Paint March ominous gray pierced with crimson lightning. Color me lost: In March I lost my peace of mind, my self-confidence and, I feared, my identity. Gone, too, are convenient passwords, bank and credit card accounts, computer back-up, and any hope of nightmare-less sleep.
But I gained even more faith in family, friends, and technical helpers, all of whom pushed, prodded and guided me patiently out of the scam I fell for. Trite sayings flitted across my short-circuited brain: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” for instance.
Had I become complacent believing Apple products are inherently safe from nefarious scum who prey on gullible folk? Yes, I panicked when the Apple-looking warning appeared after I’d Googled “punctuation.” Something so innocent as quotation marks, for heavens sakes, and bam I was sucked in.
I won’t glorify with too much detail here in case the evil-doers are lurking in the closet or behind one of the icons on my desktop. But please, do not call even if the number appears to be your computer company’s; do not listen to barely intelligible techno-babble and let them convince you that your computer has fallen victim to a virus; do not permit them take over your computer to get rid of the gremlins; and do not sign up for lifetime service for any device you buy for the rest of your life no matter how good it sounds.
The dastardly deed was so easily done and so frustratingly difficult to undo. Leslie and Martin had my back, literally and figuratively, within an hour of learning what I’d allowed to happen. Carolynn propped me up long-distance, and Joanne listened to me rant, as did Jean, halfway around the world. Peter even doled out hugs and cups of tea although he couldn’t grasp what had happened to my computer, nor can he even turn on his own laptop anymore.
It took two weeks to change accounts, passwords and IDs, and many nail-biting nights trying to think what else I should change, protect, close, delete.
I spent days on the phone with a very patient senior technician at Apple. I bought a new router and modem. And then, when my ancient cell phone finally fizzled, I gave in and bought a smart phone, yet another technical gadget to outsmart me daily.
With the back-up restored I was home free, wasn’t I? But when the auxiliary devices were replaced the computer could no longer talk to them, and I hadn’t a clue how to fix that. Gone were iTunes, iDVD, Netflix, Pages, Keynote, even my printer. Martin to the rescue. Again.
Now, shrieking threats from the #*!≠¡ scammers interrupt our evenings, and I could write a Thesaurus entry with the list of names I’ve called myself…and them. Find me under “bird-brained.”
This whole techno-upset was about the worst thing that has ever happened to me, or maybe I’ve forgotten all the other bad stuff. I’m sure my age exacerbated my frustration and embarrassment.
Oh, we had other problems this month too — another sewer clog, frozen pipes twice — but although those still aren’t resolved, they are nothing compared to being scammed. This was a month I won’t forget and one I don’t want to remember.
March madness redefined.