So my mother-in-law called earlier this evening. She was beginning to be a bit worried about a call she’d gotten from Microsoft. They needed to issue her a refund (it wasn’t clear for what) - but could NOT send her a check.
Evidently, she’d engaged with “Sam” who of course had a bit of an Indian accent to the extent that he was trying to “help” her log into her bank account so he could set up a transfer. No, he couldn’t send a check (and that’s what seemed to bug her more than anything: “It’s a big company, they could definitely send a check!!”).
Fortunately, for whatever reason, she can’t get to her bank to from her laptop. The helpful “Microsoft” guy was trying to have her set up remote desktop access through Anydesk - which as it turns out is a legitimate tool but is often used by scammers. Fortunately she ultimately hung up - and did NOT install the software. I’d still like to have a look at her computer to make sure nothing was compromised, but she’s a thousand miles away.
The conversation with her was like this:
Her: Hi - just wanted to check something. I got a call from someone from Microsoft saying I was due a refund-"
Me (cutting her off): It was a scam.
Her: They said they needed to be able to direct deposit the refund
Me: It was a scam. I bet he had an Indian accent
Her: (laughs) He said his name was Sam… but he did have a bit of an accent.
Me: It was a scam.
Her: And you know a lot of companies have outsourced their assistance to India
Me: It was a scam
I finally got her to describe exactly how the conversation went. The guy promised her something like 500 dollars. She asked can’t you send a check? He said no, it had to be direct deposit. I don’t know if she said “I can’t get to my bank from this computer” and he said “I’ll help you”, or if he led with “Let’s go through these steps together!”.
End result, she was attempting to download Anydesk, and either bailed out of the install or out of the download itself. She claims she did not successfully launch it, nor give the guy any banking info. She finally bailed when she was having trouble with it, anyway, and once again he refused to send a check.,
- That she fell for it at all
- That even after the call had ended, her argument was that they should have been able to send a check so that’s how she guessed it might be a scam
- “Haha - they’re barking up the wrong tree - we don’t have any money to steal!!” (yes, but they could royally bollix up what money you DO have, not to mention stealing your credit card info and running up huge bills).
How do you protect the parents from being victims??? There’s a concern that she might be “slipping” a bit mentally though for the most part she seems perfectly fine; she’ll repeat stories (but hell, we’re 20+ years younger and we do that!!).
I was down there once when MIL got a spam call. She actually talked with the person a minute or so then said “Well we’re not interested” then hung up. I tried having her let them get signed up for NomoRobo (which is better than nothing) but nope, they refused.
My FIL actually showed a bit of savvy once. We have an account with a credit union, and we opened up a joint account with them so that if they needed money in a hurry, we could just transfer. FIL got a phishing email from a different - though similar-sounding - credit union. He forwarded it to me and asked “what’s this about?”. At least he had the sense to ask! I was able to clear it up: 1) well known scam, 2) not same name but I don’t blame you for being confused, and 3) YAY!!! you asked!!!