Your computer was hacked. What do you do?
Take a moment and imagine with me.
It’s an average Sunday, first thing in the morning.
You’re in your sleepy clothes, hair sticking up, sitting on the couch, cup of coffee in hand. You open your computer to see what’s going on in the world and a screen pops up you’ve never seen before. It’s a message from Microsoft. Ooooh! Microsoft for meeeee?, you think.
Curious, you read on.
“Alert! Alert!”, it says. “Your personal information could be under attack”.
You inhale sharply as a sense of dread swells in the pit of your stomach. “I’m not even awake all the way yet!”, you say to the cat.
“You’ve been hacked!”, it says.
Hacked?! What?! No! Your whole life is on that machine. Your bank information, your journal, photos from your kids wedding…. Oh my god am I going to have to get a new cards & bank accounts & what about total identity theft? My credit is good. I worked hard for that, you think.
You feel utter panic.
Then, like a beacon in a sea of despair, you see a phone number.
“Call to resolve this urgent issue”, they say.
Oh good, you think; a phone number. #$*@ computers! At least you can still trust the phone.
You call. A very professional sounding person answers the line saying “blah blah blah Microsoft blah blah how can I help you?”.
Relief. A real human.
They tell you not to worry. They tell you this happens all the time. And they tell you you’ve been a victim of cybercrime. Your computer has been hacked.
Then they tell you they can easily fix it for you. They’ll just need you to allow them to access your computer remotely. It’s easy, fast, secure and you don’t have to run down to the nearest tech store. And they’ll walk you through it every step of the way. You’re not alone.
You hear the clicking of keys on the other end of the line and think, Phew! I’m so glad they caught this. I could’ve lost everything!
They tell you they can take out the virus, they just need your credit card information to pay for their services. You gladly comply. You need this nasty virus gone.
Remember when they told you not to worry. When they told you this happens all the time & you’ve been a victim?
They’re right. It does happen all the time. You were a victim.
What they don’t tell you, is that… they’re the criminals!
Preying on your fear, they have finagled full access to every file in your computer. They have access to your saved passwords, your documents, and photos. And to make matters worse, they often put in a virus that captures every keystroke you type, giving them access to your usernames, passwords, contact lists & bank accounts so they can just…keep…stealing.
You can’t see what they’ve done in the background. You have no idea. What normal person would? You, like most people, just want to check the news. Your email. Balance the checkbook & maybe scroll through Facebook and see what cousin so and so is up to in Arizona…
It’s disgusting. Who would do something like that? And then you think, “How was I so stupid? What was I thinking?”
Don’t beat yourself up! The thing is, they’re creative people…
According to the Better Business Bureau, in the first nine months of 2017 alone the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI received more than 41,000 tech scam complaints which resulted in over $21 million in losses. And that’s only the ones that were reported! How many people didn’t do so because they didn’t know how or felt too embarrassed? The FTC states that less than 10 percent of scam victims actually report it.
As you can see, if you’ve been hacked, you are definitely not alone. These are some seriously crafty jerks we’re dealing with.
If you’ve been hacked and you’re in the Lehigh Valley, give us a call. One of our real techs will gladly take a look at your machine. We’ve had many customers come in with this problem and we’ll be happy to get you back up and running safely.
Clickable links to the FBI: www.ic3.gov
and the FTC: www.ftc.gov/complaint
and if you’re in PA, the Attorney General: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/public-protection-division/bureau-consumer-protection/