A very strange thing happened to me yesterday afternoon. It was one of those rare occasions when I was at home all alone. Normally either Mrs Kaczka or Mr Arnold would be about but as it turns out, they both had things to do in town, and Dorothy was out with Angela somewhere. Anyway, shortly after midday, the telephone rang. Under normal circumstances I would leave it for someone else to answer, but as there wasn’t anyone else about I picked it up myself.
My greeting was answered by a charming young man who introduced himself as Daniel and told me he was calling about my computer. He said he was from Windows and that my computer was reporting it had some kind of virus. Now, I don’t know very much about computers, but I do know that mine is a Windows one, so I knew straight away that he knew what he was talking about.
Now, when I say he was a young man, that was just an assumption. Obviously, I couldn’t actually see him, but he sounded young and I think I detected a hint of an Asian accent, despite his very English sounding name. That is one of the things I mistrust about people you don’t know calling you on the telephone, sometimes voices can be deceptive. I remember once chatting several times to a lady it a local tailors. We spoke a couple of times over the telephone and I had built up a picture in my head of a petite blonde in her early to mid-twenties. When I actually met her on the day I collected my order, it turned out she was a rather well-built brunet of about 40. It was very disappointing. Not that I have anything against brunettes, but when you have a picture of someone in your head you can’t help but be a little disappointed when the reality doesn’t quite live up. You just can’t tell from a voice.
So, back to my Windows man. The first thing he wanted me to do was to turn on my computer. This may seem a simple enough instruction, but as the telephone, I had picked up was in the hallway and the computer in the study, I couldn’t see how I would manage it. There is an extension telephone next to the computer, so Daniel suggested I put down the receiver I was currently using and pick up the one in the study instead. What a jolly good idea, I thought, and proceeded to put the receiver back in the cradle and make my way to the study. But when I picked up the phone, the line was dead. I wasn’t sure what had happened but turned the computer on anyway. Almost immediately the telephone rang again; it was Daniel. He said we must have been cut off so had called me back. They are so conscientious these support chappies.
Once the computer was up and running he said he would need to connect to it to help sort the virus problem. I was a little concerned about this as Nigel had been quite firm about not letting anyone else have access to the computer except him and myself. But as Daniel was calling from Windows, the people who make the computer, I decided that it would be all right, otherwise, how was he going to make my computer healthy again. I know what I am like if I get a virus, and I presume that same sort of thing happens to a computer, otherwise, why call it a virus. Obviously, a computer can’t get a runny nose and sore throat but they can become slow and struggle to do the simplest of tasks. And from what Nigel has told me, some infections can steal your identity and your bank details. It is all very worrying, so it is reassuring to know that so many people are looking out for me.
For the next ten minutes or so poor Daniel tried very hard to talk me through getting him connected to my computer, but no matter what we did it just wouldn’t work. He tried everything and was I think on the verge of giving up when I noticed that the light on my wireless box wasn’t on. When I asked him whether or not it was important he sounded a little frustrated but asked me to switch it on. After that, it all went much more smoothly. Or at least it did at first. I managed to get to the website he told me about and clicked where he said, but we still couldn’t get connected. I think that by this time he was getting a little frustrated and I have to admit that I too was beginning to lose interest in the whole thing. After all, Nigel was due to call round at some point so he could probably sort it.
Having to give up before Daniel had had an opportunity to administer his electronic cure for my virus was very disappointing. Luckily for me Nigel popped round a little later in the evening so I asked him to look into it. You can imagine my surprise when, instead of showing concern for the health of my new computer, he actually laughed. I was a little shocked by this. After all, Daniel and I had spent over an hour trying to fix things and I didn’t see what was so amusing about it. Once he had calmed down a bit, and after a rather large brandy, Nigel explained to me that Daniel was not from Windows (it isn’t a company apparently) and that what he was trying to do was to get access to my details and would probably at some point asked for my credit card details so he could take money from me. It was, it seems, all a scam. A fraud designed to rob me of as much cash as possible.
Well, I felt such a fool. It seems that I still have an awful lot to learn about all this computer stuff. Nigel was very good about it. He said that he had set up the computer so no one could get control of it, so the scam could never have worked the way they wanted it to. Which is good news for me of course.
In the end, no harm was done, except to my pride. So if you should ever get an unsolicited call from someone claiming that your computer is infected or needs a fix of some sort, put the phone down straight away. Do not, whatever you do, let them have access to your computer or bank details. It is frightening to think how easily I fell for this scam. How do these people sleep at night?
I left Nigel to check the computer and retired to the lounge. Dorothy returned home shortly afterwards and we settled down for a quiet evening watching Strictly Come Dancing. Nigel left after an hour or so, declining to join us.