I Got a Call From Scammers Using COVID-19 as a Ploy
I'm always reading about things like this, and it seems like we're always passing along the warning to anybody listening to us blab on the radio. We've been hearing a lot of stories about scammers using the current COVID-19 pandemic as a way to trick people into giving away their personal info, banking info, and more. Now I'm able to speak from firsthand experience, as someone called and tried to get me to give them access to my computer.
I have to give them credit - they made it sound pretty believable at times and seemed to have an answer for everything. I can kind of see how people would fall for the various services a scammer claims to be offering over the phone.
I received a call saying it was my internet provider and because of COVID-19 hardships across the country they were offering payment refunds for the last three months. I'm not sure if it was just recorded sound, or if other people were actually present, but it sounded like the person was calling from a call center - so it had a feeling of validity.
From there, we played a little back-and-forth for a few minutes as they asked for my account info to grant the refund. I said they should already know that information if they were calling me and already knew I was a customer. I also offered up my thoughts that it seems like a reputable company like the one they claimed to be from would simply waive the bill for the next three months instead of needing my info to credit me for money I already paid.
They tried to put me at ease by telling me a lot of customers shared the same doubt, but to be assured it was how they had to handle the return of funds. They asked about the number of people using streaming services in my household. I replied that it shouldn't matter if the point of the call was to grant me a refund. After saying the answer wasn't important they jumped into the goal of getting access to my computer. The person on the phone said if I didn't have my account number he could give me a website address to visit, I could accept the invitation to link computers, and they could take control of my account remotely to fill out the form and make things easier.
I told them the thought of a company calling me, not knowing any of my account info, and wanting to take control of my computer was pretty ridiculous. Once again, they tried to explain how it was the easiest way they could get the form completed and assure my refund. I'm paraphrasing here, but I told them "it ain't gonna happen, pal" and I think they realized their efforts were futile.
They ended up hanging up on me. Man, that's some pretty rude customer service if you ask me!
Just thought I would share my phone call as another example of what to be on the lookout for when it comes to scammers out there.