Category Archives: computer

Phone Scam from Microsoft?

For two days now I have gotten phone calls from “Private Number” ad each time they were from a Microsoft support group. Yesterday I played with them for a little bit.
The guy that could barely speak English and was obviously sitting in a call center. He told me he was calling about a problem with my windows computer, so I asked him which computer…after stuttering for a bit he responded that it was my windows computer, once again I asked which windows computer, what version. Stuttering again “XP“, I then asked him what the IP was, or the registry number…more stuttering as he tells me my computer is sending them error codes. I asked which codes, and now he changes it to be that my computer has downloaded spam and malware from a compromised site, so once again I ask him what site, can I have the IP?….and it just continued with this guy trying to read his script and doing what minor improvisations he can…he wasn’t even good at them, he apparently knew nothing about computers.

Today they called me again and I decided to play some more, this time it was 45 minutes and I wrote down the whole conversation while I was talking to him.

Him: I am calling from Microsoft Program Support. We are calling about a problem with your computer”

Me: Okay, which computer?

Him: Your Microsoft Windows Computer?

Me: Once again, which one?
Him: (a brief pause) the laptop

Me: Okay, that narrows it down a little, which laptop?

Him: The one with Windows 7

Me: Okay, what is the issue? (Note: We don’t own a Windows 7 laptop)

Him: We are getting a series of error codes, it seems that your system has a virus
Me: Are you getting the I-D-10-T error?

Him: We are getting a lot of different codes, that is one of them
Me: When I was dealing with Microsoft last week it was because of an ID10T code

Him: (A brief pause) Well, we aren’t actually with Microsoft, we work with them as an authorized support agent, I am with ** ********* (A legitimate company based in Virginia. I have let them know they are being used) and we are attempting to help you with your computer virus
Me: Which virus?

Him: it’s a trojan

Me: which one?

Him: uhmm, crf.exe

Me: okay, so what do you want me to do?( I know that CRF is an extension, not a virus name)

Him: Do you see the Windows button on your Windows PC?.
Me: Yes.
Him: Click on it and the R button at the same time. What do you see?
Me: The run box.
Him: Very good, sir. Now enter EVENTVWR and click OK.
ME: Ok (I didn’t bother because I know what the event viewer is)
Him What do you see?
Me: messages
Him: How many?
Me: A lot
Him: That is because of the virus in your system. Now I’m going to tell you how to download our software so I can help you clean your computer and it will work better.
Me: Okay, but doesn’t my antivirus and spam blocker do that?

Him: Somethings bypass those. Go Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Me: Ok.
Him: You have opened Microsoft Internet Explorer?
Me: Yes.
Him: Very good, now go to www.*********.com. What do you see?

 A this point, I didn’t bother typing the website because I didn’t want to give them traffic and it might have had something nasty. I told him that I was very familiar with computer and computer codes and that I had in fact been in a teleconference two days ago with Bing programmers(which I had). He then still tried to get me to download some program that would help my computer and probably take my money.

I still can’t believe that the ID10T error didn’t even phase him.

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Welcome to 2013

It looks like the year has started out with a bang. I’ve almost more work than I can handle, however I know it won’t last everything tends to go in spurts when you’re freelancing. I’m sure that after this I will have a very dry spell as well.

Writing is going pretty good, a lot of ghost articles which I can’t lay claim to but my published articles are all over at Killerteacup. I really enjoy writing the tech articles, but I am trying to pick up a couple of the parenting sites too. One of them just ordered some more articles from me, so that is looking good.

I pick up some spare cash doing website and program testing. One of the programs I recently did  messed my computer up pretty badly, it took me a few hours to fix it. However; I will state that it was my own stupidity, I should have run the program in a sandbox and I didn’t. Keep that in mind folks if you are unsure about a program..use a sandbox to play with it first.

I have started a new blog over on blogger.com because they won’t let me post affiliate links on here. The new blog is called Show Me The Way To and will be about saving money. I will have a section on Saving Money, Making Money, and Re-Purposing items. It’s still in the fledgling stages, but I plan to put up legitimate things. All of the affiliate links will only go up if I have made or saved money through them.

Hope the New Year is going just as well for all of you.

 

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Wow has it been two weeks already?

My son started full time daycare on the fourth and it doesn’t seem like I have done much of anything in the two weeks I have had.

Part of it is because of AT&T as they suddenly invoked usage caps on the internet. Our bill escalated and our bandwidth narrowed. When I called to complain I was told that the policy for usage limits has been in place for over a year, they just ‘missed us’ until now. I was a little ticked after all we got bad bandwidth to begin with and the phone was always full of static. At least once a month our Internet went down and I had to call them and deal with their idiot help desk. After the first month I knew that all they had to do was reset their server and it would be fine, but they all had to go through their script before they would run a  simple program. And I think that less than half of their help desk spoke English.

We have now dumped them and gone with Mediacom for cable internet and phone, it’s only been three days but the speed is impressive, no static on the line and for about the same price I also get unlimited long distance to US and Canada which is great for me. No more being tied to my OOMA for long distance calls (not that it isn’t good on its own, but I prefer being able to use any phone in the house)

This month actually started out pretty bad with the one thing that most freelancers dread, a non-pay. I wrote about 50 articles for this one woman and she appears to have vanished on me. I did get one email from someone claiming to be her assistant, and the assistant claimed that the woman is in the hospital, however I haven’t gotten anything since then I have sent multiple emails and payment requests.  Some of the articles have been published and I know what site they went to, maybe if I don’t hear from this woman in a month I will approach the site directly and ask if they want to hire a new writer. After all I need to get something from this. It doesn’t look like the other articles are published yet, maybe I will try to sell them before they get published. Anyone know a mental health site willing to buy blogs? Or a dentist?

