This week I was asked by a neighbour to help with buying a new PC for one of her sons. We went through all the options, and when it came to buying it, we had to put her details onto my PC. It’s the usual stuff – name, date of birth, address, email address, password, phone number. Yes that’s right, I asked her for her password and she gave it to me without question.
Last week I was asked by a friend to fix her laptop and upgrade it at the same time. I’ve worked with computers for over 35 years, and built my first PC back in the 80s. My first job was in fact building computers. “Install some extra RAM and upgrade the drive to an SSD? No worries. I’ll need the laptop, the charger and your password”. When it arrived, the password was written on a post-it note stuck to the inside.
A few weeks ago I was asked to copy all the data for a company run by the son of a friend from their dead PC to a USB stick to go onto their new PC. Guess what I told them I needed.
These aren’t isolated incidents, and it got me thinking.
In every case, I was given sensitive information or access to sensitive information simply by being a “person of trust”. Luckily I am a trustworthy person, or think of the damage I could have done with it. Now imagine how many people give out their information to people who pretend to be people of trust. All a scammer need do sometimes is claim to be the police, the person’s bank etc. and they’re given the tools to empty a person’s bank account or ruin their life. Just because someone SAYS they’re someone, doesn’t mean they are. Whenever you’re asked for money or sensitive information that would allow someone access to your money by someone, always double check to make sure they are who they claim to be. If they’re genuine, they’d rather you did that. The scammers, they’re not so keen.