Friday, May 23, 2014

Scam Warning for Windows Users and A Writing Update

WARNING TO ALL WINDOWS USERS:

There's a new scam happening, and boy does it sound legit.

It's so good I was almost taken in by it.

What happened was I got a phone call from this gentleman with a Middle Eastern accent. He asked for me, and said he was from Microsoft Tech Support.

Now I've had calls like this in the past... But without being asked for by name, so I thought I may as well see how legit this guy really is. I let him ramble on about how hackers had gotten into my computer and email, and my computer could crash at any second. He even mentioned the date that my computer sent in a "report" about it, which was about right... I had a Trojan Horse on the computer which has since been removed, thanks to some help from a few of my tech buddies. (Love ya L!)

I interrupted him (rude, I know, but better safe than sorry!) and asked him what version of Windows I was using, and warned him I'm a tech person. I admit I kind of let him think I have certification for it, just to see what he'd say next. Bad... Yes. Safety over sorry? Definitely.

He said the correct version of Windows and I started thinking maybe this guy is legit. So, I let him ramble on a little more, asked him a few tech questions, and he gave me the right replies for everything...

Until I asked him WHICH email address sent the "report". He said "Your gmail account sent it to us."

That sent up a few red flags... I asked him WHICH gmail address and he sputtered a bit.

You see, I don't have just this one, I have another one for backup in case this account ever gets hacked.

He finally came up with "I can't confirm that, it's not in my records" and more red flags went up.

I don't use either of my gmails as a contact email address for Windows. I use another free email provider.

I listened to him go on and on again for a while and finally asked him exactly "what" exactly I had to do to "clean" the computer. He said to minimize everything on my desktop, look by the Ctrl key and hit the four paned Windows key on the keyboard while holding down the Ctrl and R keys.

I didn't do it. That sounded pretty darn odd. You would think if Microsoft itself was really calling you, they'd tell you to go to their legit site instead of doing that.

I finally had enough of his crap and said, "I don't trust this, it smells too damn much like a scam, sorry!" and hung up on him.

I did a reverse number check and it said the number was "Unavailable".

You'd think if it really was Microsoft calling, they'd show the number from which they were calling.

I did download a security/malware checker from Microsoft's legit site and contacted their digital crimes unit. Nothing appeared on the scan. My computer is clean.

The digital crimes unit replied to me without delays and told me I did the right thing.

Yup, it was definitely a scammer, and one hell of a convincing one. Rotten jerk. *SIGH*

I'm so glad I listened to my gut instead of believing that. If I hadn't, hackers would have had the rest of my personal information and I would have lost a lot of money or other stuff.

So, to all of you Windows users, BE CAREFUL. Windows does NOT call you for anything other than reasons specified on their site. Only scammers call for things like "your computer was hacked" for example.

For more information, and to help you understand the difference between a scam and the real thing, visit the Microsoft Safety and Security Center.

WRITING UPDATE, ELEVEN'S PROGRESS:

This week was productive writing wise. I had two hours to work on each Monday and Wednesday, and things are moving fast in Eleven, faster than I could have dreamed...

Monday wasn't an overly great day writing wise, only 1200 words. I had a few problems and wound up coming up with the right way to get things rolling. I spent most of the writing time jotting down ideas instead.

Wednesday was a huge day for me... Only 2080 words of new stuff was added, BUT I finally spliced in a scene that had been waiting in the wings since the end of February! That was over 3000 words, even with compressions (some stuff had already been mentioned earlier in the manuscript, didn't want to repeat it!).

Today, however, was the biggest day of all... I was in the middle of Chapter 15, and an intense scene was on the way... So I was at it pretty much as soon as the bus went around the corner this morning!

The next thing I knew, it was 2 p.m. and time to stop. I had just gotten into a very intense part of the story and it was either stop or keep going, even though Son was getting off the bus in a few minutes and I have plans for the evening.

Today's word count was over 5600 words... Chapter 15 was finished and I'm now in the middle of Chapter 16.

If I had another four or five hours to write... Well... Y'all know I would have kept going!

Maybe later tonight... I know exactly how things are going to play out, so I may get moving again once things settle down here.

I'm so close to the "finishing line" of this one I can smell it. WOOT!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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