This is a complete repost from Heidi Cullinan’s post at:
Please, please, please, visit her blog and reblog it, retweet it, share it on Facebook and Google+ and everywhere.
So on August 20th, my mother went to a hotel in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. She was there because she’s been going back and forth to take care of my grandmother, who is dying of congestive heart failure. My grandmother isn’t getting oxygen to her brain, so she’s loopy and weird and spends a lot of time insulting my mother, because she’s not herself and is very sick. Consequently, my mother is very tired. Very. Tired.
Which is why when she went to this hotel (I won’t name it yet, unless they don’t take care of her room for that night), and when she joined what she thought was the hotel wifi and her computer began blowing up with virus warning messages, she panicked. When a box popped up saying she had viruses and she should call Apple Care and the number was next to it, she called them.
“Very helpful” people then spent two hours screen-sharing and “fixing” her computer. These people are Cyber PC Experts.
I’m going to say that name a lot— Cyber PC Experts—and at the end of this story, I’d love you to find a way to link to this story. Share it. Retweet it. Facebook share it. I don’t care how you do it, but the more you link to this, the more when people google Cyber PC Experts, the more likely they’ll be to get this hit. Because nobody should go through what my mother is going through right now.
Cyber PC Experts, after masquerading as Apple Care, took my mother’s credit card information, and her email, and her phone numbers. They didn’t fix her computer. There was nothing wrong with it. Their whole goal was to phish for information—my mother’s private information—and rack up “fixing” charges on her credit card. Happily, two hours in (they were going to have her “leave it open” all night) she got nervous and called me, and I had her shut it down. And cancel her card. And then my brother, who is no slouch about this kind of thing, took her computer and is in the process of wiping it. She’s changed all her passwords, and is getting a new card. She reported the charge as fraudulent.
And now they call her.
From all kinds of different numbers.
And they email.
They are desperate to get a hold of her, I hope to God because their credit charge was denied. But they’re stressing her out, because my grandmother is still dying, and there’s no shortage of other stuff going on. So tonight I said, “Let me call them.”
LET IT BE KNOWN they didn’t dispute that they set up fake wifi outside of hotels and trick guests into logging on and telling them they have viruses. LET IT BE KNOWN they never apologized for anything, never denied anything, and when it became clear they couldn’t scam me, they began refusing to say anything unless they spoke to my mother. I told them they wouldn’t be able to. I told them to stop calling.
While I was on the phone with them, they called her three times.
So, I made them a promise, and I’m keeping it. I’m telling the whole world what charming assholes they are. I taught my mother how to block calls. If she can’t manage it, I’m going to get her to a place where she can be on a conference call with me so they can’t pull that shit anymore and have to listen to me tell them to fuck off. I’m also going to let Apple know what they’re doing. Mostly, though, I want to tell the WHOLE WORLD what they’re doing.
Cyber PC Experts. Nasty scammers who love to prey on non-tech-savvy women nursing their dying mothers. Hang outside hotels and make pop up free wifi that looks like the hotel’s wifi. Harass people when they don’t let themselves be taken for everything they have. Don’t deny they’re scamming scammers.
Be sure you know the EXACT name of hotel wifi when you stay there. If you can help it, don’t use it. Don’t call the numbers on popups, even if you’re tired and they say they’re Apple. For the record, Apple would never do that, and they keep regular hours. And they don’t sell you “yearly computer help.”
I’m blogging angry, which I know better than to do, but this is my mom, goddamn it, and I just listened to these smarmy assholes for fifteen minutes. Whatever. Burn ’em. And be you wise, and never let these or other scamming asshats get you.
And please show this to your mom.