When it comes to cell phone practices, I tend to ignore 800 numbers as well as any numbers I do not recognize. An 800 number I don’t recognize? Fuggedaboutit. But when 800-711-2884 called me twice in one day, I was curious who it could be. An internet search seemed to reveal that it was HP Support calling. Since I do happen to have an HP machine and I suspect my extended support contract recently expired, I thought, “Hm. I guess I should answer next time they call. Probably just a sales call for a new support contract, but still…it’s HP.”
So when they called for the THIRD time in a single day, I answered (while I was in Target, waiting for a torrential downpour to let up). A woman alerted me – in heavily-accented, very broken English and clearly reading from a script – that they had detected corrupt files and malware being uploaded to my machine from the internet and that my computer was at risk. I was 90% sure this was a scam, so I replied, “I am an IT professional and I’m relatively certain I’d know it if my machine had those kinds of issues. Thanks and have a good day.” *click*
Just to ease my mind that it was indeed a fraudulent call, I opened my browser when I got home with the intention of calling HP Support to investigate the veracity of the call. I was immediately greeted by the following warning (you can click to enlarge for a better look):
I clicked the ‘View article’ link and browsed the info there (you can, too). Two things stood out to me and ultimately left me feeling vindicated (as well as more at ease):
“In some cases, originating phone numbers appear to be from genuine HP contact numbers.”
(Which wasn’t *quite* enough to convince me it was a scam. After all, Google said the number was legit!) But then I read to the last paragraph…
“HP does not contact customers to provide unsolicited technical support.”
And ahhhhh. I feel better.
I imagine this is true of most computer manufacturers and I can’t imagine the manpower and technology it would require to monitor every machine they’ve ever sold, flag any suspicious activity and then reach out to consumers who have been affected.
Moral of the story: If your gut tells you it’s fraud, it’s probably fraud. Always hang up and contact the company that the potential fraudster claims to be a representative of. They’ll be able to clear it up and you could be avoiding serious trouble.
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