you know. 

  I am talking about the determined scam artists. You can hardly check your emails these days without finding that a bank has emailed to say there’s a problem with your internet banking and that you should immediately get in contact. Don’t. A year or two ago I rang a local bank in Roscommon and asked if they are in the habit of emailing customers about account security issues. “Absolutely not” I was told (as I had anticipated). 

 Every second day I seem to land a windfall in the form of millions of euro from some far-off land, where widows, widowers, doctors and professors are dying (in some cases literally) to off-load millons to me. 

  It’s a lovely gesture but I am refusing their generosity. 

  Much more direct are the diligent folk who telephone our house to inform us that there’s a problem with our computer.  

  These latter calls have been made to several householders in the Roscommon town area over the past year or two (and perhaps before that). 

  We’ve heard of several instances of it. Typically the caller will say that they are from some company or other and they are getting in touch because your computer is giving trouble. 

  They will ask to you switch it on so that they can take you step-by-step, over the ‘phone, through a process which will fix the problem. 

  In fact it’s a scam and what they would do if they got your that far down the path is take you step-by-step away from some of your money. 

  The first time I got such a call I hung up after a few minutes (needless to say you should never turn the computer on for them). 

  The second time I told the gentleman I was delighted to hear from him and asked could he give me his number so that I could call hím back. So he hung up. 

  The third time we both hung up together. 

  Last week for about the fifth time in eighteen months we received a call at this office from a reader who has just experienced the phenomenon for the first time. 

  The Roscommon town woman said she got a call from a “very sophisticated sounding man” who told her she had a problem with her computer. 

  “My computer did have a virus recently so I actually believed him at first. Then I began to think it was a scam and I got annoyed with him. He got annoyed in return so I just hung up.” 

  When I wrote about this subject last year Gardai in Roscommon advised the public to be vigilant and not to divulge any unsolicited information either online or on the ‘phone. 

  They said: “If you receive a communication along these lines do not co-operate if you have any doubt. We are aware of such scams which are designed to get your password and your bank details and so on. Contact the bank directly or whatever organisation it is claimed is being represented and verify the situation in that way.” 

  Few if any of us can afford to be distracted from our busy lives with such nonsense and few if any of us can afford to be defrauded. 

  Not unless someone you’ve never met from Venezuela is about to transfer a few million euro into your bank account because they are about to fall under a bus. 

– Paul Healy 

Issue dated: 13 April 2012
© Roscommon People