As time goes by .. the true tale of an elderly
I am not sure this is the right venue , or category , but the story is actual , it's factual and it is the tragedy lived a thousand times that need be told to warn the community to step up their vigilance.
Dad is 86 . A sturdy chap that made communications , data communications and it's advancement his life. Retired about 25 years ago and always been using a computer since the z80 . His computers have always been protected as much as he could. AV and firewalls etc .. He used his machine to make texgs , write , make spreadsheets of his finances , adresses , finance info the whole lot .
4 days ago .. A guy called saying he was a MS tech support representative and that he was mandated to cal customers and fix their machines for a security hole that needed be adressed.
OFC MS don't call people. You know it .. i know it ..
He gave the thief/scammer/bas&&&& the information to use the remote desktop and for a hour and a half the guy at the other end had all the time in the world to steal all his financials that were linked on the desktop for easy access . Income tax reports , spreadsheets , cc's etc .. he had put all on the machine trusting it .. and never suspecting any foul play.
His CC company had a strange charge on the CC .. 1000 dollar purchase in a foreign country .
He called me .. told me about the CC company call and i went to his place pedal to the metal ( or close ) to see what was going on .. He told me .. minutes before that call that he was with a MS tech support guy and that he had been " workign " his computer for an hour and a half.
TightVNC was still on .. i yanked the power to the DSL modem .. Rest is an horror story of him trying to block CC's , change cards numbers , SIN's credit rating agencies etc etc , since identity theft was easy with all the income tax info available to the theif and him falliung in despair as how gullible he had become. It was a truly sad scene . See a man of his stature and intelligence fall for such a scam. The hurt is one that does not go away. He realised what impact alzheimers was having on him.
What did i set out to accomplish by writing this tale of caution ?
For one , i wish to make people aware that the scammers are very active and that this scam has terrible implications for it's victims . ATM Quebec is getting these calls regularly. They target everyone . They had called my place a few weeks before and i simply hung up telling him he was a scammer .
Secondly , that as our parents get older that they get more and more vulnerable and that they need our help , our support and certainly that their machines need to be even more protected from scam artists. If you can't help the man , help the machine he relies on.
TightVNC " Remote Assistant " is such a danger . I do not know to what extent that can be removed from Win7 , I haven't had time to investigate further yet, but certainly ill have the ports blocked when i'm done rebuilding his machine and if i can ill delete the exe file.
Ladies , Gentlemen , readers of the Reg , i hope this cautionary tale helps you help your parents and the elderly be kept safe . Find ways , for they need protection not from the machine , but themselves as their minds slowly sink into darkness .
Richard Hebert aka FuzzyTheBear