Am writing this to warn you that scammers hover nearby, even at the tips of one’s fingers. Long story short, my computer alerted me to a virus attack a couple of days ago. Not sure if you’ve ever witnessed flashing icons on your screen that silently scream “viruses, viruses, viruses!!!” I immediately felt I was physically under siege. My heart began palpitating. My brain went into lock down mode. My eyes bugged out of my head. Words were roiling around inside my head, none of which I could organize into thoughts that made sense.
Running my fingers across the computer keys, I finally ran the McAfee virus scan system that came with my 17″ Acer laptop, which I purchased at a great price on QVC. The scanning completed, I was asked if I wanted to remove the viruses that were detected, or did I want to leave them be. Yeah right, I thought. That’s like asking me if I wanted to let bedbugs live in my bed forever! I tried texting my husband for advice. When none was quickly forthcoming, I took action…and have regreted it.
One option offered was to activate the automatic removal system. The catch was that I needed a password. Hmmm… I couldn’t remember even discussing anti-viral security with my hubby. He normally buys Norton. But I didn’t recall him giving me a password. So I went for the second option, signing up for “System Tool.” Popping up on McAfee led me to believe it was part and parcel of the scan system.
Unable to reach my husband, and thinking the viruses would gain a bigger stranglehold the longer I delayed, I tried to purchase “System Tool.” Well try as I might, the transaction kept being declined. Customer service at Master Card’s 1-800 number kindly offered their assistance. But even they couldn’t complete the transaction. The whole thing was crazy. That should have signaled a “red flag.” Finally the credit card’s computer technician explained that I was probably locked out because of several failed attempts. He suggested I might want to try again later.
Thinking the viruses were gaining an increasingly greater foothold the more time I wasted, I tried a Visa credit card. Same thing, I kept being declined in trying to purchase “System Tool.” Giving up on the online option, I decided to seek technical help from someone in town. When I pulled up their website, there was an alert on the first page indicating that “System Tool” was a scam which would infiltrate with viruses, not remove them. I couldn’t drive to the computer tech’s office fast enough.
The good news is that my hardware was not affected. The bad news is my laptop had to be thoroughly cleaned and a new security system installed, all for $199. The pro also suggested emphatically that I cancel my credit cards because the scammers were probably after credit card information from the outset. Needless to say I’ve done as he recommended.
Lesson learned? Even writers have to know something more than just banging away at the computer keyboard. And it’s true, seniors like me can learn new tricks. We might have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, by our gray hairs. But in the meantime, our brain cells are growing by leaps and bounds. This is never a bad thing, although too many growth spurts like this, and I might have a heart attack.
Something which concerned me was that QVC sold a product, Acer, which offered McAfee security, which in turn offered “System Tool” as a means of removing viruses, which is, in fact, a scam. This is probably an oversimplification, but the outcome is that I bought an Acer computer, which my husband and I’d never heard of before, because of its great deal on QVC. Like many, I consider the online retailer highly reputable. I wonder if it’s even aware of Acer’s link to McAfee, and its link to “System Tool?” That a scam could be furthered by a QVC backed product is mystifying. I’ll probably be expressing my concern to QVC in writing, unless they come calling on me via my blog, as Comcast has done in the past. We’ll see.
What does hubby say about all this? I’ll have to wait and see when he returns from his European business trip this evening.
getting in and out of trouble…par for the course…hugmamma. 🙂