 

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Writing my own blogs is tough

Writing my own blogs is getting exceedingly difficult, I have a million ideas a day that I sell but when it comes to my own I tend to be a big blank. The few ideas I have I write then I go and hawk them to someone else for money. My portfolio blog at http://killerteacup.wordpress.com/isn’t going to grow too much if I keep doing that, but I keep looking at the money end of things. I don’t want to be on unemployment forever.

I find I have no problem writing for someone else, but then again they normally give me a topic. Today I wrote several blogs on a variety of topics that were vastly different: Tattoos, stages of pregnancy, DogTV,  skateboarding, and two excel data sheets. Tomorrow has three articles due on SEO and one on Catastrophic computer failure. All of these, except DogTV and pregnancy are ghostwriting.  My big problem with some of these topics is keeping them within the required word limit. Some of these topics I could write on for days, I really need to restrict my writing and stop giving so many of my customers free work.

I guess I have written my limit for the day as I now have a four-year-old and a 120 lb dog laying at my feet begging to go outside and play. That means that my day is over and when I come back in it will be time to clean the kitchen and make dinner. I am off now to see what the neighborhood is doing.

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Filed under computer, GhostWriting, published work, Uncategorized, work

Scams, scams everywhere

Scams, they are everywhere. You’ll find scams in your mailbox, on your screen, you’ll even find them on legitimate job posting boards. As per normal I’m going through all the boards looking for work. Writing is where I look first, then I start looking at other things.

Well I found a sweet looking job posting. A small but known art gallery out of London was looking for a representative in the U.S. I immediately applied and asked for more details on the job. I had visions of art shows and museum tours. I even figured the job would entail negotiating shipments or scouting for new artists. The employer sent me back a rather lengthy email detailing the history of the gallery and how his time was consumed by new a new family and how he didn’t have time for some of the tasks that were required to handle overseas (for them) deals. He needed someone in the U.S that would handle them. He then went on to state how it wouldn’t be a full-time job, only a few hours a week a the most. At the end of his letter he made a small comment that started ringing some bells for me, the primary job responsibility would be to handle the American finances. If it sounded like a job I was still interested in then email him.

I cautiously replied and got a response a few hour later. It still sounded pretty good until I got to “…collect payments from our numerous customers within your region, process the payments, deduct 10% of the amount issued to you as your personal bonus and you transfer the rest of the funds to our main account officer whose information will be provided to you in due time …”. Now alarms are fully ringing in my head. I pull up the gallery’s website and start searching for the name of the owner. I can’t find the name from my email, but I can’t find any one elses names either. At that point I decide, I’m going to call them, only by then it is midnight London time.

Next morning, once I’ve settled in I pick up my Ooma (Great internet phone system BTW) and call the gallery. The phone is answered by an older gentleman named Paul who is quite charming. It turns out that Paul is the owner of the gallery and he only hires a few people from his family to help with the gallery. He was a little surprised about the job posting. I spoke to him for about twenty minutes (actually he spoke to me) about his current artists and art show. At the end of our conversation I sent him an email with all the information I had on the job posting and then I went to the job board and connected with their live chat board to let them know it was a complete scam.

After going back and forth for a few minutes on the chat board Odesk escalated the complaint and is investigating the job poster. I just hope that no one has actually fallen for this and taken the job. Worst of all would be if the reputation of that gallery was harmed by this.

And by the way, just to give Paul a nice boost the gallery is the Elms Lesters Painting Rooms and the artist is Adam Neate

April Carvelli
http://killerteacup.wordpress.com/

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Filed under computer, GhostWriting, networking, work

You MUST be kidding!

After applying for a few jobs, doing a few articles and taking my son to the park I thought I would do some online shopping. Everything was going fine; I was looking for a white bodysuit, I thought that would be easy. I Googled what I was looking for and a had a list of links, I glance briefly at them if they might be what I want and then right click on the link and tell it to open the link in a new tab, that way I don’t need to have to constantly flip back to my search.

I look though a few sight and don’t exactly see what I want so I change my search a bit and start the process over again. I had clicked about six pages I was interested in when I suddenly got a strange pop up. I’m computer savvy, I knew it wasn’t legitimate so I didn’t even touch it. I went to do a quick shut down of Firefox using Ctrl + Alt +Del so I can eliminate whoever’s annoying pop-up that is. Unfortunately before I could get that far I suddenly had a huge string of pop-up flooding my screen, it was like bomb much like I used to see years ago, before it could crash my computer I hit the power and killed it (And that is why you want a power strip…quick, easy instantaneous shutdown).

I tried rebooting my system, just in case it was related to the browser window only, no such luck…again, another forced shut down. This time I booted in safe mode, which didn’t look right as it booted..the screen was missing things, programs were hidden. I couldn’t even get to my anti-virus so I did a restore (perfect reason to make sure your restore points are up to date) and that eliminated the immediate problem.

After reboot I ran my anti-virus and malware. I eliminated all cookies and history then I ran a boot scan. After all that I did another full computer scan and malware search. I think I am finally clean.

It’s always scary when you get a virus, your first thought is “OHGODIMGOINGTOLOOSEITALL”, but your second should be “thank god I have a back up”. I stupidly did not have a backup; now I do. Let this be a warning to all of you, that even something as harmless as shopping, can be a problem.

April Carvelli
http://killerteacup.wordpress.com

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