For someone who depends on their computer, being hacked is a big deal! Falling for the scam is an even bigger deal. This week I had one of those “What was I thinking” moments when my PC was attacked by ransomware. And I fell for it! The lesson I learned from this ugly mess…Panic is NOT the best time to buy.
It began as a regular day at work. I entered an email address into my browser. And then…alarms started sounding and wouldn’t stop. This appeared on my screen telling me to call a number for Windows help. “Don’t try to shut down your computer or you’ll lose everything.” And my screen froze. I had been hacked!
Of course, at this point, the panic set in along with annoyance. This was my best day of the week to plow through my to-do list. I did NOT need this to happen. “What should I do? Should I call the number?” So I pushed aside that small voice inside me that said “Don’t do it!!!!!” and called the number.
And thus began the 3-hour saga of overseas tech support scanning my computer, scaring me into a year’s worth of support from a company called Support Buddy, and my stomach feeling sicker as each minute passed.
Now, three days later, I can say that I’ve discovered a lot.
- I’ve learned that this company enters your system through emails, attached to downloads, and misspelled websites.
- Always listen to your intuition
- With a laptop, iPhone, and iPad within reach I should have immediately contacted my website support company. Once I did that (too late, I might add) help was on the way ASAP. Thank you Charles Ogwyn at My Internet Marketing Partner, and Chip Florian at Ciprian IT Technologies.
- I learned that ransomware comes in two forms. One that is looking for people to panic and pay them. The other is stealing your information, searching for passwords, identification, and account numbers.
- Support Buddy has a list of people giving them bad reviews for stealing their money and freezing their computers again if they don’t pay up.
- Once you pay the ransom, they’ll be back for more.
- Always, always, always update your software, your internet security, and your antivirus. Change your passwords every three months, and DO NOT store them on your computer in a document.
Hopefully, my painful and expensive lesson will keep you from making the same mistake.