A computer customer support company rang an 80-year-old grandfather to tell him there was a virus on his PC and then tried to charged him £185 to remove it.
The Nerd Support spent two hours on the phone with the man, walking him through the process of downloading and installing a remote desktop application to find the supposed fault.
"He had never contacted them previously, nor had he ever been on their website," said his grandson. "I had only just taught him how to switch the computer on and get into Google, he did not even have email at this point."
This week I was discussing this with a techy friend and explained I couldn't understand they knew the man even had a computer. Easy, he said, databases are everywhere and for sale to the highest bidder. He may have innocently mentioned it to someone because he was delighted with being 'modern'. Unfortunately his grandson didn't explain the pitfalls and dangers of technology. Maybe that's something we all out to mention to others more often.
Very recently I experienced a phone scam. A very plausible chap called saying he was from Sky TV and as they were doing an audit they needed to confirm my details. Fortunately I was suspicious at the start and said I'd prefer if he put his request in writing. Even then he didn't give up saying they'd written to me several times and it was now a matter of some urgency. When I mentioned he had my name and phone number so what more did he really want, guess the answer... my account password. Immediately I said the call was being traced and the line went dead.
Now I have friends who are far more trusting than myself and they wouldn't have questioned a 'nice' young man phoning from Sky. None is ignorant, poorly educated or lacking in common sense but they still live in the world in which we were brought up; a world where trust was precious and treated with respect. In today's world trust is a superficial word. Is it because it's overused by politicians?
You can't be too careful in the mysterious world of computers and modern technology.