August 9, 2014
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…be any more of a victim? – Chandler Bing
I get a call yesterday from a number I don’t know. I don’t answer it and the person leaves a voicemail. It’s a relative of a neighbor – I guess I’ve met him a few times. He needs help with his computer.
Still in voicemail, he relays the whole situation to me. He thinks his email was hacked. Yahoo Mail, maybe? So he “called Yahoo” and these guys “went in a did a bunch of stuff.” They charged him like $190 for this work. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t fix his problem. But, surprisingly, they called back and said they wanted to refund his money, but first he would have to wire $300 to a place overseas. Luckily at this point, he cut his losses and gave up. But that wasn’t the end. He shut down his computer and when he started it back up, he was prompted to log in and they had changed the password on him.
I call him back and offer to copy his files off the hard drive and reinstall the OS. He asks how much that’s going to cost because he’s not working and he’s on disability and he’s currently at an AA meeting (and I guess he’s already paid almost $200 so far). Oh boy. I told him not to worry about it. I know that I can fix this, but there’s a lot more wrong here and this certainly isn’t the end of the problems.
As I’m mulling over how much seems to be wrong: AA, disability, jobless, hacked, taken for a scam, it made me think about my persistent thought about how the PC revolution almost had something; how it almost brought enlightenment to humanity. This case was a stark reminder that some people just can’t handle a PC. These people need simpler devices like tablets. And yet, among the downloaded files on the laptop, were utilities for rooting Android phones. Just enough to be dangerous, indeed.