Going about my everyday life, there have always been those things that I never expected would happen to me, however on Jan. 8 I killed two birds with one stone: I spoke to Peter Jackson and I became the victim of an attempted scam.
The scam attempted by “Peter Jackson,” who of course is the famous director and producer of both the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” trilogies, as the man on the phone called himself, was not like the ones I’ve written about, but it was one that am aware exists.
“Jackson” called my phone and told me that there was an issue with my computer. The scammer claimed he worked for Windows, which was the first red flag, but I listened to what he had to say.
He explained that he needed access to my computer to fix a serious issue with it. There were three problems with this: 1. I was using my computer with no problems when he called, 2. I don’t own a computer running Windows, and 3. It would take Peter Jackson three movies to fix my computer issue.
Knowing it was a scam, I asked the scammer for a number that I could call him back at, as the phone I was on “got terrible service.” After a struggle, he gave me a number — 1-855-509-5512 ext. 1004.
At this time, he actually told me his full name was “Peter Jackson,” and I couldn’t help by laugh out loud.
I didn’t call the scammer back, but did call the Turlock Police Department. I was told that no report would be taken since there was no information actually taken.
However, my story doesn’t stop there.
The following morning, said scammer called me back and reminded me that he was “Peter Jackson” with Windows and needed to fix my computer.
I finally explained to the scammer that there was a couple of issues his story, including that I didn’t have a Windows computer.
He tried to talk his way through it and tell me that computer companies work together, among other lies.
Eventually, I grew tired and flat out told him that I knew it was a scam and that I would report him. The scammer took offense to this, told me to “watch my mouth,” and said my computer would now be unusable before hanging up.
My computer still works fine, as I wrote this whole thing on it.
While I personally find my story funny, I think it’s really important to tell it and inform members of the community that scammers are out there.
I was luckily aware of this scam, but not all are and many, especially those who are not well-versed in technology, may fall victim to this scam.
I made sure to research the number, which many other folks on the internet referenced receiving a similar call from the number, albeit a different extension. The number, however, is not that of Microsoft or Windows.
The Turlock Police Department previously posted the following tips on their Nextdoor page to help citizens avoid becoming a victim of a scam:
- If something does not seem right, chances are it is not.
- Always question callers and never give your personal information to someone unless you are 100 percent certain of who you are talking to.
- If you suspect someone may be trying to scam you, ask for their name and organization, then advise that you will call them back. Research the information and company to confirm they are a legitimate caller.
- Know that scammers will gather information on your prior to calling. They may know where you live, your name, birthday, relative’s name, places you visit, etc. Do not assume they are legitimate based on the information they know about you.
- If someone calls you stating they are with a business, they should have all of your information. They should not ask you for your account number, ID number, etc. If they are calling you, they will have your information already.
For more safety tips, visit the Turlock Police Department Crime Prevention website.