Hornswoggled

You guys. I got hornswoggled on the internet.

There are greater walks of shame I am sure, but having to go to your bank, take your lap top to Best Buy, call the credit card company and admit to all of them that you got hornswoggled on the internet? That ranks right up there. Mostly because apparently everyone in the world knew about this potential hornswoggling that can happen, except for me.

In my defense, I don’t watch TV unless it’s a hockey game, and I have not had a personal computer for several years now. I am writing on one I bought specifically for that purpose. Now that I know what happened to me, I can see how the questions that the despicable hornswoggler asked me were in direct regard to lack of activity on my laptop.

“What do you use this computer for?” he asked.

“Ummmm, mostly writing.”

He was looking at my browser history. No banks, no bills, no personal information.

“How long have you had this laptop?”

“A few months maybe?”

“Do you have any other laptops?” he asked.

The only other laptop I have is my work laptop, which means no, so that’s what I said.

“Do you ever download anything, like movies or music?”

“Nope.”

Luckily, I only write on this computer so there wasn’t much to find. They did find my gmail password, which they showed to me, and they also found my credit card number, both of which I had used for only one thing on my laptop; my one-year subscription for a premium WordPress site to write on.

The worst part is, I HAD A FEELING. You know what I’m talking about. I knew something was not right, but I did it anyway. Which is basically the story of my life.  For example on my wedding day the first time, before we went into the judge’s office (We eloped to South Dakota because they did not have a wait time to get your marriage license and we didn’t want to wait), I looked at my future first husband and said,

“Just promise me you won’t ruin my life.”

How’s that for romantic? We were young and in love and everything was actually pretty good, methamphetamines had not made their entrance yet, but I just HAD A FEELING and I ignored it and got married anyway.

I have a lot of empathy and intuition, but I’ve never been good at deciphering.

So, add getting hornswoggled on the internet to the list of things that could have been prevented if I had only trusted my gut. I did, however, trust my gut enough to go on the internet on my work computer and google the situation and read (to my absolute horror) exactly what had just happened listed as a common scam. I caught it the first day, only hours after it had happened, and saved myself from what probably could have been much worse.

The Geek Squad guy kind of chuckled when I told him what had happened and before I could stop myself I whacked him in the arm and said, “DON’T LAUGH.”

When he asked me to sign the paperwork after explaining to me that they usually ask for a couple days to get it done when you need a whole lot of work I asked,

“What am I signing here?”

“Oh, you know, that we can work on your computer and also we take a small piece of your soul.”

I narrowed my eyes at him. He made a face like he was joking.

“Well,” I said, “I am easily fleeced.” And then I signed on the dotted line.

The young lady at the bank, who was roughly half my age, kind of clucked her tongue and looked at me like you would a toddler who just showed you their boo-boo. A mix of a pity and lot of mild amusement.

The other thing that makes me kind of mad (You know, in addition to someone trying to steal my life) is that this hornswoggling could also been avoided if I wasn’t so worried about getting hornswoggled. You see, I got this message on my computer over a week before I called the number. The whole time I was stressing out like ‘I really need to take care of that stuff on my laptop, it would be terrible if someone stole my personal information!’ I called the number a week later, so proud of myself for finally following up and getting shit done.

“Your computer wasn’t actually that bad,” Geek Squad Guy said today when I picked it up, “we removed a couple of viruses but nothing too major.”

“I think,” I began, “that you should tell people when they buy a new laptop to watch out for this. Hand out a pamphlet or something.”

“Never call, never click, just shut it down,” Geek Squad Guy said.

Now you tell me.

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