So I am sitting at my computer, getting ready to work on my Criminal Justice Administration homework, and my phone rings.
It has a “NO ID” caller ID and I assume it is some call relating to something I never clicked on and telling me I won a prize. So I pick up the phone and a gentleman with a thick foreign accent answer on the other line.
He tells me he is from Gmail, and my account has been hacked. He said, “Have you given your password out to someone in Russia?”
I say, “No, why would I do that? What’s this about?”
“Well, Mam’ someone in Russia is using your gmail account [gives my actual gmail account] for illegal activity.”
“Oh, well that’s horrible,” I respond. “I will change my password immediately to make sure no-one else can use my account.”
The strange thing is that I use a 10-key alphanumeric password, with upper and lower-case characters for all of my passwords. Who the hell could have figured that out? Plus, I just changed the password in March, and I have it set up where it will require me to receive an activation code on my cell phone and confirm it is me logging in. It is a hassle but I don’t want to deal with people hacking into my account.
Anyway, back to the conversation.
He tells me, “Well mam’ changing your password isn’t going to be enough. You are going to have to remove his IP address from my computer.”
[insert crickets chirping]
I am not very tech savvy, but I was pretty sure that someone else’s IP address couldn’t be on my computer itself. I have traced an IP address through an email sent to me before. I also know that you can trace someone’s IP address if they access your wireless router, or internet connection (at least cyber criminalists would have the knowledge on how to do that).
Don’t laugh, I have my Bachelors of Science in Criminal Justice, specializing in Crime Scene Investigation. I originally started out wanted to get a cyber crime degree. I had to take a few classes, and learned what cyber criminalists actually do. Correct me if I am wrong if someone’s IP address can just be sitting on your hard drive.
I wanted to see how far he would take this, because I was starting to realize something was wrong if changing my password wasn’t enough.
He wanted me to sign into http://www.pinfinder.com
He told me to click the ctrl key on my keyboard…I then informed him I owned a Mac (no laughing non-mac users). He said, “Oh, well then click on the magnifying glass in the top right corner of your screen.”
So I did that. I have actually never used that feature before, but it searches my hard drive.
I told him as such, and he said, “Oh, I’m sorry you need to pull up the browser I had you close a minute ago.” Sorry I forgot to mention that he wanted me to close out of everything on my computer.
So I immediately put on the breaks when he tells me that. I asked for GOOGLE’s phone number to make sure this was a legitimate phone call.
His answer to that request was, “I already told you I am from Gmail.”
“Yes, well GMAIL is run through GOOGLE and you would have said you were from that company calling about my account. So, I want their phone number to legitimize this conversation. I am not going to that website without speaking to someone at GOOGLE.”
He hung up.
I went to gmail and changed my password either way.
I also searched for a way to contact google and explain to them that someone was doing this. I went to the FBI’s website and checked out their recent cyber scams. Technically, this is a scam over the telephone, but users of Netflix and Google are having this scam show up all the time.
You will get a notice saying your account was suspended and you need to call a certain number to prove you are who you say you are. The person who answers usually wants you to download some sort of software onto your computer. This software opens your computer up so they can access your computer.
Have any of you used the Geeks at Best Buy tech support over the phone? Same concept as the hackers. Except the hackers will start downloading your personal files. They look for bank records, financial documents, saved passwords, etcetera. Then they try to charge you for tech support!
If you are not sure the company you are talking to is legitimate, ASK FOR THE CORPORATE OFFICE NUMBER!
Tell them you just want to make sure it is a real company and not a scam. If it is a real company, they will begrudgeoningly give you the number you are requesting. You can also do like I did, and look up the information online to try and see if anyone else is having this problem.
Sometimes the names and email address are even the same! These scammers are not very smart. I have dealt with a money scam like this before as well…but that’s a story for another day.
Be careful out there! Let your older family members know about this, it is statistically proven that the young and the elderly fall for these scams every single year. They are trusting, and assume these people are telling the truth and can get a lot of money taken from them.
Have any of you had scammer issues before? What about your family members?
How to avoid internet auction fraud – From the Federal Bureau of Investigation
Check for rumors – This is a great site to check if you see “Facebook is going to be charing money” or if you get a suspicious email. They try to keep up to date on any scams or rumors going around.