I Stepped In It Again

Today I decided that some of my problems with a slow computer is the result of using Norton anti-virus protection. The decision was predicated on receiving an e-mail invoice from Norton reminding my subscription was up for renewal. Not trusting the e-mail request I went seeking the Norton web page where I could opt out. I lost a lot of time searching for the page. Frustrated, I finally decided to call their help number on the invoice. My bad, first I didn’t trust this invoice, and then I use it to try to solve my problem.

The sound of the agent’s voice was heavily accented and most likely from a foreign country. I explained to the agent that I wanted to unsubscribe from my subscription, and wanted a refund. She assured me this would be no problem and told me that I had to fill out a special form to do that. I explained that I could not find any such form on their website. She said she would help me get to it. After an hour of her help a new screen popped up on the screen flashing on and off from APPLE warning that my computer has been compromised. Oh no! Suddenly it all made sense. These people are sophisticated hackers who are in the business of stealing from unsuspecting naive dupes like me. I shut the computer off and hung up. I will deal with Norton another way.

I had to leave to drive my wife to a doctors appointment and when we came home I re-started the computer in safe mode. Everything seems to be working and I won’t know if I lost any data until I start looking for files.

What really bothers me is that they used Norton’s logo and made everything seem legit both in the email and while they were helping me. Maybe it was Norton I was speaking to, but I wasn’t taking any chances beyond what I already did.

This is another case for using artificial intelligence in the core of the computer to sort out the thieves. It also points out that companies that rely too heavily on computer automation to replace human contact, and those who hide from telling customers how to unsubscribe, and to get refunds is not really interested in protecting the customer as they are in taking their money. Buying a product like the Norton antivirus takes but a button push to make the transaction. The reverse should be equally easy.

2 Responses

  1. I recieve these types of emails daily. Norton is one, as is Paypal. They are sofisticated but you can tell they are fake if you look at their web address, it usually contains strange letters that make no sense, so that is the tip. I use Webroot antivirus from Geek Squad and the pirates even use them as a fake, so I delete and attempt to block everything I recieve. Good luck out there, it’s hack city.

  2. I believe the first step shd be to check that the email carrying the link has come from a known domain, like norton.com. But the point I wanted to get to was…if it let the phishing mail through, what was the reason for subscribing to Norton??? Lost interest in Norton since I realized they charge more to existing customers than new ones. At least in India.

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