Drawn into a computer scamSave
By David Haxton
A Paraparaumu woman is annoyed with herself for getting drawn into an alleged computer scam.
The woman said she turned her computer on about midday last Tuesday when a message appeared saying her computer had been damaged and that she needed to ring a Microsoft support number.
She was a bit sceptical, thinking it was a scam, but after chatting with her husband decided to phone the number and spoke to a man with a foreign accent.
A supposed technician's name appeared on the screen and soon the woman had given lots of details about the computer and someone was remotely inspecting the computer system.
"I was on the phone for about half an hour."
She said the man told her the computer needed to be fixed and then mentioned a cost of over $300 fix the alleged fault.
"He asked if I was happy about that and I said 'well it has got to be fixed'.
"Then he asked how would I pay for it and I said 'by credit card'.
"After I gave him my credit card details he asked me what my credit card limit was.
"That immediately made me start to feel suspicious."
The price to fix the computer then went to $US599.
"I said 'why do I have to pay in United States dollars when I've rung a New Zealand number' and he replied because there was so much that had to be put right."
As the woman had an appointment in Wellington, she left the computer on and asked to be phoned back after 6pm that night. Ironically her appointment was to supervise a law test at Victoria University which was about fraud and deception.
After the initial phone call she contacted her bank and cancelled her credit card, noting no money had been withdrawn.
The bank asked if her computer was still on and she said it was "because the person had told me to leave it on and they would fix it [the computer] for me."
Her husband went home and turned the computer off and took it to a shop in Paraparaumu Beach to be "cleaned up".
Police advised her to contact the computer shop so they could forward the alleged scam details to Internal Affairs.
The woman said the whole episode had been "very stressful".
"I just feel I shouldn't have been taken in especially as my first thought, when I saw the message on my computer, was of a scam."
When a person called back at 6pm, the woman told him, "You're just a scam and I don't want to talk to you anymore".
She then hung up and hasn't heard from him again.